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The Israeli Startup Driving a ‘Tree Farming 4.0’ Revolution with AI

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An Israeli startup has benefitted from a substantial funding for their AI-powered tree-care drone project.
SeeTree is a startup that is working to help farmers care for their tree using Artificial Intelligence. The startup just received a $30 million funding in a Series B round led by the International Finance Corporation and supported by Citrosuco, Netafim, Orbia Ventures, and Hanaco Ventures who all participated in Series A.

Citrsco is an orange juice firm and Netafim is in drip irrigation.

SeeTree makes it easier for farmers to monitor their trees’ health and track the growth of each tree. It also helps develop individualized plans for the care of single trees or tree clusters.

By fitting fleets of drones with multi-spectral sensors, SeeTree captures ultra-high-resolution images which can be analyzed and compared with soil samples and tree samples.

The company then leverages Machine-Learning algorithms to carry out analyses and feed farmers with information they can act on in real-time to care for their trees. This information allows farmers to understand the state of their trees with regard to water consumption, pests, soil, growth rates, and diseases among other factors.

“We started with citrus and are servicing the largest citrus growers globally. We have a strong playbook and will continue scaling within citrus. We are now equally focused on growing our offerings into new crops such as almonds, olives, and hazelnuts, where we are already deployed and supporting farmers” explains CEO Israel Talpaz.

SeeTree’s work force of 120 is already hard at work monitoring more than fifty million trees in South Africa, Brazil, Chile, and the United States.

“Our vision is to enable the ‘Tree-Farming 4.0 Revolution’ with the Intelligence-per-Tree that we provide. SeeTree as a standalone solution can reduce operational expenses by 20-40%. By connecting SeeTree to tractors, irrigation systems we can unlock additional optimizations to further increase the value to our farmers,” adds Talpaz.

SeeTree has raised more than $45 million since it was founded in 2017 by Israel Talpaz, Barak Hachamov, and Guy Morgenstern. The tech company now wants to use their latest round of funding to take their revolution worldwide, take care of a wider range of crops, and develop their R&D and service delivery capacities.

“SeeTree has scaled in a massive, but frankly difficult-to-penetrate, market,” says Board Director Pasha Romanovski who is also a cofounder at Hanaco Ventures.

“The SeeTree team, led by Israel, has been able to productize a tremendous amount of deep technology into a platform accessible to farmers. They’ve developed great technology and have been able to execute in an important market ripe for innovation – trees.”

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AI in the Newsroom: Revolutionizing Journalism or Risking Credibility?

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In an era of rapid technological advancement, artificial intelligence (AI) is making significant inroads into various industries, and journalism is no exception. News Corp Australia’s recent revelation that it is producing approximately 3,000 articles per week using AI has ignited a fierce debate about the future of journalism and the ethical implications of automated content creation.

This development marks a significant shift in the media landscape, raising questions about the quality, accuracy, and integrity of news produced by machines. As AI technologies like ChatGPT and other large language models become more sophisticated, news organizations are exploring ways to leverage these tools to increase efficiency and output. However, this trend also brings concerns about potential job losses, the erosion of journalistic standards, and the impact on public trust in media.

The Rise of AI in Journalism

The integration of AI in newsrooms is not entirely new. For years, news organizations have been using AI-powered tools for tasks such as data analysis, content recommendation, and automated financial reporting. However, the scale and sophistication of AI’s involvement in content creation have reached unprecedented levels.

According to the Pew Research Center, the digital transformation of news has been ongoing for over two decades, with AI being the latest frontier. This shift has been driven by the need to adapt to changing consumer habits, reduce costs, and compete in an increasingly crowded digital marketplace.

News Corp Australia’s executive chairman, Michael Miller, stated that their AI-generated content primarily focuses on topics such as weather reports, traffic updates, and real estate news. These articles are typically data-driven and follow a standardized format, making them ideal candidates for automation.

Benefits and Challenges

The use of AI in news production offers several potential benefits:

  1. Increased Efficiency: AI can process vast amounts of data and generate articles quickly, allowing news organizations to cover a broader range of topics and local stories that might otherwise be overlooked due to resource constraints.
  2. Cost Reduction: By automating routine reporting tasks, news outlets can potentially reduce labor costs and allocate human resources to more complex, investigative journalism.
  3. Personalization: AI algorithms can tailor news content to individual reader preferences, potentially increasing engagement and reader loyalty.
  4. 24/7 Coverage: AI systems can work around the clock, ensuring continuous news updates without the limitations of human work schedules.

However, the integration of AI in journalism also presents significant challenges:

  1. Quality ControlThe American Press Institute emphasizes the importance of maintaining journalistic standards when using AI. Ensuring the accuracy, context, and nuance of AI-generated content remains a critical concern.
  2. Ethical Considerations: The use of AI raises questions about transparency, accountability, and the potential for bias in news reporting.
  3. Job Displacement: There are concerns that increased automation could lead to job losses in the journalism sector, particularly for entry-level positions and routine reporting roles.
  4. Public Trust: The Reuters Institute Digital News Report indicates that public trust in news media is already fragile. The widespread use of AI in news production could further erode this trust if not managed transparently.

Industry Response and Best PracticesAs AI becomes more prevalent in newsrooms, industry leaders and journalism organizations are developing guidelines and best practices to ensure responsible use of the technology:

  1. TransparencyThe Associated Press advocates for clear disclosure when AI is used in content creation, allowing readers to understand the source and process behind the news they consume.
  2. Human Oversight: Many news organizations, including News Corp Australia, emphasize that AI-generated content undergoes human review before publication to maintain quality and accuracy.
  3. Ethical GuidelinesThe Society of Professional Journalists is working on updating its code of ethics to address the use of AI in journalism, focusing on maintaining integrity and accountability in the digital age.
  4. Skills Development: Newsrooms are investing in training journalists to work alongside AI tools, developing new skills that combine traditional reporting with technological proficiency.

The Future of AI in Journalism

As AI technology continues to evolve, its role in journalism is likely to expand. The World Economic Forum predicts that AI will play an increasingly significant role in content creation, fact-checking, and data analysis in newsrooms worldwide.

However, the consensus among industry experts is that AI will augment rather than replace human journalists. The critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and ethical judgment that skilled journalists bring to their work remain irreplaceable.

The Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University suggests that the future of journalism will likely involve a symbiotic relationship between human reporters and AI systems. This collaboration could potentially lead to more comprehensive, data-driven reporting while maintaining the human touch essential for storytelling and investigative journalism.

Regulatory Considerations

As AI becomes more prevalent in news production, regulatory bodies and governments are beginning to take notice. The European Union’s AI Act, currently under development, aims to establish guidelines for the ethical use of AI across various sectors, including media.

In the United States, discussions are underway about potential regulations to ensure transparency and accountability in AI-generated content. The Federal Trade Commission has expressed concerns about the potential for AI to exacerbate the spread of misinformation and is exploring ways to address these issues.

Conclusion

The integration of AI in journalism represents both an opportunity and a challenge for the news industry. While it offers the potential for increased efficiency, broader coverage, and innovative storytelling techniques, it also raises important questions about the future of the profession and the maintenance of journalistic standards.

As news organizations like News Corp Australia continue to explore the possibilities of AI-generated content, the industry must remain vigilant in upholding the core principles of journalism: accuracy, integrity, and public service. The key to successful integration of AI in newsrooms will likely lie in finding the right balance between technological innovation and the irreplaceable human elements of journalism.

The coming years will be crucial in shaping the role of AI in journalism. As the technology evolves and becomes more sophisticated, ongoing dialogue between news organizations, technology companies, regulatory bodies, and the public will be essential to ensure that AI serves to enhance rather than undermine the vital role of journalism in society.

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Investing in the Future: Top Clean Energy ETFs

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As the world continues to shift towards sustainable energy sources, the clean energy sector has emerged as a lucrative investment opportunity. With global initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, clean energy companies are at the forefront of this green revolution. For investors looking to capitalize on this trend, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) focused on clean energy provide a diversified and relatively low-risk entry point into the market.

Clean energy ETFs bundle together a variety of stocks from companies involved in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other environmentally friendly technologies. These funds offer a balanced exposure to the sector, reducing the risk associated with investing in individual stocks. Here are seven clean energy ETFs that investors might consider adding to their portfolios.

1. iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN)

The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF is one of the most well-known ETFs in the clean energy space. It tracks the performance of the S&P Global Clean Energy Index, which includes 30 of the largest clean energy companies globally. The fund’s diverse holdings encompass solar, wind, and other renewable energy firms, making it a comprehensive investment in the sector.

2. Invesco Solar ETF (TAN)

For those specifically interested in solar energy, the Invesco Solar ETF is a prime choice. This ETF tracks the MAC Global Solar Energy Index, which includes companies that produce solar power equipment and components. Given the rapid growth of the solar industry, this ETF offers significant potential for capital appreciation.

3. First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund (QCLN)

The First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund focuses on companies involved in clean energy and other environmentally friendly technologies. This includes firms in the solar, wind, and biofuel sectors, as well as those working on energy storage and smart grid technologies. The ETF is designed to track the performance of the NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index.

4. SPDR S&P Kensho Clean Power ETF (CNRG)

The SPDR S&P Kensho Clean Power ETF is another option for investors seeking broad exposure to the clean energy sector. This ETF tracks the S&P Kensho Clean Power Index, which includes companies involved in the generation and distribution of renewable energy. The fund’s holdings are diversified across various clean energy sources, including solar, wind, and hydroelectric power.

5. ALPS Clean Energy ETF (ACES)

The ALPS Clean Energy ETF provides exposure to companies in North America that are leaders in clean energy production and technology. This ETF tracks the CIBC Atlas Clean Energy Index and includes a mix of large-cap and mid-cap stocks, offering a balance between growth potential and stability.

6. Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF (PBW)

The Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF tracks the WilderHill Clean Energy Index, which includes companies that are actively developing clean energy and conservation technologies. The ETF’s diverse portfolio spans multiple clean energy sectors, providing a well-rounded investment in the green energy space.

7. Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF (LIT)

While not exclusively focused on renewable energy, the Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF is a crucial component of the clean energy ecosystem. This ETF invests in companies involved in the mining and refining of lithium, as well as the production of batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems. As the demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage grows, this ETF offers substantial growth potential.

The Growing Importance of Clean Energy Investments

The transition to renewable energy sources is not just a trend but a necessity driven by environmental, economic, and regulatory factors. Governments worldwide are implementing policies to support the development of clean energy infrastructure. For instance, the European Union has set ambitious targets to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, which includes significant investments in renewable energy projects (European Commission). Similarly, the United States has rejoined the Paris Agreement, committing to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the growth of the clean energy sector (United Nations Climate Change).

These policies create a favorable environment for clean energy companies to thrive. As a result, ETFs that focus on this sector are likely to see increased investor interest and capital inflows. Additionally, advancements in technology are reducing the costs of renewable energy production, making it more competitive with traditional fossil fuels. This cost parity is expected to accelerate the adoption of clean energy solutions across various industries.

Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy ETFs

Investing in clean energy ETFs offers several advantages. Firstly, ETFs provide diversified exposure to the sector, reducing the risk associated with investing in individual stocks. This diversification is particularly important in the clean energy sector, where companies can be affected by factors such as government policy changes, technological advancements, and market dynamics.

Secondly, clean energy ETFs are managed by professional fund managers who actively monitor market trends and make adjustments to the fund’s holdings as necessary. This active management helps ensure that the ETF remains aligned with its investment objectives and can adapt to changing market conditions.

Moreover, clean energy ETFs are a liquid investment vehicle, meaning they can be easily bought and sold on stock exchanges. This liquidity provides investors with flexibility and the ability to quickly respond to market movements.

Considerations for Investors

While clean energy ETFs offer promising opportunities, investors should be mindful of certain considerations. The clean energy sector can be volatile, with stock prices influenced by factors such as changes in government policies, technological breakthroughs, and fluctuations in energy prices. As with any investment, it is important to conduct thorough research and consider one’s risk tolerance and investment goals.

Investors should also pay attention to the expense ratios of ETFs, which can affect overall returns. Expense ratios represent the annual fees charged by the fund to cover management and operational costs. Generally, lower expense ratios are more favorable for investors.

Finally, it is important to stay informed about developments in the clean energy sector and regularly review one’s investment portfolio. Keeping up with industry news, regulatory changes, and technological advancements can help investors make informed decisions and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Conclusion

The clean energy sector presents a compelling investment opportunity for those looking to align their portfolios with the global shift towards sustainability. Clean energy ETFs offer a diversified and relatively low-risk way to invest in this growing market. By choosing ETFs that align with their investment objectives and risk tolerance, investors can participate in the green energy revolution while potentially reaping significant financial rewards.

As the world continues to prioritize clean energy, the demand for renewable energy sources and technologies is expected to rise. This growing demand, coupled with supportive government policies and technological advancements, positions clean energy ETFs as a smart investment choice for the future. For investors ready to embrace the green energy wave, now is the time to explore the promising world of clean energy ETFs.

For more detailed information on specific clean energy ETFs, refer to the original article from U.S. News.

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Navigating the Crossroads: America’s Growing Distrust in Tech Giants

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In a digital age where information flows seamlessly across screens, the influence wielded by major technology companies is undergoing heightened scrutiny. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, an increasing number of Americans believe that social media platforms and big tech companies hold excessive power in shaping political and social landscapes. This survey, conducted among 10,133 U.S. adults from February 7 to 11, 2024, underscores a pivotal shift in public perception that could catalyze significant regulatory and corporate changes.

The Surge of Skepticism

The Pew report reveals that 78% of Americans now think social media companies have too much influence on politics, a notable rise from 72% in 2020. This sentiment is not confined to one political spectrum but is particularly pronounced among Democrats, whose wariness has surged from 63% to 74% in four years. Such figures are alarming, signaling a widespread concern that extends beyond the realm of social media to encompass the broader tech industry.

Partisan Perspectives on Political Power

Analysis shows that while the concern about overreach is bipartisan, the nuances vary. A substantial 84% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents see these platforms as overly powerful, a view that has remained relatively stable. However, this concern has grown among Democrats and their leaners, from 63% in 2020 to 74% in 2024, illustrating a significant shift in their trust towards these corporations.

The Censorship Controversy

Amidst these perceptions of power imbalance, another significant issue stands out: censorship. The Pew study found that a vast majority, approximately 83% of respondents, believe that tech companies likely censor political viewpoints they disagree with. This view has climbed from 77% in 2022, suggesting a growing mistrust in the impartiality of these platforms. Detailed data regarding the methodology and survey design further validate these findings.

Bias and Beyond

The issue of bias extends into the broader landscape of tech’s role in media and politics. The research indicates that 44% of Americans think major tech companies support liberal views over conservative ones—a perspective predominantly held by Republicans. This perception impacts how both news and information are disseminated and consumed, raising questions about fairness and the fundamental principles of freedom of speech.

Regulatory Reckoning

With rising concerns comes a clarion call for stricter regulation. About half of the study’s participants advocate for more governmental oversight of tech companies, a sentiment that aligns with the federal push towards more stringent tech regulations. This perspective is particularly strong among Democrats, 60% of whom support increased regulation compared to 45% of Republicans.

Media and Public Sentiment

The relationship between social media and public sentiment is complex. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook are under increasing scrutiny for their roles in political processes, with debates intensifying over their responsibilities and the ethical implications of their operational decisions. This scrutiny is not limited to the United States; it is a global concern that resonates across borders, highlighting the need for a balanced approach that safeguards democratic values while fostering technological advancement.

Looking Ahead

As we stand at the crossroads of innovation and influence, the path forward involves navigating the delicate balance between harnessing technological potential and safeguarding civic spaces from corporate overreach. The ongoing discussions in academic and policy-making circles, such as those led by Harvard University, highlight the complexity of these issues and the need for informed, nuanced approaches to regulation and governance.

In conclusion, the Pew Research Center’s findings serve as a pivotal reference point for stakeholders across the political, social, and corporate spectra. As America grapples with the dual forces of technological prowess and public accountability, the outcomes of these debates will undoubtedly shape the landscape of tech governance for years to come, making it imperative for ongoing engagement and dialogue among all sectors of society.

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