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E-Commerce Delivery Is Increasing Congestion and Emissions in Cities

Source: The Future of the Last-Mile Ecosystem, the World Economic Forum

Demand for delivery services is slated to grow by 78% over the next decade, according to a report from the World Economic Forum

As demand for delivery services grows — same-day delivery demand has increased by 36% annually — so does its impact on the environment and congestion in cities. The number of delivery vehicles is on track to increase by 36%, delivery emissions by 32% and traffic congestion by 21% in urban areas over the next decade, the report says. 

Left unaddressed, these issues could mean longer commutes for city dwellers, crowded roads and reduced air quality due to increasing traffic from freight trucks and commercial vehicles.

A solution to these concerns should consider business priorities along with urban-logistical and environmental concerns. A number of options have been proposed, including electric vehicle regulation, nighttime deliveries, load pooling and multi-brand parcel lockers. “Such a scenario could reduce [carbon dioxide] emissions by 30%, congestion by 30% and delivery costs by 25% by 2030 when compared to a ‘do nothing’ baseline,” the report says. 

America Has the Most Extreme Income Inequality Among G-7 Peers

Income inequality in the U.S. outranks all other G-7 countries, according to the Pew Research Center

The Gini coefficient, the measurement tool used by the OECD to discern equality, operates on a scale of 0, complete equality, to 1, complete inequality. “Globally, the Gini ranges from lows of about 0.25 in some Eastern European countries to highs of 0.5 to 0.6 in countries in southern Africa,” says Pew. 

In the U.S., the top 20% of earners made more than half of all income in 2018. And alarmingly, Pew says, the highest earners are the only group to have increased their wealth following the Great Recession. 

Income inequality has been the subject of public outcry and countless protests across the world over the past year, in particular. “We’re going to see people in increasing numbers dropping out of our mainstream drive for economic success. [Income inequality is] leading to large, loud political cries for completely upending our capitalist system.” says University of Maryland economist Melissa Kearney.

Climate Good News: Renewable Energy Is Taking Off in Europe

Source: The European Power Sector in 2019

Europeans will be relying more on renewable energy for their electricity, with renewables set to generate more than half of the continent’s electricity by the end of the decade, a new report on the European power sector shows.

Wind energy is the stand out, providing 84% of renewable energy growth since 2015. Solar power accounted for 18% of the growth in renewables and biomass 10%. But most of the growth in wind power (65%) is being carried by a handful of European countries: Germany, France, Spain, the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands and Italy. And that growth is set to continue, with the European Commission expecting wind energy to more than double between now and 2030. 

The EU renewables industry as a whole looks poised for solid growth over the next decade, and with the electrification of more industries, the demand for renewable energy is increasing. “Electricity consumption is forecast to rise 18% by 2030,” the report says, “therefore, renewables generation must rise by 18% by 2030 just to maintain today’s 35% share.”

74% of Americans Want the Right to Be Forgotten Online

Source: Pew Research Center

The vast majority of Americans want the right to remove sensitive personal information on search engines, according to a recent Pew Research survey. In particular, 85% of U.S. adults want to be able to remove potentially damaging photos or videos. 

With the continued growth of visual-centric platforms such as Instagram, “unflattering or sensitive personal information is more accessible than ever.” The survey adds to the wider debate over the “right to be forgotten” following the European Court of Justice’s high-profile decision to force Google to allow European users to remove personal information from the search engine.

There currently exists no similar U.S. legislation to restrict the personal information of users available on Google and other searchable platforms. But with American public sentiment in favor of greater privacy and China taking steps to follow the EU’s route, the push for regulation in the United States is gaining momentum.

AI Is Growing, but Strategy and Skills Need to Catch Up

Source: Enterprise Technology Trends, Salesforce

AI adoption is expected to double within two years in the IT industry. And chatbots — a form of AI that have maintained the same pace of adoption as AI at large — are also expected to double in use within the same time frame, a study by Salesforce shows.

Eighty-three percent of industry leaders say that AI is transforming customer engagement, and 69% say it is transforming their business, with customer service and marketing ranking as the areas of AI’s highest potential value. Beyond customer service, roughly 80% of industry leaders anticipate AI contributing to increased business security and operating efficiency.

However, while 37% of leaders say AI is a high priority, only 7% have a completely defined AI strategy. Insufficient skill sets are the biggest barrier to AI implementation, with just 10% of workers having advanced AI skills to match the desire to adopt the technology. 

But who is responsible for closing this skills gap? Ninety-six percent of general public respondents said: companies. 

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