Can OpenAI’s chat bot solve gentrification?

On November 30, 2022, the San Francisco-based artificial intelligence (AI) research laboratory OpenAI launched the ChatGPT chatbot. ChatGPT is a software application developed to mimic human conversation based on user inputs. ChatGPT is trained using machine learning and can simulate ongoing dialog, respond to follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge inaccurate or incorrect statements, and reject improper or inappropriate requests. Former OpenAI board member Elon Musk called the chatbot “scary good”. There have been and continue to be plenty of hesitation and ethical concerns over AI-driven innovations, but it’s innovation and potentially lucrative promise appeal to many. Population and Place Research Lab affiliate Justin B. Hollander “sat down” with the ChatGPT to gauge it’s thoughts on gentrification. Justin found the chatbot to be helpful, creative, clever and very friendly. However, it is clear that, like many people, it struggles with the idea of gentrification. Here is their conversation:

JH: How can city governments prevent gentrification?

AI: City governments can prevent gentrification in several ways. The most common strategies include investing in neighborhood infrastructure, making more affordable housing available, providing incentives to small businesses, increasing public safety and access to resources, and encouraging investment from local residents. Additionally, cities can create zoning laws that limit rent increases and reduce the number of luxury buildings being built.

JH: But won’t local businesses resist these efforts?

AI: Local businesses may be resistant to some of these efforts if their profits are affected. In order to gain support, city governments should make sure to involve local businesses and other stakeholders in the process and create a plan that is beneficial for everyone. Additionally, they should provide incentives to businesses that support the gentrification prevention plans, such as tax credits and increased access to capital.

JH: Where will the money come from to pay for all of this?

AI: City governments can fundraise to pay for the initiatives to prevent gentrification by implementing taxes on luxury dwellings, asking the state or federal government for funding, or encouraging local businesses and residents to contribute financially. Additionally, cities can use grants or other resources provided by foundations and nonprofits.

JH: If you tax high earners too much, won’t they just leave the city?

AI: Yes, if cities tax high earners too much, some may choose to leave the area. To minimize this risk, cities should look into creating tiered taxes that are based on income or property value. Additionally, cities can offer incentives for high earners to stay in the city, such as tax credits or deductions. This can help ensure that wealthier individuals remain in the city and contribute to economic growth.

JH: You want to give high earners tax credits? You just said the answer to paying for anti-gentrification policies is to increase taxes, which is it?

AI: Cities should consider implementing both tax increases and incentives for high earners. Higher taxes on luxury dwellings can help raise revenue to fund anti-gentrification initiatives, while tax credits or deductions can help to keep wealthier individuals in the city and stimulate economic growth. It is important to strike a balance between these policies in order to maximize the benefits for the city and its residents.

JH: So you tax them and lower their taxes at the same time?

AI: City governments can implement both taxes on luxury dwellings and tax credits or deductions for higher earners at the same time. This can help generate more revenue to fund anti-gentrification initiatives while also retaining wealthier individuals in the city who can contribute to economic growth.