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Tuesday, 3 July 2018
Johns Hopkins University
My title is “Capitalism in the age of robots” and my aim is to consider the possible long-term impact of rapid technological progress – and in particular of work automation and artificial intelligence. And I will sometimes use the word “robots” as shorthand for any sort of machine – any combination of hardware and software – that can perform any sort of work, rather than specifically meaning something which looks like a human, with legs, arms and a smiley face.
I will argue that the rapid, unstoppable, and limitless progress of automation potential will have profound implications for the nature of and need for work, and for the distribution of income and wealth. But also profound implications for the very meaning of some concepts and measures which play a fundamental role in economic analysis – in particular productivity growth and GDP per capita. At the limit indeed, one can question whether the very concept of “an economy” or of “economics” – if defined as the study of production and consumption choices amid conditions of inherent scarcity – have any meaning in a world where, eventually, all human work activities can be automated.
Monday, 18 June 2018
The voice-activated gadget in the corner of your bedroom suddenly laughs maniacally, and sends a recording of your pillow talk to a colleague. The clip of Peppa Pig your toddler is watching on YouTube unexpectedly descends into bloodletting and death. The social network you use to keep in touch with old school friends turns out to be influencing elections and fomenting coups.
Something strange has happened to our way of thinking – and as a result, even stranger things are happening to the world. We have come to believe that everything is computable and can be resolved by the application of new technologies. But these technologies are not neutral facilitators: they embody our politics and biases, they extend beyond the boundaries of nations and legal jurisdictions and increasingly exceed the understanding of even their creators. As a result, we understand less and less about the world as these powerful technologies assume more control over our everyday lives.
Thursday, 14 June 2018
Bank of England
Andrew G Haldane, Chief Economist, Bank of England
The story of growth is a story with two “i”s – ideas and institutions. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will expand the range of ideas, perhaps more than any of its predecessors. It may also expand the range of workers who suffer its side-effects, perhaps more so than any of its predecessors. In the past, new institutions have emerged to cushion this painful transition, limiting the recessionary hit to societies. Historically, doing so appears to have held the key to sustainable growth.
Monday, 7 May 2018
Parents take note: the growth area in jobs is for knowledge workers.
There are few more important parts of the census than the questions that relate to work. And the reason is simple enough. For many Australians, quality of life is largely determined by the income-effort equation that comes with work. The more skilled a person is, the higher the income; the less skilled, the lower the income.
The boffins at the Australian Bureau of Statistics have classified all 1300 occupations that comprise the Australian workforce into five skill levels.
The highest requires years of technical and/or academic training and includes, for example, doctor and engineer. The lowest requires no formal training and includes, for example, cleaner and sales assistant.
Friday, 27 April 2018
Australia has experienced its longest period of economic growth in history during the last quarter century. Yet, there is growing debate about the benefits of this economic growth and their distribution, and the extent to which inequality is increasing in Australia.
These are important issues because significant inequality can weigh on future economic performance and undermine social cohesion.
CEDA’s report How unequal? Insights on inequality aims to examine:
In particular, the report looks at the impact of key factors such as education, employment and location on inequality.
It also examines intergenerational inequality and potential drivers of increased inequality in the future, from technology advances to changes to traditional employment through the emergence of, for example, the gig economy
Wednesday, 18 April 2018
Prepared by Terry Barnes
Policy consultant and media commentator
For three days in November 2017, people from around the world gathered in Melbourne for the latest in the Creative Innovation conference series, Ci2017.
Over 600 delegates and more than 40 speakers joined together at the Sofitel Melbourne On Collins. They came from business, government, academia, not-for-profit organisations, the media and the arts. Over 15 nationalities were represented, and all were treated to a challenge to the mind, to the senses and to the world in which we live.
The theme of Ci2017 was Human Intelligence 2.0: Thriving in the Age of Acceleration. And from the start it was clear to everyone that the future is accelerating at a startling rate.
Moore’s Law of computing says that computing power doubles every two years. In 1982, Buckminister Fuller outlined his knowledge doubling curve: until the 20th century, human knowledge doubled every century; by 1945 it doubled every 25 years; and by 1982 every 12 months. Now, IBM predicts that, because of the “Internet of Things”, human knowledge will double every 12 hours.