AI pause and polluters clean-up

We’ve seen some surprising news this week, with Tech Heads calling for a pause on AI development, the nation’s biggest polluters demanding greater climate action, and the RBA deciding to hold on interest rates.

A joint statement from the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative, consisting of 17 of Australia’s largest miners, manufacturers and industry financiers, is urging for more ambitious climate reform. The Initiative states that “decarbonisation can build competitiveness and create jobs by delivering low-cost, reliable, decarbonised energy at scale, a shift to electrification and developing new export-oriented industries.” Sustainable leadership from the natural resources sector is heartening to see, and we look forward to seeing more in this space.

In technology news, more than 1000 artificial intelligence experts, researchers and backers have written an open letter calling for a pause on “giant” AI creations for at least six months. Signed by Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and engineers from Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft, the authors believe the pause is needed to adequately study the capabilities and dangers of AI. While some have claimed that leaders like Musk are simply signing on to give themselves more time for their own AI developments, we agree that time is needed to take stock, and consider potential regulatory measures.

We were shocked to see Finland’s Prime Minister, Sanna Marin concede defeat to the right-wing National Coalition Party this week. Despite widespread praise of her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and response to the Ukrainian crisis, economic concerns were key in election campaigning, and saw Martin lose by a small margin. With commentary in Australia discussing Marin’s similarity to Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand and Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon, Marin was seen as popular overseas but polarising internally.

In brand news, Spotify has made a bold move, teaming up with FC Barcelona. Becoming the main partner − and the ‘official audio streaming partner’ − of the club, the brand will be appearing on team shirts and the stadium will be rebranded to the Spotify Camp Nou. While music and football have been linked for some time − World Cup anthems dominate the charts when released, and musical features on EA Sports FIFA soundtracks are hotly contested − sponsorship at this level is a first.  

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