Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
On macaque copyright law ;Krugman on “formerly true” ideas; Tabarrok suggests a Golden Age of Conservative Intellectuals; Shkreli as pied-piper; data as the monopolists tool; robots chat to each other on stage; ATM traps man/man traps himself inside ATM; humans decide to allow swords to be carried openly once more; Brookings Institution think tanker runs aground off Crimea coast; other stuff.
Romer slaughters kittens; hedge fund got bananas bonanza of inside information; moar quants, less jocks; Moon Juice, Brain Dust and whatever other $ sucking innovation is being cooked up right now; teenagers everywhere don’t understand money; other stuff.
Being US president is surprisingly hard, says US president; Dalio gave a TED talk about radical transparency; trade and technology duke it out at CUNY; fun with central bank Calvinball; the race to build the world’s first sex robot; other stuff.
In a rebuttal to Bill Gates, Larry Summers argues robots are wealth creators which should not be taxed accordingly. He’s right. But only if the driving motivation for robot innovation is enhanced productivity. Not if it’s a Silicon Valley god complex.
If we want an economy full of meaningful jobs, not just ones that pay the bills or enable subsistence, we need to cater to the full spectrum of the human condition. This means understanding that for those who are that way inclined, manual work can be deemed a fair trade for security, simplicity, a good base standard of living and a peaceful life — and that this in itself is meaningful.
Most of civilised history has been spent trying to reduce the number of hours humans work in back-breaking menial jobs and increasing the number of hours worked in safe and intellectually rewarding knowledge jobs. Technologists, for some reason, think it’s now logical to encourage the opposite, and the phenomenon is leading to an inflation paradox.
Despite ample reports suggesting the opposite, there is no hard proof self driving cars will necessarily be any cheaper, safer or economical than human-driven cars, let alone capable of displacing public transport systems on a mass level.
Including… – DeLong on why Keynes wrote “In the Long Run We Are All Dead” – A WSJ series on passive vs active investing. – John Cassidy on HRC’s plans to squeeze the ultra-rich. – And somewhat awkwardly on how Democrats killed their populist soul.
The developed world is not reshoring or automating half as quickly as the technologists would have us believe, and on the macro level the impact is likely to be insignificant for many years yet.
Most people aren’t terribly excited about teaching computers how to do their jobs, but multi-million-dollar settlements after regulatory investigations seem like a pretty good motivator. IBM announced today that it’s buying Promontory Financial, a consultancy that came to represent some of the problems raised by the revolving door between regulators and Wall Street banks (it was founded by Eugene Ludwig, comptroller of the currency for the Clinton Administration). The company says it’ll build a machine-learning compliance platform, with Promontory’s staff training its Watson technology. Promontory’s recent regulatory history is the main reason this looks like a pretty good deal for them. Last year, the company was almost suspended indefinitely from consulting for New York-licensed banks suspected of wrongdoing. (It ended up getting cut to six months, with a $15 million fine.)
This is a guest post by Prof. Dr. Luc Soete, a UNU-Merit board member, on the challenges posed to labour markets by growing automation and the need to distribute the gains from modern technical change with tools such as basic income or helicopter money. It is based on remarks made at a panel event marking the 50th Anniversary of the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University earlier this week.
Probably too much has been written already about Bernstein’s passive investing is worse than Marxism note, but *shrugs* it’s August so… Over at Bloomberg, Matt Levine argued persuasively that a lot of what is called passive investing actually involves decisions about capital allocation, and that codifying those decisions (in the sense of computer code) doesn’t mean we’re headed towards a future where companies only receive investment in proportion to their current size.
Bitcoin business pioneer Jeff Garzik told Cryptocoinsnews over the weekend his latest venture Bloq will behave as a sort of consulting platform to bridge the world of private blockchains with bitcoin, because it is “very important to make Bitcoin a part of the blockchain discussion again”. But he also said this (our emphasis): “It’s the overall mission to make blockchain more acceptable, more stable and more widespread than ever before,” Garzik said. “And I think that’s really going to be the success point within twenty years. Bloq is gonna be building a decentralized system. I like to call Bitcoin the first decentralized autonomous organism. There will be many more decentralized systems built on top of this technology and long-term Bloq is going to play a role in launching side chains and blockchains, and launching digital identity that’s affordable and tying all that together.”
- Lee Buchheit and Mitu Gulati on Venezuela’s debt
- Gabriel Zucman on tax evasion and inequality
- Michael Pettis on the mechanics of trade and the Chinese economy
- Angus Deaton on his Nobel prize-winning career (encore)
- Tim Harford on the lessons of new technologies in economic history
- Encore episode — Heidi Williams on gene sequencing, patent design, and innovation incentives
- Retail hype vs retail facts
- Michael Mandel on the case for productivity optimism
- Is Ireland an austerity poster child or a “beautiful freak”?
- Richard Ocejo on old jobs in new urban economies
A new hemp derivatives market?
Right, get your affairs in order, tell your family you love them and take a long walk in a peaceful park, because surely the End of Days is nearly upon us. Go, an ancient Chinese board game and pretty much the last one to resist the onslaught of computers that have already thrashed us at chess, Super Mario and Jeopardy, has finally succumbed. Google’s artificial intelligence outfit DeepMind has developed a computer that last year in secret beat a professional Go player, according to a Nature article released last week. Here’s Deepmind’s Demis Hassabis crowing over his machine’s triumph: