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We held a Q & A about building a better world. The answers will boost your faith in humanity.

If you spend much time on social media, it may seem like the world is plagued by seemingly intractable divides. But deep down, most of us really want the same thing—a healthy planet where people get along, have enough, and work together to build a better world. Even if we disagree on how to get there, we all want to believe that a peaceful, prosperous future is possible.


At Upworthy, we believe in the power of people coming together to solve problems. That's why we've partnered with the United Nations as it commemorates 75 years of encouraging international cooperation on global issues. Since 1945, the UN has been at the forefront of finding and implementing solutions to the challenges facing humanity, bringing nearly every country on earth to the table to work toward international peace, human rights, and social progress for all. We think that's pretty awesome.

To kick off this 75th anniversary year, we wanted to hear from individuals and organizations about where humanity is at in 2020 and how we can best get to where we want to be. So we held a Twitter #UpChat and asked 10 questions about building a hopeful future. Here are the questions, along with some responses that will boost your faith that we humans, despite some inevitable fumblings, are collectively headed in the right direction.

Question 1: What's one thing that's positive about the current state of our world?

World Food Program USA shared some encouraging statistics about extreme poverty, health, access to electricity, and hunger and expressed hope for achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Teacher Will McDonough reminded us that every time a tragedy, setback, or failure happens, "there emerges a swelling tide of courageous humans willing to go to battle in the name of justice and good." Beautifully said.

Question 2: What's one thing you'd like to change about the current state of our world?

Together First responded that they would like to see "a world where diverse voices calling for change are given a seat at the global decision making table." (Here's one example of why representation matters: Peace agreements last 35% longer when women sit at the negotiating table.)

RELATED: We'll start seeing more lasting peace when women get more seats at the negotiating table.

Silvio Gonzato aptly explained the growing problem with the spread of disinformation, and called for "new normative frameworks which respect freedom of speech but guarantee access to quality information."

Question 3: What does a positive future look like to you? Are we on track?

The Better India envisioned a world "where every time we do or buy something, it turns into a positive ripple effect for the planet and its people."

And Priyanka Jaisinghani wrote, "A positive future means equal access to education, resources and opportunities. A place where girls are elevated, have the opportunity to obtain an education and learn & exercise their rights." YES. (Here's why empowering girls and women is important.)

Question 4: How can we take on climate change?

Plus Social Good laid down the basics: "We need to wake up to the fact that we are in a climate crisis. It is not time for small measures or hesitancy. It's time for big dreams and larger actions."

17-year-old Irish climate activist Saoi offered a specific goal to "reach zero emissions" as well as to "center the conversation around justice and reparations for the global south." (You can find more information about climate change and the global south here.)

Question 5: What's an action you can take (micro or macro) to better our planet?

Girls Not Brides, an organization that works to end child marriage, pointed out that you can "Raise your voice, share the facts, and support the work of activists, campaigns and organisations." Indeed, we don't have to reinvent the wheel. There are many groups working on the ground who can benefit from support and amplification, an action anyone can take.

RELATED: The UN wants to help refugees in an incredible call to action.

Alejandra got specific with her own individual actions, including eating less meat, recycling, educating people to identify and prevent slavery, and promote equality in her workplace. "Local action can ensure global progress," she wrote.

Question 6: What does the world you want to live in look like 25 years from now?

Giving Tuesday wrote, "We need to be supporting organisations that are feeding the hungry, sheltering the unsheltered, healing the wounded; but a positive future is one that uses generosity to fuel systematic + structural change so that those problems don't exist in the first place." Now there's some food for thought.

Leia Cator painted a simple but wonderful sounding future: "25 years from now, I want the world to revolve with sustainable energy, vibrant wilderness, and exciting technology discoveries."

Question 7: Out of the following five issue areas, what are you most optimistic about improving in the next 25 years? Digital world, conflict & violence, inequality, climate, or shifting populations?

Though some people responded with specific issue areas, many agreed that all five must be addressed because they are interconnected.

As StandUp for kids wrote, "If we don't address all five, we aren't likely to see meaningful improvements in any. They are rightly interconnected, and I think that creative change makers must address them all." This is why conversations like this one are vital.

Question 8: What do you hope world leaders do to engage youth in envisioning and creating the future?

The subject of youth as leaders kept coming in in answers to all of these questions, which is an encouraging sign for the future of our planet.

As World Food Program USA pointed out, youth are already "very engaged and active in causes that matter." Therefore, "leaders should listen to them, be inspired by them, work with them, and help them contribute to their communities."

Priyanka Jaisinghani also pointed out that "Our current & rising generations are demanding deeper commitment and bolder actions. Leaders need to not only include youth in conversations, but collaborate as equal partners."

Question 9: What would you like to see as an outcome from conversations between youth and global leaders?

Sarah Siraj expressed a desire for world leaders to "empathise with the youth and the anxiety they are facing about the political, social and physical climate we live in as opposed to trivialise it. The genuine intent to listen, understand and help is what I'm hoping for."

And Emmanuel Nyame brought some truth to the table, pointing out that "Young people are always engaged just for the visuals and not to use our ideas in national planning and policies," adding, "This attitude must stop! Please!"

Question 10: How can countries and people come together to create better global cooperation for our future?

"Celebrate active citizenship," wrote Conservation International. "Listen to each other, share knowledge and skills, encourage contribution, and drive action, both on a local level and globally."

And Annie Rosenthal added that listening to each other means shifting our hearing toward people instead of profiteers. "We need to start listening to working class people instead of CEOs," she wrote. "We need leaders to be courageous instead of self-interested. We need to reimagine power and change."

Reimagining power and change might just sum up the answers to all of these questions.

The global conversation is just getting started, and you can be a part of it. Share your thoughts on "achieving our shared vision for a safer, fairer and more sustainable world" by participating in a UN75 survey here.

And if you need some encouragement in lending your voice to the conversation, these young people are showing us how it's done. The future is in good hands, but we all have a role to play in shaping it.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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