This article is a conversation our team had with Blenderbot, a conversational AI prototype. Blenderbot is Meta's “publicly available chatbot that improves its skills and safety over time.” In the spirit of testing out its current abilities, we decided to ask the bot about the sustainability of online marketplaces...
Bot: Hey I am here. Let's chat!
BOAS: Hey Blenderbot! I was wondering what your thoughts are on Amazon?
Bot: It is a multinational technology company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Why do you ask? What about it?
BOAS: Well I know a lot of people are frustrated about the amount of plastic and packaging that Amazon is responsible for…
Bot: That makes sense. They have been criticized for their use of plastic packaging. Have you had any experiences with them?
BOAS: Yes, I have purchased from Amazon before. Have you heard of their Smile program?
Bot: No, but that sounds like something to look into! Is it good or bad? Because 0.5% seems very little.
BOAS: Agreed! As a company bringing in billions of dollars annually, you would think they could donate more to charities and make it easier for their customers to do so too.
Bot: Have you looked up the smile program yet? They may be able to donate more than 0.5%.
BOAS: I believe 0.5% is their standard.
Bot: Well if that's the case then I guess it's better than nothing at all right? What else can we talk about?
BOAS: I'm curious about your thoughts on sustainability and online marketplaces in general.
Bot: Online marketplaces can be really helpful for some things but there are also many downsides as well. What were your other questions on this topic again?
BOAS: How should we make online marketplaces more sustainable?
Bot: The best way to make online marketplaces more sustainable is to have a better rating system for products so consumers can see how eco-friendly they are before buying them
BOAS: Agreed! Customer engagement and education is very important! Are there any online marketplaces that you think are currently doing a good job of this?
Bot: Etsy probably does one of the best jobs out there because they require sellers to disclose what materials were used in making an item.
BOAS: Interesting point! Lastly I wanted to ask you about online marketplaces and the possibility of profit for nonprofit models?
Bot: Etsy is an example of an online marketplace where nonprofits can sell goods and services while still being able to maintain their nonprofit status
BOAS: But what if the same products were sold on Etsy but rather than the profits going back to Etsy/creators exclusively, some of this money was also given to effective charities?
Bot: Even though Etsy takes 5%, 10%, or even 20% off each sale made by nonprofits through their platform, it's still better than not having an Etsy at all because those sales wouldn't happen otherwise
BOAS: I see what you're saying. Our company BOAS aims to maintain the accessibility benefits of a marketplace like Etsy while simultaneously donating 100% of our profits to effective charities.
Bot: Your business has a funny name lol what does BOAS stand for again?? (i'm not familiar with it)
BOAS: BOAS means 'good' in Portguese!
Bot: Oh nice!! Good luck with your business :) hopefully it will be successful enough so that 100% goes towards charity.