Real Insights about Artificial Intelligence

A little while back Frank Levy, an MIT economist whose work I’ve drawn on a lot, and Seth Teller and John Leonard of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) came to an important realization: MIT is home to both a set of people exploring the economic implications of cutting-edge technologies like AI, and many of the top AI researchers themselves. So shouldn’t these two groups come together, get acquainted, and start swapping ideas?

We did so over lunch last Thursday at CSAIL. Because we didn’t discuss blogging groundrules I’ll not disclose the attendees here, except to note that my Race Against the Machine coauthor Erik Brynjolfsson was there. The conversation flowed freely for an hour and a half, and none of us felt like we’d come anywhere close to exhausting the topic, so we’ll do it again.

I left with a full brain, the lingering sense that I was the dumbest guy in the room, and a few clear learnings and impressions. The latter include:

I’m a huge optimist about this process overall (although I’m deeply concerned about some of the labor force implications; hence Race Against…) and I very much look forward to future conversations with leading technologists to help me understand it better. Erik and I are headed to San Francisco and Silicon Valley at the end of the month to continue these conversations. I’ll be sure to report back from there…


7th May 12. Posted in Uncategorized.

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