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A comparison reveals the stark contrast between AI, human stupidity
By Nouriel Roubini  |  Mar 18, 2024
A comparison reveals the stark contrast between AI, human stupidity
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This year’s World Economic Forum offered a snapshot on the state of the world and its many ongoing crises. While AI is achieving impressive results in many ways, these are largely being overshadowed by human stupidity, cautions NYU Professor Emeritus of Economics Nouriel Roubini.

NEW YORK - Since I have returned from this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, people have been repeatedly asking me for my biggest takeaways. Among the most widely discussed topics this year was artificial intelligence (AI) - especially generative AI (GenAI). With the recent adoption of large language models (like the one powering ChatGPT), hope and hype abound about what AI might do for future productivity and economic growth.

To address this question, one must first remember that human stupidity dominates the world far more than AI. The proliferation of megathreats - each an element in a broader ‘polycrisis’ - confirms that politics are too dysfunctional and policies too misguided to address even the most serious and obvious risks to humanity’s future. These include climate change - which will have huge economic costs - failed states - which will make waves of climate refugees even larger - and recurrent, virulent pandemics that may be even more economically damaging than COVID-19.

Making matters worse, dangerous geopolitical rivalries are evolving into new cold wars - most notably between the United States and China - as well as potentially explosive hot wars, like the ones raging in Ukraine and the Middle East that threaten to spread. Around the world, rising income and wealth inequality - partly driven by hyper-globalization and labor-saving technologies - have triggered a backlash against liberal democracy, creating opportunities for populist, autocratic, and violent political movements.

Unsustainable levels of private and public debt threaten to precipitate debt and financial crises, and the world may yet see a return of inflation and stagflationary, negative aggregate supply shocks. The broader trend globally is toward protectionism, deg

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