The writer is the former senior editor of Exponential View, a weekly newsletter about technology and its impact on society. He was also the editor-in-chief of emerge85, a lab exploring change in emerging markets and its global impact. Syndication Bureau.
With any groundbreaking new technology, the pace of adoption climbs quickly. Over the past two decades, new platforms and tools, from the iPhone to TikTok, have seen progressively faster adoption rates. The adoption rate of ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence (AI) large language model owned by OpenAI, is unlike anything we have ever seen. Within five days of release, the platform had a million unique users.
Cracks are starting to appear in Israel’s robust public relations strategy. It has taken decades for the Israeli government to convince supportive governments in the West, most notably the US, that the country was a full-fledged democracy. The apparent hurdle has been the unavoidable reality of Israel’s control of millions of Palestinians. In the face of this glaring inequality, the country has managed to market itself as the Middle East’s only democracy. This core talking point for Israel’s supporters worldwide is now at risk.
When the history of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is written, it is unclear how much there will be to say that is positive. After spending more than $1 trillion to build a network of infrastructure projects across emerging market countries designed to connect large portions of the global economy to Beijing, cracks are beginning to form. Funding is drying up, existing projects are falling apart, and receiving countries are drowning in debt.
Electric vehicles are finally going mainstream. After decades of waiting for the EV revolution, more and more people worldwide are finally driving them. Driven by strong growth in China and Europe, EV sales crossed a critical milestone in 2022 with 10 percent of the global vehicle market share.
Just as the supply chain crisis appears to be stabilizing, a new set of laws in southern Africa threatens one of the world’s essential commodities. Last month, Zimbabwe banned the export of raw lithium. The material is a vital part of batteries that power everything from smartphones to electric vehicles. Zimbabwe is home to the world’s sixth-largest known lithium reserves and has long been an important source for the Chinese market, given the country’s close trade connections. Will Zimbabwe’s decision usher in a new wave of resource nationalism as other countries move to protect their raw resources from foreign exploitation?
Elon Musk really wants you to believe that Twitter is relevant beyond the narrow confines of social media. Since the billionaire completed his takeover of the company as an owner and CEO, it has been a rough couple of weeks for Twitter. Advertising revenue has plummeted (but may be stabilizing) as Musk outlines his bold “free speech maximalist” vision for the company. Prominent users have been migrating to other social media platforms.
The state of Africa’s transition to renewable energy is anything but positive. While the continent is home to bountiful wind and solar potential, not to mention raw materials like cobalt needed to make green energy possible, progress toward a green energy future has been uneven at best.
Few other companies have been so closely associated with environmental causes than Patagonia. When the company announced this month that it would donate all its profits — averaging more than $100 million a year — to the Earth, consumers around the world saw the move as confirmation of its principles and values.
An American influencer on holiday in South Africa recently posted a viral video highlighting traveler misconceptions about Africa. In the video, she expressed astonishment at the number of cashless transactions taking place.
The relationship between the US and Africa has not been great in recent years. Under former president Donald Trump, US-African relations suffered terribly. Trump was openly hostile to several African nations, calling some “shithole countries” and canceling US commitments to vital climate change funds targeting Africa. On a multi-nation visit to sub-Saharan Africa this month, US secretary of state Antony Blinken announced a reboot in US engagement on the continent, but is it too late to reestablish flourishing ties? Perhaps.