Max Tegmark, Malcolm Gladwell, Chicago, Nation-States, Behavioural Economics


Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

The Last Invention Of Man

Max Tegmark | Nautilus | 5th October 2017

Science fiction, written by a physicist who knows of what he speaks. How an artificial intelligence could take over the world under the guidance of kindly if self-interested humans who use its powers to monopolise business and moderate politics. “They were all in, 100 percent, for much the same reason that many of the world’s top physicists joined the Manhattan Project to develop nuclear weapons: They were convinced that if they didn’t do it first, someone less idealistic would” (6,300 words)

When We Give Up Control Of Our Cars

Malcolm Gladwell | Car And Driver | 5th October 2017

We are so far from understanding the implications of self-driving cars that we don’t even have the right words to describe the cars themselves. They are neither self-driving, nor autonomous. “The self-driving car does the opposite of drive itself. It is a vehicle embedded in a technological grid, tethered to the driving environment by sensors and algorithms. The autonomous entity is the thing that is supposed to take care of itself. But the coming class of cars does not take care of itself at all” (1,100 words)

The Chicago Newspaper That Bought a Bar

Andy Wright | Topic | 2nd October 2017

Businessmen complained furiously about corruption in the Chicago city government of the mid-1970s, but none would go on the record. So reporters for the Sun-Times decided to get their story first-hand. They started a bar, and the story came to them. “The payoff parade began before we opened. The health inspector, when he inspected us — I mean, the basement just had maggots glistening on the floor. Upstairs it was no better. He shook us down for a few bucks and passed the place” (3,700 words)

Why Nation-States Are Good

Dani Rodrick | Aeon | 2nd October 2017

The globalist worldview is “grounded in the argument that an interconnected world economy requires collective action at the global level”. But this premise is largely false. Global governance is crucial in a few areas — climate change and health pandemics, for example. But the foundation of the capitalist order is the nation-state, providing the stability and legitimacy on which prosperity can be built. Competition between nation-states is the mainspring of modern progress (2,200 words)

Behavioural Economics

Daniel Obst & Felix Kersting | Exploring Economics | 10th April 2016

An introduction to behavioural economics for intending students. “Behavioural economics is a rather recent field of mainstream economics; it predominantly deals with human behaviour’s deviations from the model of the homo economicus or rational man. In general, behavioural economics does not have strong theoretical or normative assumptions about how an economic system works or should work. Behavioural economics focuses on the observable behaviour of humans” (4,700 words)

Video of the day: Skye Blue Café Wall

What to expect:

The horizontal lines are parallel. Honestly, they are parallel (1’11”)

Thought for the day

I trust all joy
Theodore Roethke

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