📊 EV’s Charts of the Week #113
AI & proteins, inflation, remote work++
Hi, I’m Azeem Azhar. I convene Exponential View to help us understand how our societies and political economy will change under the force of rapidly accelerating technologies. Every Wednesday for the last couple of years, I have done this in Charts of the Week📊.
The team and I feel that it is now time to rethink how we tell stories through charts. We’ll be experimenting with a new, hopefully more poignant way of researching and narrating the questions we care about in a way that stands the test of time.
Expect the new format to hit your inbox in a few weeks — if you’re a paying member you’ll be the first to benefit from our research. In the meantime, please enjoy an abbreviated edition of our Charts of the Week.
AI’s protein moment
A large majority of the 100 most cited AI papers in the last three years came from the United States, followed by China. The two most cited papers in 2022 were DeepMind’s AlphaFold AI with 1372 citations, followed by ColabFold, an open-source protein folding model. 2021’s most cited paper was also about AlphaFold.
For all the disruption the last couple of months have seen with large language models, these last years were dominated by the biotech revolution of AI use in predicting protein structure, which drastically accelerated drug discovery. Generative AI was the subject of the third most cited paper “Hierarchical Text-Conditional Image Generation with CLIP Latents” from OpenAI. I expect we’ll see articles about LLMs rise high in 2023, but biotech will remain a key component of this AI summer.
The chart below shows how price rises of different goods and services in the US have been uneven.
It all ties back to technology and regulation. The more products rely on technology and can benefit from learning curves and experimentation, the stronger the price decline. In contrast, where services are more regulated or there is a poor market structure, there is also less technology investment, and prices rise dramatically.
You’re on mute
The UK has seen the biggest growth in remote or hybrid job postings out of five English-speaking countries captured by a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
Close to 18% of British job postings now offer remote or hybrid work. True, many of us have changed our work habits during the pandemic… But we’re also looking at a tight job market: competition between companies for qualified workers means having to offer more flexibility.
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Regarding the Techflation graph, I saw it the other day on Andreessen's Substack and I could not avoid to think that the explanation was too seductive and in a way simplistic.
I obviously understand the point and in general terms I agree to it (in fact I was discussing with a partner the evolution of prices in high speed trains, here in Spain). But in this case I do believe that there is other factors involved.
In my opinion there is a point regarding the US exception and by exception I mean different, not bad, just different. But I can think of many countries where those services are more regulated than in US and have not shown that price evolution.
With regards to the tech deflation, it is historically true, but its relationship with the way globalization has happened during the last 40 years is also a huge factor, I mean, the relevance of the main chinese export during this period is tremendous. The decoupling from China's growing labor cost will be an interesting issue to follow.