Vindication: Problems with IBM’s Watson

Ye Editor has taken it on the chin in the Reddit community commentary for advancing about IBM’s Watson  two arguments: a)IBM secured an important dispensation when its Watson supercomputer was allowed direct text inputs rather than having to parse , decipher and  understand directly  the spoken questions by Jeopardy host Alex Trebek  and/or scan and make sense of the written clues like human contestants Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter had to do.  But b)there was the broader question of whether the US and the World, in the face of greater job scarcity, wanted to embrace the IBM Watson phenomena and some of its consequences with a blindly benign attitude of nearly unquestionaed acceptance. Ye Editor confesses to using the  pop topic a) to get readers to consider the more challenging topic b).

Well, NYTimes Paul Krugman has this week a series of articles which lend support to the idea that computing is displacing jobs in major ways that will have enormous consequences on jobs and wealth in the US:
NYTimes – the original NYTimes article on the growing displacement by computing automation of high paying legal and engineering jobs and the consequences for jobs policy.
Degrees and Dollars – Krugman questions the wisdom that college degrees protect against low wages and/or job losses.
Falling Demands for Brains – Krugman investigates further the nature of AI job losses.
White Collar Turns Blue – Original thinking from 1996 on the effects of automation on jobs.
Autor! Autor! – looks at some of the original economic thinking on the subject
Autor et alia paper – here is the original paper that is referenced in post above.
Overselling of Education – another economics paper that shows that college-level wages are flattening out

In sum, here are some very useful  links to  good thinking on the 2nd question raised on problems with IBM’s Watson. It is for the reader to decide what are some of the consequences of an expanded role for Artificial and Agent Intelligence on domestic and World jobs?

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