An Unprincipled Analogy

This is my running analogy for AI as a general-purpose technology:

Screenshot_20190731_170732.jpg

If this analogy isn’t far off the mark, it gives a reference class for thinking about replacement rates.

Vaclav Smil’s calculations of replacement levels of animate “prime movers” (human labor, horses, oxen) were gradually replaced animate movers, increasing their share by a bit less than 10% a decade.

So, what’s the reason for expecting AI to replace human problem-solvers faster?

There’s a couple of pieces to the answer, all of which I plan to elaborate on in the future, but two major pieces are:

  • AI automation can potentially relieve bottlenecks on growth in human production:
    • Research and development
    • Design of hardware and software systems
    • Task decomposition
  • AI is going to operate at a much higher speed than humans.

Screenshot_20190731_165707.jpg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s