When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Why AI Is Now The Key Ingredient For Modern Productivity

Sara Pereira passes the security robot ''Roboguard'' at a press conference for a security fair, on Sept. 20.
Sara Pereira passes the security robot ''Roboguard'' at a press conference for a security fair, on Sept. 20.
Alidad Vassigh


CARACASArtificial Intelligence is opening up new opportunities for the economy and society. But it will also affect millions of human jobs, and thus poses a huge challenge for public policymakers, warns a 2016 White House report on AI's projected impact on the U.S. economy.

Among other things, the report predicts that AI will have a positive impact on productivity growth in firms while dramatically shifting the skills people must have to participate in the job market. Job markets, the study argues, are expected to become fluid and uncertain as some positions disappear, giving way to others.

All of that makes foresight in public policymaking vital to making good use of AI's advantages. Policymakers must get ahead of the game, and design plans and compensations needed to mitigate the impact of the significant losses technological changes will entail for pertinent actors.

The report predicts that AI will have a positive impact on productivity growth.

As the projected changes mentioned above illustrate, AI and the economy are deeply intertwined. But to understand another dimension of the relationship between the two disciplines, one should consider the basic concepts of intelligence and AI.

The definition of intelligence is complex. Indeed, there are as many definitions as there are intelligent people. Just to keep things simple, let's consider intelligence as a wide-ranging set of mental abilities and potentials that become manifest in our actions.

AI also has many definitions, though it may be reduced here to the rational and logical action of machines in response to surrounding stimuli. Implied in that, of course, is an ability to learn constantly. AI only considers the rational (logical and mathematical) part of human intelligence, at least in its initial steps.

One of the pioneers of AI was Herbert Simon, a Nobel Prize winner in economics. Simon poked a number of holes in the principle of perfect rationality in economic agents, a fundamental premise of classical economic theory. First off, he argued that Homo economicus does not face situations in a state of perfect competence. Simon also showed how environmental uncertainty (imperfect information) prevents businesspeople from making exact predictions, forcing them to constantly revise objectives. This provokes costs that prevent them from reaching their optimal goal.

American political scientist, economist, sociologist, psychologist, and computer scientist Herbert Simon — Photo: TheFamousPeople

In addition, Simon notes that people are innately limited in their ability to perceive all of reality's complex elements. This "bounded rationality," as he calls it, is what justifies the use of machines to help us access all data needed to make optimal decisions. Rational machines can process vast amounts of data, far more than individual or even a group of people can, and can thus improve productivity and reduce costs.

For Simon, individuals are simple agents, and the complexity of their conduct has more to do with the complexity of their surroundings than their limited mental capacities. So if a person's rationality is limited and an individual cannot find optimal solutions to economic problems, firms will inevitably need machines to process vast amounts of data and find those solutions. In practice, this means procedural rationality, which is the sum of the abilities of many individuals in certain intelligent algorithms. In addition, AI forms are able to learn, be free of emotions and boost economic efficiency.

Simon was a pioneer of AI and its relationship with economics, in large part because he demonstrated the importance of the former by highlighting the later's limitations, and by critiquing the "perfectly rational" economic man. We know today that data is the driving force behind the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and that for firms to be competitive and productive, they need to properly process that data.

We also know that labor markets will very soon be determinedbyrobotics, AI and all the disruptive technologies that empower production while substituting humans. This is an enormous challenge both for individuals and public policymaking within societies that must invest to maximize their capabilities and ensure they retain their roles in the face of competition from intelligent machines.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

food / travel

When Racism Poisons Italy's Culinary Scene

This is the case of chef Mareme Cisse, a black woman, who was called a slur after a couple found out that she was the one who would be preparing their meal.

Photo of Mareme Cisse cooking

Mareme Cisse in the kitchen of Ginger People&Food

Caterina Suffici


TURIN — Guess who's not coming to dinner. It seems like a scene from the American Deep South during the decades of segregation. But this happened in Italy, in this summer of 2023.

Two Italians, in their sixties, got up from the restaurant table and left (without saying goodbye, as the owner points out), when they declared that they didn't want to eat in a restaurant where the chef was what they called: an 'n-word.'

Racists, poor things. And ignorant, in the sense of not knowing basic facts. They don't realize that we are all made of mixtures, come from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. And that food, of course, are blends of different ingredients and recipes.

The restaurant is called Ginger People&Food, and these visitors from out of town probably didn't understand that either.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest