Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Crooked Timber of History — Peter Radford

So, the question my friends and I were asking ourselves is not a new one, but it is still pressing: is artificial intelligence, and its coterie of related digital instances, a general enough technology to do what the various industrial technologies did a couple of hundred years ago? Are we in the midst of a total reconstruction of society? If so, who is in charge of that reconstruction?

One of our frustrations is the glibness of economists who simply argue that in the long run the current dislocation will be justified by the gains in prosperity. They rely on history. Or, rather, a particular reading of history. They tell us that in the end the entire population will benefit from the bounty bestowed on us by the digitization of everything. Productivity and efficiency will rise beyond currently imaginable levels. The need for irksome labor will fall away. Factories will be hives of robots attended by a handful of highly paid technicians.

And if we ask about all the other workers who are no longer needed in the factories? Silence.
Do we learn from the past and not repeat its mistakes, or …..

The Radford Free Press
The Crooked Timber of History
Peter Radford

No comments: