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The panoramic view from joining economics, science and history
Incidentally the one skill that comes naturally to humans (pun not intended), and that we have not yet managed to equip artificial intelligence with.
Something a little different this time.
One of the early posts on this newsletter addressed varying conceptions of the word ‘Liberalism’ in response to the post-pandemic buzz around terms like ‘reshoring’ and ‘friendshoring’ in international relations and policy circles. It remains the most read post here.
Here is another take that approaches the question via history and science.
It features plenty of elite global media too, so is not entirely out of place here at Scotoma.
Most of the content to follow on the youtube channel will not be as opinionated as Scotoma, which is designed as critique of elite media. But since this first one is near the end, I thought I’d add leads to the giants on whose shoulders I crouch.
Only Google wasn’t sure if new channels in India should be allowed to link to potentially unsafe websites like… ah-hem, the Financial Times. 🤨🤔😉
We couldn’t have that. So as a bonus for Scotoma subscribers, here they are again:
Branco Milanovic, superstar economist
Raghuram Rajan, celebrated ex-central banker and professor
Brad DeLong, eminent economic historian
Rana Foroohar, the finance journalist to watch
Briefly, the premise behind the youtube channel:
Within an year or two, white-collar jobs across several industries will have AI coworkers. Preparing for them is easy - practice with whatever models you can access. But 5 years down the line, high-income jobs will have mixed human and AI teams reporting to them. To qualify for these positions, an applicant will need to be somehow better than the hybrid cyborg-ish team.
What will distinguish those who remain in a position where AI is their coworker from positions where AI is part of the team that they supervise? The human coworkers will be people who can of course do some tasks better than AI, but far slower. Other tasks AI would be able to do better than all humans. That leaves a tiny niche open for human bosses.
What AI will not achieve for decades is the one skill that comes naturally to humans - connections and analogy by pattern matching.
Analogies are second-nature to human brains. But the nineteenth century global economy shaped universities to train students away from that skill towards ever-narrower specialization. Now AI, having acquired language, is rapidly upskilling in narrow specialized fields as I wrote in Presbyopia in March.
All you need is a little practice, hearing some examples sketched out and narrated. On youtube, ‘ecohisci’ hopes to be the venue for such stories.