Skip to Content

Our Boring Future / Do bumble bees play? / ClimateBert AI

May 23, 2024
Thijs Pepping

Welcome to this ninth Regenerative Intelligence newsletter. This is your bi-weekly update on the crossroads of Artificial, Human, and Natural Intelligence.

Let’s get right to it

  1. Human Intelligence: Greetings from the future it’s really boring
  2. Natural Intelligence: Do Bumble Bees play?
  3. Artificial Intelligence: ClimateBert AI

1) Greetings from the future it’s really boring

Human Intelligence

Patrick Ryan wrote an interesting article on the boringification of everything (Thanks for suggesting this article Jasper!). According to him, the picture above shows us how the quantitative revolution has affected basketball:

”When you run the numbers, the only places it makes sense to take a shot from are outside the D (3 points) or right next to the basket (2 points). As a result, nowadays every team in the NBA plays basketball this way.

But it is not just basketball (or, famously, baseball) that has adopted “moneyball”. Like an incredibly contagious virus, the philosophy of moneyball has rapidly spread, infecting the entirety of human culture.

And it’s making everything boring.”

Is this the future that awaits us? It reminds me of the phrase “AI is making humans act like robots.” How to avoid a boring future?

– Should we change the rules in a way that fosters randomness or room for creativity?

– Or should we invent a new sport in which the quantitative revolution has no or not as much power?

– Can we frame Natural Intelligence as the big antagonist for this boringness? There is more room for spontaneous change, mutations, evolution, disruption. But there are also immense complex and beautiful patterns in nature… How do these natural patterns relate to the pattern that has formed in basketball over de the course of many games?…

2) Do bumble bees play?

Natural Intelligence

While working on a presentation this new slide kept putting a smile on my face.

It’s about a study on bumblebees and whether they would roll small wooden balls without an extrinsic reward. And yes, they do!

“Here, we show that rolling of wooden balls by bumble bees, Bombus terrestris, fulfils behavioural criteria for animal play and is akin to play in other animals. We found that ball rolling:

1) did not contribute to immediate survival strategies,

2) was intrinsically rewarding,

3) differed from functional behaviour in form,

4) was repeated but not stereotyped,

5) was initiated under stress-free conditions.”

The researchers took it one step further and concluded:

1) Younger bees rolled more balls, with age patterns resembling mammalian juvenile play.

2) Males rolled balls for longer durations than females.

What is the relevance of this study to the world of IT?

– It is part of a broader series of insights on consciousness and intelligence, both of which are extremely relevant to AI, humans, and our planet. See for example the recent New York Declaration on Animal Consciousness.

– Play and Homo Ludens are the foundation of our book Real Fake (about Gen AI, published in 2021)

– Let’s work to keep the bumble bees happy. I mean look at the little fellow :D.

3) ClimateBert AI

Artificial Intelligence

Today I learned: ClimateBert and ChatClimate are chatbots which can answer all your climate questions and provide sources. I tried:

– Do plants grow faster due to climate change?
–> Yes

– How does climate change affect my health?
–> […] Higher temperatures and changing geographical and seasonal precipitation patterns will facilitate the spread of mosquito-and tick-borne diseases” 🦟😐

– 🤖 Will you, as chatclimate, make a change?
–> It froze up 🥶. I tried it three times.

Interestingly, I found a good use case for ClimateBert: Scientists used ClimateBert to analyse corporate climate risk disclosures. And the conclusion was that there was too much cheap talk and cherry-picking; only the good results were shared with the outside world. Their advise: “The viable solution may be to convert voluntary reporting into regulatory disclosures in the near future.”

Try it yourself here:

About the author

Thijs Pepping

Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Thijs Pepping is a humanistic trend analyst in the field of new technologies. He is part of the think tank within SogetiLabs and in his work he continuously wonders and analyses what the impact of New Technologies is on our lives, organizations and society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Slide to submit