🔮 AI's impact on the economy; the end of ownership; the rise of thought leadership; automating jobs; supply-side economics & new elements++  #120

🔮 AI's impact on the economy; the end of ownership; the rise of thought leadership; automating jobs; supply-side economics & new elements++  #120

AI and the economy. Should you tell your boss if you automate your job? The end of ownership. Public intellectuals vs. thought leaders. New elements.

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🌟 Scientific American on the top ten emerging technologies of 2017.

🛍️  The subscription model may lead to “the end of owning things”. Kevin Kelly makes the point:

If we can deliver these intangibles anytime, anywhere, to anybody, that instant aspect of them means we don’t have to own them anymore.

A developer automates their job. Is it ethical to keep it or should they tell their employer? (A modern dilemma.)

💡  A different perspective on work and outcomes: an hour worth of light from a modern lightbulb would take our ancestors 10 hrs/day for six days to produce.

🌶️  Fred Ehrsam on the nuts and bolts of scaling Ethereum to billions of users:

The biggest bottleneck to solving scalability is the number of people working on the problem. If current efforts are well executed, Ethereum could be ready for a 1–10m user app by the end of 2018.

🤒  Rise of the thought leader and decline of the public intellectual:

Plutocrat money has done much more than produce a handful of hollow thinkers...they are in manufacturing political support for their preferred ideas.

🛃  China's surveillance state uses facial recognition to get a tighter grip on its citizens. (No paywall here.)

🏗️  Between the overpromise and the skepticism of 3D printing is hard-to-predict manufacturing revolution.


Artificial intelligence will add to global GDP, say independent reports from two different consultancies. Accenture reckons AI will boost industry profits by 38% and add $14 trillion in annual gross value added (similar to GDP) to the economies of 12 countries. (Full report here.) This will be driven by automation, augmentation of labour and capital, and by improved diffusion of innovation.

Consultancy PwC came to similar conclusions reckoning that by 2030, global GDP would increase by $15.7trn due to the positive impact of AI, and that GDP would essentially be 14% higher because of the technology’s contribution. (That is more than the economies of India and China.)

I reckon that China stands to gain significantly from the arrival of AI *and* that China is well-placed to make significant breakthroughs in developing artificial general intelligence. US policy makers are starting to worry about this too.

The automation of stock-picking and a move to passive investing will be good for society, argues MSCI boss, Henry Fernandez:

Passive investing is another technological advance. It will free up resources to focus on less-efficient markets such as real estate, infrastructure and private debt. This will be good for society.

DiffBlue raises £17m to develop AI systems to automate software development. (Danny Lange and I discussed why software development might be an early candidate for automation by AI in our podcast.)

Paul Daugherty writes in Sloan Management Review on the jobs AI will create in the short-term:

  • Trainers (who train AI systems);
  • Explainers (who explain what a black-box AI system is doing);
  • Sustainers (who will ensure systems work as well as planned).

Carlos Espinal, comments on the above argument. The future is uncertain because:

there is some risk that AI might just be able to crack that Turing Test across the board and leaving us totally jobless.. unless it doesn't, leaving us humans ‘safe’ to deal with jobs that are classically in the realm of what we consider ‘human’: creative jobs, empathy-centric jobs, ethics-centric jobs, and lastly jobs where discerning the fine line between good data from the bad data is critical.


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Politics is pretty turbulent in the US and the UK right now. Here is a handful of interesting essays on those topics, all slightly off our usual piste.

Using maths to attack gerrymandering.

🐛 How did Kansas’ experiment with conservative, tiny government, trickle-down economics work out? (Hint: it really didn’t.)

The surge of medical crowdfunding tells the story of ordinary Americans wrestling with the cost of healthcare.

🥀  Britain’s decline and fall.


🏋️  Facebook hits 2 billion users.

This is how teens really use Snapchat, Instagram, FB.

💤  Fitbit offers insights into sleep gaps between generations and genders.

⚗️ 4 new elements in the periodic table: Nihonium, Oganesson, Tennessine, and Moscovium.

How to read and understand a scientific paper. GUIDE

New water properties discovered: it's two different liquids at low temperatures.

📱 Novel nanomaterial combination could best silicon.

China's central bank is testing a prototype of digital currency.

😹 Chinese VR gamers are hating on crypto miners as a shortage of GPUs bites.

Cockatoos are the only non-human animals to create drumming beats. 🥁

🔥 Iranian city hits 129°F or 53.8° C, near the record for a human settlement.

World’s first cable-free elevator uses HyperLoop technology to move horizontally and vertically.

Bloomberg is now keeping an eye on Elon Musk’s all ongoing and announced projects. (⚡ Warning: the guy is no procrastinator.) Fun infographic

EV reader, Jolyon Maugham, is taking on Uber.


Hope you enjoyed this issue. Have a great week!


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