Is Economics a science? The experience of three economists who actually treated it as one would tend to indicate otherwise…
> Lift the minimum wage and employment still rises? How to anger the establishment and win a Nobel Prize. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-13/nobel-prize-in-economics-2021-david-card-minimum-wage/100531994
For a scientist, when data doesn't match theory you must question the theory. Whereas a believer in an article of faith will instead question the data.
Clearly, 20th century Economics is a religion, not a #science.
It took a pandemic to reveal how hollowing out businesses and consolidating industries in the name of short-term efficiency is a bad move in the long run. But it could have been anything introducing a supply shock or a change in consumer habits.
A healthy #economy is resilient and diverse. And those are the first two things abandoned in the quest for efficiency.
Since corporations cannot stop themselves from pursing efficiency we must not let them become so big they 'cannot fail'.
As a result of #COVID19 we are learning efficiency in manufacturing, shipping, and commerce results in fragile and easily destabilized systems.
Efficiency is overrated, but the lure of saving five cents each on ten million items is irresistible to corporations. It isn't just the money they save or the extra profits they earn, it's the short-term boost of their stock price making them drool with anticipation.
Update: Despite not wanting to do, I did.
Washing and folding, finished digging the potatoes, roasted enough coffee for weeks. (Maybe too much? I kinda love using my Boca Boca roaster tho.)
> Rock star Randy Bachman's treasured Gretsch guitar was stolen 45 years ago. An internet sleuth helped find it. https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/16/entertainment/bachman-guitar-found-trnd/index.html
The three things that popped into my mind reading this:
1. Randy Bachman is still alive! Who knew?
2. Randy Bachman is looking pretty good actually, like he lost a *lot* of weight
3. This is a cool story!
Means-testing is an insidious way of destroying the value of any social program and opening it up to criticism not otherwise applicable.
> The case against means testing. Programs that use it can impose inordinate burdens on the people they’re trying to help. https://www.vox.com/2021/10/15/22722418/means-testing-social-spending-reconciliation-bill
> The Absolute Simplest Explanation for America’s Supply Chain Woes. Snarled ports. Empty store shelves. Panicky Christmas shoppers. It all flows from one issue. https://slate.com/business/2021/10/supply-chain-shortages-retail-united-states-explained.html
Looking at this from a software-development perspective, it all seems incredibly obvious to me:
* Optimize for efficiency and you get a brittle, non-portable solution tied to a particular execution regime
* Optimize for resilience and portability and you lose efficiency
Cheap, fast, or correct. Pick two…
Workers: I don't want to work for low wages during a pandemic for shitty bosses with poor leadership skills to serve overly entitled customers who won't even do me the courtesy of wearing a fucking mask
Bosses: We don't want to pay our workers more or hire new people because our business model is based around skeleton crews full of minimum wage workers in order to be viable
Dozens of articles every day: What's behind the worker shortage? Is the social safety net too generous?
Politics, 2022, Trump
> Donald Trump is doing everything he can to hurt Republican chances in 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/14/politics/donald-trump-2022-mitch-mcconnell-kevin-mccarthy/index.html
> "If we don't solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in '22 or '24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do."
Related to earlier posts today, in 2016 a report predicted Moore's Law would be dead by 2021, because we wouldn't be able to fit any more transistors on a chip. https://www.techrepublic.com/article/moores-law-dead-in-2021-heres-what-the-next-revolution-will-mean/
It's 2021 and the boffins are waffling about the end of Moore's Law, because chips don't have to be two-dimensional. https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2021/2/250070-moores-law-what-comes-next/fulltext
And now I've come to the point in my little essay where I post a link for you to read, drop the mic, and walk away…
He also advanced three possible drivers of advanced AI technology arriving that quickly:
1. Moore's Law continues to operate, either because Quantum Computing becomes viable or we find other ways to boost CPU power
2. A breakthrough in AI science
3. An 'Artificial Intelligence Arms Race' between world superpowers.
According to Vinge any one of those factors could produce a Technological Singularity, but he was most concerned about the third.
Nearly 20 years ago I was at a party in #Seattle, sipping single-malt scotch with Vinge and talking about various Big Ideas and I asked him if his original timeline still stood, given 2005 was right around the corner.
He replied that 2005 or even 2010 was incredibly unlikely; but 2030 was right on track. (Although he did fudge and say it might occur as late as 2035. And added it might not occur at all, of course, since it was no more than speculation.)
You see, AI technology in 2021 isn't really creating 'intelligence' as we know it; most Machine Learning applications are operating at the level of insects. The best ML algorithms produce something more equivalent to reflexes than reasoning. A better acronym is 'AS' or 'Artificial Stupidity'.
So, should we stop worrying? Are Vinge's 'Superhuman Intelligences' impossible, or impossibly far away?
From Vinge's paper: "I'll be surprised if this event occurs before 2005 or after 2030."
'The Singularity' is now a cultural trope. And, aside from some speculation about robot uprisings by the likes of Elon Musk, society has mostly stopped seeing Machine Learning and #AI technology as clear and present dangers. This in a world with armed drones and other trappings of 'The Terminator' made real.
"Alexis, are you monitoring everything we do in this house?"
Yes, AI is everywhere now – but it doesn't actually seem all that 'intelligent'. There's a reason for that…
In 1993 Computer Scientist and #ScienceFiction writer Vernor Vinge published a short paper titled, "The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era." https://edoras.sdsu.edu/~vinge/misc/singularity.html
Since then 'The Singularity' has become everything from a joke to a pseudo-religion and others became famous by filing off the serial numbers and presenting Vinge's thesis as their own idea. At this point even low-information types have at least seen 'The Terminator' and 'The Matrix'.