Interesting stuff

  1. Watch: How Young YouTube Millionaires Are Lying To You
  2. Watch: So, yes, delivery drones are an amazing idea (now working!)
  3. Listen: Whelp, there’s an American start up promising to geo-engineer the Earth, quickly and for profit. What could go wrong?
  4. Read: Venice’s MOSE (anti flood) barriers are working, even if they are 10+ years late and way over budget. The real question is how long they will be effective, since they are now needed far too often.
  5. Read: Nature bats last (vol #281): Tulare Lake returns to California’s Central Valley (and the Spring melt has not even begun!)
  6. Read: If It’s Advertised to You Online, You Probably Shouldn’t Buy It: “Products shown in targeted ads were, on average, roughly 10 percent more expensive than what users could find by searching online… and more than twice as likely to be sold by lower-quality vendors.”
  7. Read: Shell knew about climate change in the early 1970s but promoted the use of coal instead of trying to avoid disaster.
  8. Listen: Erik Hoel on the Threat to Humanity from AI (good insights!)
  9. Read: GPT will have all our data, but will it make any sense?
  10. Read: GPT can help people level up?

    Two MIT economics graduate students, Shakked Noy and Whitney Zhang, ran an experiment involving hundreds of college-educated professionals working in areas like marketing and HR; they asked half to use ChatGPT in their daily tasks and the others not to. ChatGPT raised overall productivity (not too surprisingly), but here’s the really interesting result: the AI tool helped the least skilled and accomplished workers the most, decreasing the performance gap between employees. In other words, the poor writers got much better; the good writers simply got a little faster. The preliminary findings suggest that ChatGPT and other generative AIs could, in the jargon of economists, “upskill” people who are having trouble finding work. There are lots of experienced workers “lying fallow” after being displaced from office and manufacturing jobs over the last few decades, Autor says. If generative AI can be used as a practical tool to broaden their expertise and provide them with the specialized skills required in areas such as health care or teaching, where there are plenty of jobs, it could revitalize our workforce. Determining which scenario wins out will require a more deliberate effort to think about how we want to exploit the technology. “I don’t think we should take it as the technology is loose on the world and we must adapt to it. Because it’s in the process of being created, it can be used and developed in a variety of ways,” says Autor. “It’s hard to overstate the importance of designing what it’s there for.”

    I’m not holding my breath on this potential upside.

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Author: David Zetland

I'm a political-economist from California who now lives in Amsterdam.

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