EconTalk host Russ Roberts shows a pessimistic side this week in his conversation with Pedro Domingos on machine learning. What promise does the future of machinae learning hold? What’s the difference between AI and machine learning? Will a Master Algorithm become possible when the best of these schools of machine learning are joined? And more interestingly, will you trust it?

These were just some of the issues touched on in this fascinating conversation, on which we’d like to hear your input as well. Consider some of the questions posed here, and share your response in the Comments. And/or try some of these thought experiments out on your friends…You just never know where a great conversation might take you…

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1. We’re somewhat accustomed to Russ’s optimism about all things technology, but this week was a little different. How would you characterize the nature of Russ’ skepticism about the potential for the emergence of a Master Algorithm? To what extent do you share his skepticism? 2. What would be the purpose of the creation of baby Robby the Robot? How would Robby purportedly teach us about how we learn, and how much potential do you think there is in this approach?

3. I’ve been saying for a long time that amazon knows me better than my husband. Anybody else feel that way? How comfortable are you with the notion of having a “digital avatar, ” as Domingos suggests? How might the problem of avatar ownership be solved? (That is, we likely all agree with Domingos that we wouldn’t want Google to own our avatar…)

4. Domingos is confident that not many jobs will be lost immediately due to machine learning. But he also admits it may be possible someday to live in a world where very few humans need to work. Do you agree with his view that in such a world a universal basic income would make sense? Why or why not?