What powers Google data centers?

Judy Nagel, Upward Mobility Signals Team

Google has initiated a first-of-its-kind approach to powering its data centers –
geothermal energy! With the goal of accelerating a clean energy transition on a
planetary scale, Google has pioneered a horizontal drilling method. It uses new
techniques to harness the consistent heat from within the Earth’s crust and generate
electricity without burning fossil fuels or releasing carbon into the atmosphere. More on energy.

Generative AI: likely trends in 2024

Nan Nelson, Envision Board Member and Economic Transformation Signals Team

In 2022, Thomas Frey was our keynote speaker at World Futures Day here in Green Bay. Today he is examining artificial intelligence (AI) trends to watch for in 2024.  He warns that “With prudent planning, generative AI can drive positive workforce transformation. But neglecting to develop the human capital to extract AI’s full value risks misuse, distrust, and widening inequality.”

Concerning impact on the workplace, Frey says: “New positions like prompt engineers, AI trainers, model interpreters, and tool explainers are already rising in demand. Skilled communicators who can distill complex business needs into natural language instructions suited for AI will also see significant opportunities. Technical roles developing user interfaces that build confidence in AI systems will similarly grow.

“Education and policy will need to emphasize these emerging skills while strengthening timeless human abilities like relationship-building, empathy, and holistic thinking. Life-long learning to stay ahead of AI’s evolving capabilities will be crucial.

Organizations that view their employees as partners in navigating this AI transition rather than costs to eventually eliminate will likely gain an edge through knowledge retention and human-AI collaboration.
Read Frey’s full article about the eight trends, including commentary on election meddling, content creation, reshaping manufacturing and business workflows, and more.

Good news on climate change!

COP, the United Nations’ annual global meeting on climate change, is being held in late November.  Bill Gates says, “There are more reasons to be hopeful than many people realize—and it’s not just that renewable energy sources like wind and solar are getting cheaper. And it’s not just because many of the steps already taken to reduce carbon emissions are working: Carbon emissions from fossil fuels will probably peak in 2025. The main thing that makes me optimistic is all the innovation I’m seeing. Some people are skeptical when a technology person like me says innovation is the answer. And it’s true that new tools aren’t the only thing we need. But we won’t solve the climate problem without them.”  Read more of what Bill Gates had to say on climate change.