Artificial intelligence, robots and the future of work, Part 1 (CBC Ideas)

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“AI and robots seem to be everywhere, handling more and more work, freeing humans up—to do what? Contributor Jill Eisen takes a wide-angle lens to the digital revolution happening in our working lives. She starts in the nineteenth century, when the Industrial Revolution saw the triumph of machine power over muscle power. Now artificial intelligence is on the verge of replacing our own intelligence. It took decades to adjust to machines out-performing human and animal labour. What will happen when robots and algorithms surpass what our brains can do? Some say digital sweatshops—repetitive, dull, poorly paid and insecure jobs—are our destiny. Others believe that technology could lead to more fulfilling lives.”  This episode is Part 1 of the series.

Noah Smith on Mirowski on Noah Smith on Mirowski on……..and related thoughts

Rishabh Kumar providing clarity and correcting Noah Smith on Philip Mirowski on Noah Smith on Philip Mirowski…

Rishabh Kumar's homepage

I just came across Noah Smith’s post on Mirowski’s social physics thesis (this is the second I believe) where Smith tries to address concerns raised by Mirowski on the ‘casual nature’ of the blog-writer’s understanding of physics envy.

To start with, I quote Noah Smith – “…For more specifics on exactly how ideas crossed from physics to econ, and on which of those ideas remain to this day, one should probably check out Mirowski’s book(though I hope it’s written in a different tone than this interview) …”

The last sentence in bold tells me that Noah Smith has not really read Philip Mirowski, till date, and so probably does not really do justice to one of the best historians of economics in the profession today. I suggest Mr Smith, who often brings out important issues about the discipline with great clarity, take the time to read…

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The Education of an Economist

WEA Pedagogy Blog

threebooksIn our PhD Economics program at Stanford, we learnt nothing about the history of major economic events of the twentieth century. Instead, we were taught the rather arcane and difficult skill of building models. In order to analyse what would happen in an economy, we learnt that you have to construct an artificial economy, populated by rational robots called homo economicus, who behave according to strict mathematical laws. At no point in our studies were we asked to match what happens in our models with any events in the real world; it was assumed that the two always matched. This process of economic modelling permits us to provide exact mathematical answers to a vast range of questions one might ask about the economy. This is undoubtedly a powerful technique, which has earned economics the name “Queen of the Social Sciences”. Our poor cousins in political science, psychology, sociology, geography, and…

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Composition (HUM425)

analepsis

This photo of Joe McCarthy doppleganger Ted Cruz, among a series that were published then withdrawn by AP after complaints by several pundits, demonstrates emphatically that composition, the relationship between elements within the visual field, can signify powerfully. The photo was taken while Cruz, who wants to be your president, spoke at a “Celebrate the 2nd Amendment Shooting Range” in Johnston, Iowa on June 20.

credit: Charlie Niebergall credit: Charlie Niebergall

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Using ‘complexity thinking’ to manage an increasingly complex world – by Paul Cairney, Robert Geyer and Nicola Mathie

ElgarBlog from Edward Elgar Publishing

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Complex policy-making systems are ‘greater than the sum of their parts’.  To understand them we must examine not only the individuals involved but also the ways in which they interact with each other, to share information and combine to produce ‘systemic behaviour’.  Professor Paul Cairney,Professor Robert Geyer and Nicola Mathie consider what is involved in using ‘complexity thinking’ to inform policy decisions.

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Economics and the value of art

More than a “Veblen good” the recent record auction price for Picasso’s “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” signals that the extraordinarily wealthy have nothing better to do with all of the surplus value that they have captured.

occasional links & commentary

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Neoclassical economists don’t have a lot to say about the value of art. Basically, they start from the proposition that a work of art, such as Picasso’s “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’),” is often considered to have two different values: an aesthetic or cultural value (its cultural worth or significance) and a price or exchange-value (the amount of money a work of art fetches on the market). They then demonstrate that, within free markets, individual choices ensure that the price of art generally captures or represents all of the various dimensions of value attributable to the work of art, rendering the need for a separate concept of aesthetic or cultural value redundant. Therefore, on their view, Picasso’s painting is “worth” the record auction price of $179.37 million.*

But the Wall Street Journal (gated) observes that yesterday’s sale of other paintings—including Mark Rothko’s “Untitled (Yellow and Blue)”—reveals something else:

Some paintings act like object lessons in tracking the global…

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The new BIS ‘Handbook on security statistics’. A reason to celebrate.

Real-World Economics Review Blog

The BIS (Bank for International Settlements) has, together with the IMF and the ECB, published a new handbook on how to estimate debt. A reason to celebrate. Mainly, of course, as the handbook enables more consistent and better measurement of debt-securities (mortgages, bonds and the like). But also as this handbook shows how much economic statistics are consistent with the ideas and concepts of institutional and Post-Keynesian statistics. And how inconsistent with mainstream economics. About the first fact we can cite the website blurb (which does not mention the phrase ‘The Great North Atlantic post 2008 debt crisis’ but we all know what this is about):

The importance of securities markets in intermediating financial flows, both domestically and internationally, underscores the need for relevant, coherent and internationally comparable statistics. This need was recognised by the G20 Data Gaps Initiative

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Dollarama Inc hikes dividend by 12.5% as profit rises almost 30%

Business is booming at the low end of the social ladder.

Financial Post

MONTREAL — Dollarama Inc. says its fourth-quarter profit rose about 21 per cent to $100.3 million — above analyst estimates.

It also announced a hike to its quarterly dividend, which will rise by 12.5 per cent to nine cents per share, starting on May 7.

Dollarama’s profit amounted to 76 cents per share, up from 59 cents per share or $83 million in last year’s fourth quarter.

Analysts had estimated 71 cents per share of adjusted earnings and 75 cents per share on a fully reported basis.

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Sales for the Montreal-based company rose to $669 million for the quarter ended Feb. 1, up 14.9% from a year earlier, while sales for comparable locations were up 8.5 per cent.

The company says comparable-store growth was driven by a 3.6% increase in the number of transactions and a 4.7% increase in the average transaction value.

A year earlier, Dollarama’s sales…

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