Is one of three questions CargoForwarder Global put to ChatGPT this week (see also “What is the biggest threat to air cargo?” and “Is the future of air cargo electric?”). How on the ball is the artificial intelligence language model which takes its reference from knowledge fed into it until SEP21? How do you rate its responses? What did it fail to consider?
In response to the prompt what the world would look like without air cargo, here is what ChatGPT had to say:
A world without air cargo would have significant implications for global trade, transportation, and various industries. Here are some potential changes and consequences:
Slower global trade: Air cargo plays a crucial role in international trade, facilitating the fast and efficient movement of goods across countries. Without air cargo, the transportation of goods would primarily rely on slower alternatives such as ships and trucks. This would result in longer transit times, leading to delays in the delivery of goods and a slower pace of global trade overall.
Impact on perishable goods and supply chains
Impact on perishable goods: Air cargo is essential for the transportation of perishable goods, such as fresh produce, seafood, and pharmaceuticals, which require fast delivery to maintain their quality and shelf life. Without air transport, these items would be limited to slower modes of transportation, making it difficult to maintain their freshness and potentially causing significant losses for producers, distributors, and consumers.
Supply chain disruptions: Air cargo plays a critical role in global supply chains, enabling the timely delivery of components and raw materials to manufacturers. Without air transport, supply chains would face increased vulnerability to disruptions caused by delays, weather conditions, and logistical challenges. This could lead to production delays, shortages, and higher costs for manufacturers and consumers alike.
Economies would suffer
Economic impact: The absence of air cargo would have far-reaching economic consequences. Industries heavily reliant on global trade, such as automotive, electronics, and fashion, would face significant challenges. Higher transportation costs, longer lead times, and reduced flexibility could increase prices for imported goods and potentially impact consumer demand. Additionally, regions that heavily depend on air cargo as a key driver of their economies, such as logistics hubs and airport cities, would experience a decline in economic activity and job opportunities.
Tourism and travel limitations: Air cargo shares space with passenger flights, and they often complement each other in terms of revenue generation. Without air cargo, the aviation industry would likely be significantly impacted, leading to fewer flights, reduced connectivity, and potentially higher ticket prices. This could result in limited travel options, decreased tourism, and fewer opportunities for business travelers.
Swapping one carbon emitter for others
Environmental impact: Although air cargo is known for its speed and efficiency, it also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions due to the fuel consumption of aircraft. A world without air cargo could lead to reduced carbon emissions associated with this mode of transportation. However, it's important to consider the trade-offs, as alternative modes like ships and trucks would likely see increased usage, potentially leading to higher overall emissions if not properly managed.
It's worth noting that air cargo provides unique advantages, such as the ability to transport high-value and time-sensitive goods quickly across long distances. While alternative modes of transportation exist, they might not offer the same level of speed, reliability, and efficiency as air cargo.
ChatGPT is open, honest, and fair
The summary paragraph above is typical of ChatGPT’s balanced consideration of whatever topic you feed it with. What its deliberations miss, are current statistics, but if you ask it for the percentage of world trade that travels as air cargo, or the annual tons flown, it will remind you in each case that its cut-off knowledge date is SEP21, and provide you with 35% and 110 million metric tons in answer, and that “It's important to note that this is a general estimate, and the actual amount may vary from year to year based on factors such as economic conditions, global trade volumes, and fluctuations in demand for air cargo services. Additionally, the impact of events like the COVID-19 pandemic can significantly affect air cargo volumes, as seen in recent years.”
You could be forgiven for thinking that ChatGPT is a knowledgeable, sentient being.
ChatCPT, as “interviewed” by Brigitte Gledhill
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