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The AI Revolution: America Leads and More Good News 

Posted on Wednesday, June 26, 2024
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by Aaron Flanigan
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While much of the national focus in recent months has centered on the seismic economic, cultural, and international changes wrought by the calamitous policies of the Biden administration, there is yet another sweeping change that could alter the American economic and cultural landscapes for generations to come: the ascendancy of artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

In recent months, the business, finance, and political sectors both in America and abroad have been rocked by new AI capabilities. Less than five months out from the presidential election, there could be no better time to take stock of how the U.S. could shape AI development in the months, years, and generations ahead.

In a recent interview with AMAC Newsline, Casey Mulligan, a Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and the former chief economist for the Council of Economic Advisers in the Trump White House, offered some insights.

“The U.S. is clearly leading,” Mulligan said of the global AI development race. “Microsoft came out of nowhere. They used to be a big company a long time ago, and now this one activity has really brought them back. I think, despite the words from our government leaders, we have quite a competitive tech industry—and they’re really duking out against each other, and consumers get to enjoy some amazing products. I’m sure they have others on the way.”

Mulligan noted that healthcare stands as one industry that could particularly benefit from the rise of AI. “There’s such restricted supply in healthcare—it’s hard to get a doctor appointment,” he noted. “So, if a machine can provide a lot of the advice that a doctor can provide, doctors may be upset, but it can be good for patients.”

Meanwhile, Mulligan continued, industries like manufacturing—which has long been seen as an industry that could easily suffer from an AI-infused economy—may not be as vulnerable as many think.

“AI’s been around for a long time,” Mulligan explained, noting that previous iterations of AI technology such as machine learning, data analytics, and the development of autonomous machines will likely have more impact on manufacturing than “the language processing that has wowed people in the last two years.”

When asked about fears surrounding AI and job displacement, Mulligan indicated that such concerns may be overstated. “The main thing [new inventions like AI] do is increase real wages—they make things cheaper, they allow workers to be more productive. In the big picture, the innovation is not evenly distributed, and so the innovation can be typically concentrated in a particular industry. But even then, the innovation could increase employment in the industries—or can decrease it, it can go either way.”

Mulligan pointed to the classic John Steinbeck novel The Grapes of Wrath, set during the Great Depression, as a key example of how industrial changes can yield mixed results—in that case, in the realm of agriculture. The novel portrays the Great Depression era phenomenon of agricultural supply outweighing agricultural demand. That dynamic led to fewer farmers but a higher level of food production. “So, on the whole,” Mulligan said, “real wages were going up because part of what people buy with their wages is food, but The Grapes of Wrath story was about the Oklahoma farmers, and it wasn’t so good until they could find something else to do,” thereby causing them to move westward to California.

Mulligan also mentioned taxi dispatchers as an example of the mixed results emanating from technological innovation, pointing to the 2019 Economic Report of the President, which was published during Mulligan’s tenure in the White House.

“Consider the recent history of taxi dispatchers, who take calls from individuals desiring a ride and direct a driver to the pickup point,” the report states. “About a decade ago, companies discovered how to use a smartphone to perform the tasks of the dispatcher, and these companies famously distributed such an app to millions of smartphone users. The result was a dramatic increase in the number of people working in the transportation industry, broadly understood to include drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing platforms.”

Or as Mulligan said to AMAC Newsline, “If you look very narrowly at the number of people dispatching taxis, it’s gone way down [since the release of the app]. But if you look at the number of people working in taxi-like industries, it’s gone way up—way, way up. And the reason is that having somebody else drive you has gotten so much cheaper, that people do a lot more of it.”

Given the generally positive results driven by innovation in technology, Mulligan warned against the threats of regulatory overreach.

“AI may increase employment in some cases,” he said. “So, I think that’s confused—and sadly, I think the confusion is used to make regulations to be like so many other regulations and protect the profits of some particular incumbent company. It’s a way of influencing Washington. So, I’m hopeful we don’t have regulation, but if we do, these sorts of fears will be used to justify what regulations almost always do: keep the companies from having competition.”

The possibility of stymying competition and outsourcing innovation to nations overseas was most recently showcased when Argentinian President Javier Milei visited California to encourage companies to invest in Argentina for its growing tech sector and pro-business agenda—specifically under the threat of a tightening U.S. regulatory landscape. Milei has also expressed his desire to make Argentina “the world’s fourth AI hub.”

“Regardless of the sinister intentions of regulators here, they may be disciplined, really, by competition internationally from holding back too much the innovation that happens here,” Mulligan observed.

“The tradition [is] when there’s a fear, the incumbents leverage that fear to get regulation to favor themselves,” he continued. “Like the Jones Act came about when the Titanic went down. But it’s still around today, really to protect a very small group of workers and companies. But on the other hand, we do have the international threat. It’s one thing to say that cars have to be made in America, but it’s pretty hard to say that intellectual property has to be made in America, because it flows so easily.”

Of course, how exactly AI technology will advance in the years ahead is unknown. But one thing remains abundantly clear: the AI revolution is only just beginning—and America is on the leading edge, for now.

Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.

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Avoter
Avoter
17 days ago

Leading the charge to the implementation of our worst invention ever is not something to be touted as a good thing. AI will prove to be our downfall. The exit door on AI is closed and locked so there will be no escape.

PaulE
PaulE
17 days ago

This article is a big step up from the AI centric article AMAC ran yesterday, but Professor Mulligan in this article still doesn’t seem to quite grasp the fundamental scope of change, both economically and societally, a true general intelligence AI would be able to accomplish over the rather currently narrow and limited in scope ChapGPT.

Just look at how Amazon is piloting a complete revamping of their warehouse shipping centers with AI combined with several types of robots. Yes, humans will still be employed in those massive warehouse shipping centers around the country, but the few humans remaining in each facility will be highly skilled robotic or computer technicians there to keep the hundreds of fully automated and AI driven robots on-line and functional 24×7. The current human Amazon workers who today sort, pack and ship all the merchandise daily will be replaced by AI controlled robots. So, there will be both positive and negatives associated with the next generation of technology advancement that flows through our economy.

Workers today who do research lawyers and financial professionals will find a large percentage of the job turned over to newer, more advanced versions of ChatGPT in the future as the technology matures and increases in quality and accuracy. Current human workers in such positions today will be instead elevated to handling the crafting of the queries of what is being requested by their bosses into more explicit terms that the AI will then generate for them. So, in this case the human workers who remain will be much more valuable and better compensated over time.

Depending on the industry, AI will transform the workplace differently as the technology is rolled out over the next 5 to 10 years. Some jobs will vanish, while new jobs will be created to reflect the new economy as has been the case for the global workspace for decades upon decades. Some jobs like plumbers, electricians and others will remain virtually the same. As always people will adjust to the changing workplace as necessary or face the same alternative that exists today. How the individual handles the opportunities or challenges presented by technological advancement will determine how well they adapt to the future. That’s the same reality we have always had to deal with through the generations. Just stay positive and adapt as needed.

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
17 days ago

It is good that you wrote this article Aaron, I do believe that ethical standards should be in place first, before anymore major developments with this artificial intelligence technology takes place. About the Casey Mulligan opinion in connection with medical/ health care use of it – he stated that if a machine can provide a lot of the advice that a doctor can provide then that will be good for patients. I strongly disagree with that idea. And there should not be any need to explain why I find it not right — just a moment of thought about how the human brain operates and how any machine operates . The matter of ethical consideration, the matter of good character being part of the picture. The advice on healing needs to come from a human doctor .– not an electronic machine that has information that came from the experiences doctors have had in the practice of medicine.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
17 days ago

AI will make vegatables out of all the people. Kyle L.

John Bass
John Bass
17 days ago

I think it’s great we’re leading in AI, I would rather it be us than any of our adversaries. But as with an new technology, it will all depend on how it’s used. I can see where it could be used for nefarious reasons so there will need to some kind of check’s and balances put on the industry, and there lies the problem. Will it be the government, that ALWAYS screws things up or will it be in the industries hands to police themselves…I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

TRUMP 2024!

PapaYEC
PapaYEC
15 days ago

With the Democrats in charge? I can’t think of a worse scenario for humankind.

PapaYEC
PapaYEC
15 days ago

The web is full credentialed leftist propaganda, i.e, mis-, dis-, and mal-information. AI’s can’t discern the difference, and their hairbrained programmers tend to be leftist useful idiots. Garbage in, garbage out.

sue
sue
15 days ago

I want to speak to a HUMAN!!!!!!!

anna hubert
anna hubert
17 days ago

So why can’t we lead in the human intelligence Our children are almost illiterate yet we spend most money on that

Veteran
Veteran
17 days ago

If you have spent any time on an AI driven automated phone system carousel you know the customer “satisfaction” you received at the time; now tell me again how beneficial a medical healthcare consult with a millenial programmed, glorified woke toaster you think would be. As if the COVID “plandemic” born video consults, and quick Quack on line drive thru diagnosis by actual nurses, P.A.s, and “practicing” doctors weren’t bad enough! Prepare to live a pharmed life!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
17 days ago

AI Posotives:
Cure disease
eliminate Mundane dangerous jobs IE coal miner
Medical
Eng issues
Physics
Materials
Visual Arts
Preserve History

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