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Power and Progress by Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson
A research review of Power and Progress by Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson.
What it’s about: A challenge to the dominant paradigm about technology and prosperity: technology doesn’t guarantee prosperity, whether technology helps or harms people is a choice. Centered on productivity as the key economic metric, the authors lay out the logic for redirecting technology.
Why It Matters: Technology mostly benefits the elites, today, the AI elites. The narrative of an automated future based on humans being too flawed and fallible to make decisions is simply that: a story. If we want AI to work for humans we need to challenge this narrative, stop designing machines to be more “intelligent” than humans and design for machines to be useful and complimentary to humans.
Highlight: So-so automation traps humans in a recursive loop, making it impossible to break out, innovate, and discover. A self-reinforcing loop of sub-optimal performance and zero-sum task completion.
Read It If: You want to understand the history of technology disruption and recontextualize how to think about human productivity in the age of AI.