Dear reader,  

I’m Mira, a communication professional who thinks Brussels is the most exciting city in the world. Not just because it is the heart of the European institutions, but because nearly everyone is an alien here. We’re all unique, but there is one thing everyone has in common: we all want to be understood, preferably by actual humans and not AI robots.  

Artificial Intelligence in communications, mainly writing, is becoming a controversial topic, now reaching Brussels. Professors no longer dread plagiarism but are losing sleep over AI tools like ChatGPT – a chat function that allows you to generate text about any topic. Think of it as asking Siri to do your homework. According to the New York Times, OpenAI has warned those using the tool that it might “occasionally generate incorrect information” and “produce harmful instructions or biased content”. Even if these tools would produce airtight content, as a professional creative whose work is the result of not just the human brain but, more importantly, the heart, I wonder if they will ever replace me.  

Admittedly, as I write this, I find solace in the idea that Grammarly will soon suggest better phrasing, and I will have my commas in all the right places, but if the tool did my job for me, I wouldn’t have a job to begin with. Therefore, instead of highlighting what these tools can do, I find peace in what they cannot. Feel, connect, empathise.  

We might be aliens, but we’re not all robots. 

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Not blown away yet 🌬️ [MIT Technology Review] 

An unusual auction took place this week. California has sold five sites off the state’s coast with the goal to house the first floating wind turbines. Traditionally, offshore wind turbines have a fixed foundation, making their installation in most sea areas unfeasible. With the new technology, all sea is good sea: it exponentially increases the potential of wind power offshore, which is known to be a more consistent power source than other renewable energies. However, similarly to the Titanic, this initiative might float, but is not unsinkable. The price of the megawatt hour doubles when using floating offshore wind compared to the traditional fixed installation. Experts argue the cost of floating wind energy could be an iceberg on its way to revolutionising the renewable energy sector.

Saudi Arabia’s carbon-free future is in dire need of a reality check 🔍 [MIT Technology Review] 

Paradoxically, fossil-fuel superpower Saudi Arabia’s exports exist alongside plans for a more sustainable future. Currently in the works: The Line, a carbon-free megacity. Seductive visuals showcase a linear urban space cutting across the desert, 170 kilometres long and 200 metres wide, replete with innovative technology and green spaces. Its 9 million inhabitants will zoom from top to bottom via air taxis in only 20 minutes. The whole idea appeals to our modern aesthetics, but the slightest dash of critical thinking refutes The Line’s utopian claims. For one, many of its glamorous technological proposals are unproven. What’s more, the carbon cost of such a colossal construction project cancels out the finished product’s alleged environmental benefits. The Crown Prince’s “civilisational revolution” has more than a few holes in it.

Abundant and clean energy for all? 💡 [Financial Times]

Some of the most inspiring news last week came from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. American scientists at the US Department of Energy have achieved a breakthrough in nuclear fusion – the same process which gives the sun its energy – by producing more energy than it consumed for the first time. The discovery is hoped to bring near limitless clean energy to the Earth, as the process involves no CO2emissions or raw materials and results in fast-decaying, limited radioactivity waste. Despite the latest success, researchers caution there is a long path to achieving this objective. However, with rapid developments in technology, some argue that we might see the first commercial fusion reaction within the next 50 to 60 years – the clock is ticking! 

Getting everyone on board the digital revolution 💻 [Digitaltrends]

Much has been said about the digital divide. Access to the Internet and technology at large is a matter of geography, gender, social class and many more demographic markers. Age is a major determinant of accessibility; for older people, digital red tape can manifest as poor, unintuitive design or murky nomenclature used to describe options and settings. More often than not, the device itself is not the problem — functionality of the apps and websites is. Because of this, tech products marketed as ‘senior-friendly’ fail to address issues beyond providing basic accessibility solutions, such as enlarged icons and text. Now, the onus is on all manufacturers and software developers to create a truly inclusive digital environment. 

In case you haven’t had enough: 

Finally! Windows Snipping Tool will add screen recording [PC World] 

The Biggest Medical Breakthroughs of 2022 [Gizmodo] 

How to Stop ChatGPT from Going Off the Rails [WIRED] 

About this week’s editor, Mira Kaloshi: I’m a policy comms professional, passionate about politics and data and what the two can mean for each other. Three years ago, I landed in consultancy. First as an intern in the political capital of the world, D.C., next as a full-time consultant in the political capital of Europe, Brussels. I call it the ideal job for “the Jack of all trades”, the ENFPs of the world if you will. Will I ever be replaced by robots? If they really could, they would. Until then, I’m still standing…