In this EconTalk episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts talks with NYU’s Gary Marcus on how artificial intelligence may influence human flourishing and when such effects might become a real concern.

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Check Your Knowledge:

1. How does Marcus define artificial intelligence? Why is Google Translate, for example, not an example of artificial intelligence?

What are the problems with Big Data?
Going Deeper:

2. Of the eight (no, nine) problems with “Big Data,” according to Marcus and Ernest Davis, which do you find the most troubling, and why?

3. Toward the end of the conversation, Roberts asks Marcus about possible economic effects that may come as a result of advances in artificial intelligence. How does Marcus respond? What does he leave out? Are there effects beyond employment effects that could be cause for concern? Explain.

Extra Credit:

4. Marcus suggests that the “end game” of artificial intelligence should be a guaranteed basic minimum income. Why do you think he makes this argument, and to what extent do you agree? How do you think James Otteson would reply to Marcus’s claim? (You may recall we asked about this in last week’s Extra…)

5. Roberts suggests that as people spend more and more time in virtual worlds, we will see a cultural shift in what’s regarded as acceptable and praiseworthy. What sort of guidance do you think Roberts (and Adam Smith) would offer with regard to these shifting behavioral guidelines? In other words, how will we know what sorts of virtual activities (or time spent on them) will be “lovely”?