14 Comments

Excellent post, thank you.

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Re: "What I expect to happen next is that US companies will largely ignore the EU laws, European citizens will want to use the American services anyway, and then EU authorities will come under pressure for a face-saving compromise."

It didn't happen with the cookies. US users get the cookie pop-ups, not just the EU users. If US companies will ignore the EU laws, they get fined by the EU (if they still want to operate there). EU gains significant sums from American companies thay way. Overall, this is a pretty terrible strategy by the EU - but it's what's happened so far.

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Re: "Because at the end of the day AI is going to complement physical human labor more than it will substitute for it."

The more conventional story is that machines start off complementing human abilities when they are not very competent and then substitute for humans when they become sufficiently competent and powerful. That's pretty much the opposite of your claim. So: it seems to me that your claim here is likely to prove to be mistaken.

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I disagree with your prediction about the regulatory gap between the EU and the US. What happened in privacy is exactly the opposite of what you described: US companies have essentially adopted EU privacy laws globally because this is easier than deploying different privacy models. The issue of data transfers you referred to is still an issue of contention but that’s not due to US companies ignoring EU privacy laws but due to different perspectives on national security. The same convergence is going to happen in AI and you can see this already: There were reports this week that Google‘s launch of Bard would be postponed in Europe but no indication that they were abandoning plans to launch it here.

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Thank you for responding to my (multiple) questions! On the issue of job creation, I predict that the opposite of the usual “technology advancement --> job growth” model: I think this time around, whether it happens quickly or slowly, AI will eliminate a lot of high-paying white collar jobs, which will negatively impact our economy, as people who used to be big spenders on lots of different goods and services will now be on welfare. Additionally, on a macro level, one side effect of white collar automation that I predict is that the companies seeking to drive up profits by automating everything and eliminating employees may find that they have far fewer customers for their products/services, especially in spaces which are lucrative at the moment, but people can easily go without (luxury clothes, video games/gadgets, beauty treatments, etc.) Will be interesting to see what comes of that, assuming I’m right about all of this.

Yeah, I’m pretty pessimistic about AI, but I hope I’m pleasantly surprised by what these next years/decades hold!

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You say: "That’s basically what has happened in the privacy arena over the last decade, and frankly it hasn’t been good for the EU’s technology sector."

And yet before you state: "And I don’t think Donald Trump would have been elected president in 2016 without Twitter and Facebook."

I would like to better understand your position regarding the big tech/small citizens rights conundrum.

Because I'm mostly fed up with the 100% laissez-faire attitude that's been on display since the beginning of the internet era and I'm not sure I'm interested in reading about that as a good thing. Thank you.

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