January 10, 2014
Race Against Or With Intelligent Machines?

Currently reading (along with at least 50 other books): Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. They make the argument that productivity is rapidly increasing but that lots of workers aren't currently making the transition to new careers when automation destroys their jobs.

Their hope is that at some point the rising displacement of human workers by machines will reverse as more people find ways to work in ways complementary to the machine. If that can happen on a massive scale we'll enter a sort of golden age where a large fraction of us become much more productive as a result of working in close coordination and partnership with increasingly powerful computers. Count me skeptical. Why? Computers will get better than humans at a gradually lengthening list of cognitive abilities. I do not expect humans retain any advantage in the long run.

Ever heard of Moravec's Paradox? It summarizes the view of artificial intelligence researchers that it is easier to automate the tasks we do consciously (e.g. examine lots of combinations of ways to put together logic gates to design a computer chip or analyze lots of potential moves in a chess game) than to program a computer to do facial recognition and walking as well as humans. In other words, cognitive abilities that almost all humans possess from a very young age and which get done below the level of conscious reasoning are the hardest to automate.

But just become some tasks are harder doesn't mean they don't eventually get done well by computers. Look at facial recognition. Already you can unlock a tablet or cell phone with a picture of yourself. Also, computers will get better at tasks that require great manual dexterity.

In his book Average Is Over Tyler Cowen (who wrote after Race Against The Machine and was obviously influenced by it) describes how the best chess players are teams of one or two humans with chess playing software. This is an example of complementary strengths of human and computer intelligence resulting in higher performance. Brynjolfsson and McAfee also cite examples such as small sellers on eBay and Amazon who are able to carve new niches because of massively complex online stores and auctions. But the numbers of people who can find and have the skills to develop these niches seem much smaller than the numbers who are getting laid off from factory and middle management jobs.

I see a few possible futures in the relationship between humans and intelligent machines:

  • A happy ending for the masses where most people find ways to produce more value by working with powerful information systems.
  • A widening gap between the cognitive elite (who will still find ways to work synergistically with computers for decades to come) and the masses (who become as useless to the labor markets as horses have become on farms and roads).
  • An outcome where intelligent machines become first class citizens with property ownership and companies they control. The machines gradually end up owning more property and even the smartest humans suffer declining labor market value.

Which one of these will happen? Let me put it this way: I, for one, welcome our new AI overlords.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2014 January 10 08:02 PM 


Comments
Brett Bellmore said at January 12, 2014 5:22 AM:

My personal opinion is that, for the good of the human race, "AI" should be taken to mean, "Amplified Intelligence", and its goal should be to increase human intelligence, not duplicate it. We need "human in the loop" systems which just sit there, inert, unless there's somebody in the system someplace, approving of what's being done.

The goal should be an artificial brain lobe, ideally, with all the motivation remaining in our own skulls.

F. A. Hayek said at January 12, 2014 9:31 AM:

Randall,

In their new book "The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies" McAfee and Brynjolfsson argue in support of a basic income guarantee.

Based on your previous posts on this topic I believe you do not support such a policy, correct?

Thanks.

Abelard Lindsey said at January 12, 2014 10:02 AM:

Anybody who works in automation is well-aware of Moravec's Paradox. I think it is the reason why certain blue-collar jobs will prove to be more resistant to automation than many white-collar jobs, which are based purely around the manipulation and use of information. Machine vision and dexterity are the two characteristics that humans are still far better at than computers. I suspect the reason is the inherent massive parallelism of neurobiology compared to semiconductors. Randall, you are correct that computers will catch up to and surpass human capabilities in these areas. However, I think it will take several (2-3) decades for this progression to occur, a somewhat longer time-scale than most assume.

I think a basic income is fine as long as those on it do not have kids. Otherwise it is dysgenic.

Randall Parker said at January 12, 2014 10:36 AM:

F.A.,

I oppose a basic income guarantee or negative income tax. People (especially younger people) who do not need to work develop really bad attitudes and behaviors. I do not see how we can have a healthy civilization if people do not need to work. Freed from the need to work or study the worst of them will cause neighborhoods to decay and make babies who will be even worse in each successive generation.

Abelard,

Vision and dexterity: Certainly outside a factory automation is more difficult. But inside a factory products can be redesigned to reduce the computational load on the computers and robots that fit things together. Inside a factory computers do not have to pull equal to humans in vision and dexterity to replace humans. Granted, they've got to get a lot better. But not equal.

In farm fields for vegetable crops I do not think robots need to equal humans either. They can leave a few heads of lettuce behind. For picking fruits in trees the requirements are tougher.

Where humans can survive longer: home repair, sewer repair, anywhere that is complicated that can't be rearranged.

I expect we will have robotic delivery vehicles in 20 years. You might need to go out and take something out of them to carry into your home. But that beats a trip to a grocery store. Most grocery stores will get replaced with food warehouses designed for robots to pack bags and boxes of food for delivery.

Then there are fast food places. Order taking is easy to automate. For large fast food stores something like burger making can be automated and one company claims to have done so. But certainly in 10 years this will happen.

F. A. Hayek said at January 12, 2014 2:33 PM:

Randall,

Thank you for the reply.

"People (especially younger people) who do not need to work develop really bad attitudes and behaviors."


Based on the above statement do you believe this is why the children of the wealthy develop really bad attitudes and behaviors?

refuguist said at January 12, 2014 3:42 PM:

Mr. Parker,

Your optimism about progress in automation seems well justified at the present time. But Moore's Law appears to be coming to an end in the near future. Steve Hsu recently said that, partly for this reason, he thinks any silicon singularity is still a long way off. Transportation speed increased continuously and dramatically from circa 1800-1960 and then hit a wall. Silicon chips could do the same. I wonder if we will not reach 'peak automation' in the 2020s, after which it will turn out that there are large classes of jobs computers still aren't very good at. I am curious what you and Abelard think about this prospect.

There may be a set of advantages and disadvantages innate to computers and biology that make some tasks very easy for one and yet very difficult for the other. Primitive computers can multiply long numbers more efficiently than a human savant. Perhaps even very primitive brains, like those of small insects, will always perform some tasks better than very advanced computers. (The important question for long term planning is, exactly which ones?) If true, this would suggest a version of the 'happy ending' where computers and brains work together, sometimes in the same skull. We've been using writing as an aid for millennia. Adding a memory chip to the brain isn't really much different.

Abelard Lindsey said at January 12, 2014 4:43 PM:

Randall,

I don't disagree with your prognosis on automation. Dexterity jobs such as home repair work or plumbing will not be automated in the foreseeable future. Most factory and farm work (I agree with you on this) will. What this means is that we will see a very slow decline in the demand for skill trades people but a much faster decline in employment for nearly most other occupations (both blue collar and white collar jobs). Some skilled trades jobs will never go away. I think the transformation of white collar work will be more dramatic. Indeed, it already is. We still need home repair and plumbers, we don't need travel agents any more.

About Moore's Law: The current consensus is that conventional silicon process technology (deposition, litho, etch) will reach its limits at either the 10nm or 7nm level, probably around 2020. They might get to 5nm, but this is not certain. Making chips 3-D will help to push things out another decade. But that will be the end. The next technology will be direct fabrication of molecular-level devices, often call molecular electronics. There is a lot of moeny going into this R&D. If successful, this will lead to a discontinuous jump down to the molecular level, probably around 2030, representing the final advance in this technology. This will probably be around 2030 and will lead to computation technology about 1,000 times better than what we have today. But it will be the final limit. However, there is a lot of improvement in computer architecture that will lead to robotics and automation system with the same (or better) vision and dexterity as humans even within the foreseeable limits of Moore's Law.

Mthson said at January 12, 2014 7:20 PM:

One way to get around Moravec's paradox: assemble a 3d printer over an entire home construction site (link).

Randall Parker said at January 12, 2014 8:25 PM:

F. A.,

I'm not clear on the average behavior of the sons and daughters of billionaires. It is not like we have huge numbers to sample and the ones that are bad get an outsized amount of press attention per person. How many of the kids of billionaires work? Dunno. Some billionaires probably give their kids very little unless they work. By contrast, the lower class of "Fishtown" do not draw much attention as they really badly mess up. However, I expect the children of the upper class to be smarter on average and therefore more adaptive and functional than lower class people who also do not work.

refuguist,

I've read the claim that cost per gate is going to go up at smaller design rules and the economics of chip making will the drop in the cost of computer power. I'm curious what Abelard thinks about that.

Abelard,

I think home construction automation will advance a lot more than home repair. So employment in the construction industry will drop unless the upper classes goes for much larger homes.

End of Moore's Law: as early as 2020 or 2022 or 2028.

But the rate of advance has already slowed quite a bit. An AMD guy brings up cost of transistors and I've come across claims that the cost per transistor will stop dropping years before hitting the limit at 7nm or 5nm. Certainly the rise in cost of wafer fabs has hugely reduced the field of competitors.

The switch to increasing core count rather than faster clock speed results in computers that are hard to use effectively for many purposes. I feel I should think more about algorithms that parallelize well and start watching for problems that will lend themselves to effective use of high core counts.

Randall Parker said at January 12, 2014 8:35 PM:

Mthson, The link does not work.

But I do not think that automating home construction will take decades. Greenfield development is easier to automate than repair because you can have total control over where everything will be at each step and you can choose materials and designs that are easier for robots to work with.

Mthson said at January 12, 2014 10:08 PM:

The link is working now. It seems their site had a temporary error.

Fast Company: This Man Thinks He Can 3-D Print An Entire House


"Build a 2,500-square-foot home in 20 hours."


F. A. Hayek said at January 13, 2014 9:08 AM:

Randall,

If I follow your logic its not the lack of a necessity to work that results in "really bad attitudes and behaviors", but how smart a child is. Thus you "expect the children of the upper class to be smarter on average and therefore more adaptive and functional than lower class people who also do not work.". Am I following you correctly? If how smart someone is determines how adaptive and functional they are how would one go about making the important decision of being born smarter?

Milton said at January 13, 2014 9:23 AM:

Randall,

Have you read James Bowery's writings on his "citizen's dividend" basic income proposal? What are your thoughts on it? It seems very sensible.

Here is a blog post with some discussion by Bowery on it:

http://blode0322.blogspot.com/2012/02/bowery-on-bowery-tax.html

refuguist said at January 13, 2014 11:26 AM:

What I am gathering from the dates that Randall and Abelard are proposing is that there will be a gap of several decades between the time machines become capable of doing the large majority of current jobs and the time when it will become possible to upgrade human biology. A lot of trouble can happen in that gap.

Guys, there is already a basic income in most American cities, though it's misleadingly labelled 'disability.' It helps to make the city centres vibrant and safe and even provides some initial cash if you need to buy baseball bats for a community youth event, or start a small business in the pharmaceutical industry.

There's no sense in letting the people who can't compete with machines starve, but you shouldn't kid yourself that a basic income will create a society you'd want to live in.

F. A. Hayek said at January 13, 2014 7:54 PM:

Refuguist,

If you think a basic income isn't enough then what do think needs to happen if technological unemployment becomes commonplace?

Milton,

I read the link. Still don't understand it. What is the source of the basic income? Taxes?

Randall Parker said at January 13, 2014 8:26 PM:

F.A.,

My grandmother used to say "idle hands are the devil's workshop". I agree with her.

At the same time, dumber idle hands are more dangerous than smarter idle hands and dumber people are more likely to be idle in the first place. Higher IQ is negatively associated with crime, unemployment, welfare recipient status and other things I'd rather have less of.

People with lower IQ used to have higher relative status because so much work required more muscle and coordination than complex higher brain function. That was especially the case in the first 70 or so years of the 20th century. Cognitive demands on factory workers were probably much lower than cognitive demands of the farm life they left behind.

refuguist,

We could start raising offspring intelligence right now with preimplantation genetic testing of embryos for already known common genetic markers associated with higher IQ. Of course that does not help those already born. Also, I do not expect embryo selection for intelligence to take off as soon as it could. Maybe a 10 year lag time. Say 2024. Possibly sooner in some jurisdictions.

As for Moore's Law coming to an end: Just getting computer chips to 7 nanometers will provide enough computing power to automate most of the jobs now in existence and to make a substantial fraction of the populace have little labor market value. Keep in mind that at a given level of power per chip we can still do lots of optimizations. If computers stopped becoming more powerful tomorrow I'd spend more time optimizing code and could make many things 10 times faster. Algorithmic advances and also computer architectures designed for specific problem domains can add orders of magnitude more effective computing power.

Don't get me wrong: the end of Moore's Law is going to slow economic growth. But we have lots of ways to automate jobs that could be done with today's computer power that just haven't been done yet. I was in a restaurant the other day that still had human order takers. I thought "how quaint" (and also "how slow" since we had to wait for the waiter to show up). No need for that today.

Disability benefits as guaranteed income: The scheme depends on the corruption of the individual. The more corrupt the more likely the person will succeed in getting disability even when not disabled.

refuguist said at January 14, 2014 11:44 AM:

Hayek,

I don't have a solution or a political opinion. I'm not even for or against basic income, I just don't think it's likely to be pretty if it happens. Of course it's better than starving, but until the basic income is well beyond 'basic' I think it will just result in expanded ghettos. Places you would work hard to leave or avoid. So my main concern is making sure that I personally don't have to be on basic income.

The problem is that I foresee two waves of technological unemployment: first the silicon one that Mr. Parker is describing, and then a biological one. If SENS comes through and we are still alive in 2050, we will all be dumber than the first generation born with strong genetic engineering (by strong I mean direct editing, not incremental embryo selection) even if we are still smarter than the machines. It is, I assume, much harder to upgrade a prebuilt brain than to build a better one from scratch, and so our value on the labor market will still be decimated.

It appears that the best we can do is try to hang on until the 'basic income' plus our accumulated capital is high enough to allow us to create our own future. A lot depends on the exact timeline of these technologies. I am only speculating. I am not very knowledgeable about these things, so I look to Randall and Abelard for ideas.

F. A. Hayek said at January 15, 2014 7:19 PM:

refuguist,

It doesn't make sense to me that one would expect radical advances in technologies including AI, robotics, biotech, nanotech, etc. in the coming decades, but expect our economic and social systems to remains essentially as they are today. Much science fiction, esp. that of TV and film has this flaw. For example, with Star Trek I am to believe that humans have advanced to the point of interstellar travel(something that current physicists think would be extremely difficult to do) and we yet our understanding of human biology remains about what it is today, so that people age and die on today's time scale. Not likely.

Randall,

I suspect you and your grandmother don't think very highly of people like Socrates and Einstein whose hands were idle most of their lives allowing for a great number of hours pondering reality. In terms of IQ and anti-social behavior the association is not very strong and of course correlation doesn't mean causation. If such a relationship does exist I fail to see how one can be held personally responsible for something they had no choice in. If one utilizes Rawl's veil of ignorance then a just society would arguably be one that supports those who lost the genetic lottery. No? I have to admit I am right-libertarian and thus my beliefs are guided by such a philosophy.

Randall Parker said at January 15, 2014 9:05 PM:

Milton,

Jim's proposal is a great way to drive capital abroad along with high paid workers. Just the sort of move needed to drive a critical mass of computer software companies to another country. That would open up opportunities for people who want to bug out before things go seriously bad in the USA.

I see practical problems in pricing assets. It is far harder than it looks. Even a so-called risk free return is hard to choose and the bias of government will be to set it as low as possible to make more money.

F.A.,

Bowery wants a property tax on all property. I'm guessing for redistribution. He seems to have a very negative view of rent collectors.

Randall Parker said at January 15, 2014 9:13 PM:

F.A.,

Rawls' veil of ignorance seems like an attempt to cause people to make lousier decisions.

Being held personally responsible? By who? What I experience is being forced to be responsible for people whose genetic endowment I did not choose and whose parents' decision have kids was totally not something I was allowed any decision in. Why should I be held responsible for them with a government gun pointing at me to make sure I take on this responsibility?

I suspect my grandmother was smart enough to realize that people (at least very smart people) can work by thinking.

There is a very large innate component to criminality. Ditto assorted other behaviors that make life worse for the rest of us.

Milton said at January 16, 2014 12:14 PM:

Randall,

Why would capital and high paid workers flee? Bowery's proposal would remove taxes on income, capital gains, etc.

Assets in his proposal would be priced by the market. The risk-free rate is not hard to choose. People do it all the time. And if the government is setting it as you suggest, obviously it's not hard to choose. Furthermore, why would the bias of the government be to set it as low as possible? That would not mean the government would make more money. It would lower its tax revenue.

ASPIRANT said at January 16, 2014 12:49 PM:

Randall Parker
>I oppose a basic income guarantee or negative income tax. People (especially younger people) who do not need to work develop really bad attitudes and behaviors.
I would disagree with this. I know a lot of people who never had to work until they got their first job straight out of college. Their parents were well-off, and paid all of their expenses, and they never stumbled once.

Those bad habits and behaviors seem genetic. I know I'm working hard every day to overcome the ones I got from my parents.

Welfare is not wasted on on diligent temperaments.

(this post was written during a class)

ASPIRANT said at January 16, 2014 12:52 PM:

refuguist:
What makes brains better for certain tasks is a question of architecture, not a limitation in technology. Nobody has any reason right now to build a chip that behaves like a neural network. I don't believe for a second this is impossible, and given proper economic incentives someone WILL develop one.

AB said at January 18, 2014 9:50 AM:

Speaking of the basic income or citizen's dividend idea, Paul Ryan seems to be proposing a fake version of it called "Universal Credit", which doesn't appear to be universal:

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/01/17/Paul-Ryan-s-New-Idea-Really-Smart-Will-It-Fly

" Rep. Paul Ryan appeared at the Brookings Institution this week to talk about poverty.

The Wisconsin Republican and 2012 vice-presidential nominee discussed how the poor could be “reintegrated” into society, and as part of his speech, he proposed that the United States consider adopting a “Universal Credit” scheme that would both streamline the various social safety net payments and tax credits the poor receive and, rather than cutting off abruptly when recipients cross a certain income threshold, would taper off as income rises, thereby reducing the disincentive to finding work .

To be clear, Ryan has not suddenly changed his mind about the need to cut entitlement costs. He firmly believes that the U.S. is spending itself into economic oblivion and that the main drivers of the problem are our healthcare and entitlement programs. What’s happening here is that Ryan, having taken a couple of runs at entitlement reform, with no success, is changing his approach.

Ryan cited work done by economist Gene Steuerle, who has pointed out that current policies that abruptly strip recipients of their government benefits when they find work or reach a certain level of income, have the same effect as drastically raising their marginal tax rates and create disincentives to work.

“According to Steuerle’s calculations, if she’s enrolled in programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and SCHIP, her implicit marginal tax rate will be as high as 55 percent,” Ryan said. “And if she’s enrolled in other programs—like housing assistance and welfare—the rate will reach above 80 percent. In other words, go to work, and you’ll keep less than 20 cents of every extra dollar you earn.” "

Mark Bahner said at January 19, 2014 9:08 PM:

"How many of the kids of billionaires work?"

I don't want to drop names, but I know some kids of a billionaire. They're sharp as tacks, and work hard. My understanding from reading and watching TV is that the Walton kids and the Buffett kids work hard, too. I don't think that not having to work is going to be a tremendous social problem.

F. A. Hayek said at January 22, 2014 1:18 PM:

Mark Bahner,

I believe that Randall doesn't think that the children of billionaires are going to be the problem, its all the children of the poor that will be.

To keep it simple:

Poor = Low Intelligence = Really Bad Attitudes & Behaviors
Wealthy = High Intelligence = Really Good Attitudes & Behaviors


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owI7DOeO_yg

Randall Parker said at January 22, 2014 7:52 PM:

F.A.,

There aren't that many kids of billionaires in any case. Hundreds? Thousands? There are tens of millions of poor in the United States alone.

Are you surprised by Mark's experience with children of billionaires?

Mark Bahner,

I'm not surprised by your experience with kids of billionaires.

Murray Rothbard said at January 25, 2014 11:47 AM:

Randall,

You are correct that their are very few people who are the children of billionaires. As such, reading and watching TV does not mean one knows a public figure very well, its called a public imagine. I have known a few people directly that were children of those with a net worth in the hundreds of millions and in their case they are basically living off their families wealth and haven't contributed much of anything. I'll play though, lets say that they are the exception and the vast majority of rich kids are as Mark says they are, smart and hardworking. First, one can be smart and hardworking and be morally bankrupt, i.e. Hilter and the mounting evidence that wealth has a negative relationship with empathy for most people. Second, am I really to believe that if you swapped the children at birth of the rich and the poor that the children born to poor parents, but raised in the environment of a wealthy child wouldn't grow up to be sharp as tacks and hard working? Conversely, how do you expect a child born to wealthy parents, but "raised" in a poor child's typical environment to turn out? Little or poor nutrition, unsafe living environment, no or poor education, exposure to powerful toxins, etc., etc. these the typical conditions of the world's global poor children. Conversely, what are the environments that wealthy children grow up in? It doesn't have a major impact on how sharp and hard they work?

Randall Parker said at January 25, 2014 7:15 PM:

Murray/F.A./Ludwig Von Mises/Robert Nozick,

Lots of adoption studies by psychometricians have been done. Genes totally trump environment in determining IQ.

You can speculate all you want. But there is a large body if applicable social science research. Start with the books by Judith Rich Harris if you want to move beyond armchair speculation.

Global poor: You are moving the goal posts. We have lots of poor, relatively speaking, in the United States who have been sufficiently well nourished to get close to their genetic potential. We know how they do. They do no do well.

See the 3 links I have here as well.

Ludwig von Mises said at January 26, 2014 12:08 PM:

Randall,

Simply put the empirical evidence does not support your argument. I'd be more than happy share with you the numerous well designed studies on this subject. To start please reference the work of Turkheimer et al. This addresses the genes vs. environment in determining IQ questions. If you would like I could also address the relationship between IQ and socioeconomic status.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21169524
At age 2 years, genes accounted for nearly 50% of the variation in mental ability of children raised in high-SES homes, but genes continued to account for negligible variation in mental ability of children raised in low-SES homes.

Finally,

Please don't lump Nozick in with me. Have you read The Examined Life?

"According to Stephen Metcalf, Nozick expresses serious misgivings about capitalist libertarianism, going so far as to reject much of the foundations of the theory on the grounds that personal freedom can sometimes only be fully actualized via a collectivist politics and that wealth is at times justly redistributed via taxation to protect the freedom of the many from the potential tyranny of an overly selfish and powerful few. Nozick suggests that citizens opposed to wealth redistribution that funds programs they object to should be able to opt out by supporting alternative government approved charities with an added 5% surcharge."

Keynesians for Mandatory Preschool said at January 26, 2014 4:10 PM:

"At age 2 years..."

I have a great idea: if we publicize a big study on the low heritability at age 2, everyone will forget about the high heritability at age 18. They'll even overlook the incredibly high heritability at age 30. This will give us an excuse to make preschool mandatory, which will allow us to hire more teachers and expand academia--creating massive stimulus! As a bonus, our minions will gain an ever tighter hold over the credentialing process, until it becomes nearly impossible to displace us from power. What do you say, Dr. Turkheimer, are you in?

John Locke said at January 26, 2014 4:50 PM:

Keynesians for Mandatory Preschool,

I appreciate your input into the conversation, but I have to respectfully disagree. Our current education system is not preparing students for success and your ideas would lead to even greater calcification. I advise you read The Second Machine Age(http://www.amazon.com/The-Second-Machine-Age-Technologies/dp/1480577456). It is well referenced and addresses important topics including education and income inequality.

John Locke said at January 26, 2014 4:51 PM:

Keynesians for Mandatory Preschool,

I appreciate your input into the conversation, but I have to respectfully disagree. Our current education system is not preparing students for success and your ideas would lead to even greater calcification. I advise you read The Second Machine Age(http://www.amazon.com/The-Second-Machine-Age-Technologies/dp/1480577456). It is well referenced and addresses important topics including education and income inequality.

Randall Parker said at January 26, 2014 5:48 PM:

Ludwig/Locke,

As "Keynesians" points out, heritability rises greatly with age. The 2 year old brain is still heavily underdeveloped and lots of neurogenesis triggered at later stages of development as well as pruning of neurons happens between 2 years old and adulthood. Psychometricians do not see psychometric measurement of 2 year old brains as predictive. I say this as someone who has read and questioned psychometricians. I'm familiar with their findings and views.

Early childhood education was first tried in the 1960s. These programs have been tried again and again (hope springs eternal) with small long term impact. Adoption and twins studies show much larger effects from genetics. Read Judith Rich Harris for starters if you want a more realistic take on the limited impact of parents beyond their genes.

Nozick: Yes, I'm aware he changed his views a lot as he got older.

Brynjolfsson and McAfee: I found the policy prescriptions from their first book to be naive. I've got the second one. Haven't gotten very far into it yet.

Thomas Paine said at January 27, 2014 7:27 AM:

Randall,

Brynjolfsson and McAfee's second book is really just an expansion of their first ebook. They advocate policies that you don't support including higher taxes on the wealthy, a basic income, universal pre-K and longer school days for poor children. Unfortunately nothing in there about how to make everyone above average in terms of IQ. With the Flynn effect, how long until those at the bottom have a high enough IQ to not be problematic?

Randall Parker said at January 27, 2014 8:24 PM:

Thomas Paine,

The pre-K teaching is already done for lots of kids and ditto longer school days. Not working. Those guys advocate the current conventional wisdom of people who want to ignore decades of research and believe environmental engineering by government can trump all else.

Flynn Effect: It does not measure a real gain in intelligence. It measure the learning of techniques for figuring some certain kinds of test questions. To put it another way: it is not measuring a rise in fluid intelligence.

Thomas Paine said at January 28, 2014 12:47 PM:

Randall,

Thank you for the reply on IQ testing methods. Not sure if you missed it in my previous email, but I inquired as to how much you believe the IQs of those with the lowest IQs need to increase for them to be no longer problematic in terms of their behavior?

Protagoras said at January 30, 2014 2:20 PM:

Randall,

Considering the promptness of your previous replies I am concluding you are declining to answer my inquiry. I'd like to note that even if I do find your positions to not be substantiated by current evidence I do find your contrarian views interesting.

Randall Parker said at January 31, 2014 9:41 PM:

Protagoras,

I do not read blog comments every day.

Problematic behavior and low IQs: How much social pathology do you want to have? I've pointed you to a succinct summary of several behaviors as a function of IQ. Did you click thru?

Current evidence: read the psychometricians. They've written books. I could provide more links.

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