Our tech advances are difficult for productivity stats to compute

One of the most depressing aspects of the decade of the 2010s, well before Covid-19 struck, was the apparently very slow growth in productivity. This is not a mere ivory tower issue.  It is only through increasing productivity that rises in living standards can be sustained. Productivity is the key measure of the efficiency of […]

Covid-19 has shown it is time to invest in Britain’s scientists

Let’s start the New Year with a very positive point. The speed of scientific innovation seems to be accelerating sharply. And it is innovation which ultimately drives our health, wealth and well-being. The types of problems which have previously taken years or even decades to solve are being cracked in record times. The development of […]

It’s not cutting-edge AI we should fear, but mediocre automation

If there were a betting market in future winners of the Nobel prize in economics, MIT’s Daniel Acemoglu would be at pretty short odds. His highly innovative work has already won him a string of prizes. So his research is always worth following – especially when he challenges the conventional wisdom, as in his paper […]

Don’t fear robots taking your job – worry about them cutting your wages

Robot playing ping pong

Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) seem to be in the news all the time, and breakthroughs are announced regularly. Last year, it was an AI programme which beat the world champion at Go, a game immensely more complex than chess. Now, in the austere American journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, comes […]

Claims that a low tax, low regulation UK would be a disaster are rubbish

President Hollande in the UK

Dame Minouche Shafik, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, is leaving to become Director of the London School of Economics.  Last weekend, she gave her final interview wearing her Bank hat. Shafik issued what was described in the media as a “thinly veiled warning” to the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond.  She stated that it was […]

America is embracing the opportunities of AI while the rest of the world frets

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to generate concerns. The latest furore emerged at the start of this week. Researchers in the top ranked University College London computer science department claimed that an AI algorithm correctly predicts the outcome of 79 per cent of cases heard at the European Court of Human Rights. The […]