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How do we Start Thinking About AI and Development?

May 19, 2023
Spent a mind-bending day this week discussing AI and development with some NGO and legal folk (Chatham House Rule, so that’s all I can say, sorry). Everyone in the room knew at least ten times more than me on the subject. Perfect. Some impressions/ideas. The catalyst for the discussion was the UK Government’s new White Paper on AI and Innovation,
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ChatGPT: implications for teaching, how it analyses Brexit and the link to Psychoanalysis

April 27, 2023
ChatGPT. Discuss. Isn’t everyone? Right now, everyone seems to be playing with it, writing and/or worrying about it and with good reason. Some are already losing their jobs after publishing faked interviews. There are refuseniks – this is crowdsourced plagiarism and must be kept at bay. Students must not use it. Massive health warnings etc etc. That feels both King

The Rise of Social Protection, the art of Paradigm Maintenance, and a disagreement with the World Bank

November 8, 2018
Spent a mind-stretching day last week with a bunch of social protection experts from the LSE, IMF and assorted other bodies. Social Protection includes emergency relief, permanent mechanisms such as pensions and cash transfers, and ‘social insurance’ based on people’s personal contributions. LSE boss Minouche Shafik set the scene really well: ‘The failure of safety nets is partly responsible for

Book Review: Peter Frase, Four Futures: Life After Capitalism

October 2, 2018
I’ve never been a big fan of scenario planning. When I’ve done it in the past, it’s usually involved a bunch of former oil and gas planners asking a group of people to identify big trends (which often boil down to what they’ve read in the FT/Economist that week) and then processing them into a set of four plausible, but

The Rise of the Robot Reserve Army: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

July 2, 2018
Lukas Schlogl and Andy Sumner both of King’s College London are launching a new CGD paper today. To save you actually having to read it, they have helpfully picked out the headlines. The rise of a new global ‘robot reserve army’ will have profound effects on developing countries but will it mean people will be working hard or hardly working?

What does Artificial Intelligence mean for the future of poor countries?

September 22, 2017
What do the multiple overlapping new technologies currently breaking in tsunamis over the world’s economies and societies mean for the future of low and middle income countries (LMICs)? Last week I went along to a seminar (Chatham House Rule, so no names) on this topic, hoping for some interesting, preferably optimistic ideas and examples. I came away deeply, deeply worried.

Is this time really different? Will Automation kill off development?

December 21, 2016
Is this time really different? That’s the argument whenever people want to ignore the lessons of history (eg arguing that this particular financial bubble/commodity boom will never burst) and such claims usually merit a bucketload of scepticism. On the other hand (climate change, nuclear war) sometimes things really are different from everything that has gone before. Which brings us to