Changing times

Changing times

We cannot really follow what’s happening around the world as well as we should due to the political climate of our beloved country. It is so dominant that we barely have the time and energy to read and understand the immense changes that the rest of the world is currently experiencing. It is an amazing time to be a human as the future of mankind is being decided in our lifetime.

Biodiversity, which humans depend upon for their existence, is declining faster than at any other time in human history, according to a new report from the UN-backed Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Natural ecosystems have lost about half of their territory, and about a quarter of the animal and plant groups that were assessed are under threat. One million species are faced with extinction.

The decisions that we are taking are not only about climate change and the future of the planet. They also involve decisions that we are taking now, literally about what to do with humans in the future.  Uber is out of the Turkish market, so we are not really feeling the effects, but Lyft and Uber drivers around the globe are on strike. They claim that they are not earning what is promised. However, we all know that Uber and Lyft are preparing for a driverless future. In 10 to 15 years, most of us will never drive and will not need another human to drive us around.  Recently, GM’s self-driving unit drew a $1.15 billion investment from T. Rowe Price, raising its value to $19 billion.

Thispersondoesnotexists.com shows you random photos of human faces created by AI, which would make you question your perception. After spending 10 minutes, I was very confused about what is real and what is not. The researchers claim that these AI-created humans will be used everywhere from hotel information desks to movies. There are already a handful of CGI Influencers who are marketing products to people like Lil Miquela who has 1.5 million followers. According to CBS, the CGI influencers will generate $2 billion in revenue in the next two years. About 42 percent of people who were following a digital Instagrammer didn’t realize it wasn’t a real person, according to a recent study by the media company Fullscreen.

According to MIT Technology Review, Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company) is bankrolling a startup company that plans to use gene editing to spread fortunate DNA variations with “one-time” injections of the gene-editing tool CRISPR. Heart doctors involved say the DNA-tweaking injections could “confer lifelong protection” against heart disease. This and many other initiatives around the globe are paving the way to a longer lifespan.

On the other hand, some countries like Japan, face a declining population. There are already more than 8 million unused houses in the country, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

The population of robots is increasing dramatically as their capabilities. Now, we have robot dogs able to work in teams and pull tactical information robots (TIRs) and we have humanoid robots that mimic walking to test space gear.

The world as we know it is changing fast. I believe that it is the time that Turkey and Turkish people focus on how we can contribute to these changes.

Ersu Ablak, biodiversity, AI