Monday, April 1, 2024

g-f(2)2169 Redefining Middle-Class Prosperity: The Potential of A.I. According to David Autor


genioux Fact post by Fernando Machuca and ChatGPT


In a surprising turn, David Autor, an economist known for highlighting technology's adverse effects on the labor market, now argues that generative artificial intelligence (A.I.) could potentially reverse the trend of declining middle-class incomes.

genioux GK Nugget:

"David Autor contends that the advent of generative artificial intelligence presents a unique opportunity to restore the middle-skill, middle-class segment of the labor market that has been dwindling due to automation and globalization." — Fernando Machuca and ChatGPT, April 1, 2024

genioux Foundational Fact:

David Autor, an esteemed economist at MIT, who previously documented the negative impacts of technology on American workers, now suggests that modern A.I., particularly generative A.I., holds promise for empowering workers and revitalizing the middle class. He posits that unlike traditional automation, which replaced routine tasks, A.I. has the potential to complement human judgment, thereby creating opportunities for less-skilled workers to engage in more valuable work.

The 10 most relevant genioux Facts:

  1. David Autor, renowned for his studies on technology's adverse effects on labor, now sees generative artificial intelligence as a potential remedy for reversing declining middle-class incomes.
  2. Generative A.I., unlike traditional automation, has the capacity to learn from vast amounts of data and provide guidance rather than follow preset rules.
  3. Mr. Autor's hypothesis suggests that A.I. can democratize high-stakes decision-making tasks, allowing more individuals, including those without college degrees, to participate in valuable work.
  4. A.I. is viewed as a complementary technology that enhances workers' capabilities rather than a job killer, according to Mr. Autor.
  5. Despite uncertainties, Mr. Autor's hypothesis challenges the prevailing pessimism surrounding the impact of A.I. on wages and employment.
  6. Laura Tyson, a professor at UC Berkeley, views Mr. Autor's hypothesis as thought-provoking but emphasizes the uncertainty regarding the translation of A.I. productivity gains into improved wages and employment.
  7. Goldman Sachs' report suggests that generative A.I. could potentially automate activities equivalent to 300 million full-time jobs globally.
  8. Early studies indicate that less-skilled workers benefit the most from A.I. productivity gains, suggesting a potential pathway to bolstering the middle class.
  9. Mr. Autor's vision is regarded as one possible future, although history suggests that the optimistic scenario of lifting all boats may not materialize.
  10. Despite acknowledging challenges, Mr. Autor advocates for envisioning positive outcomes, fostering debate, and preparing for a future where technology serves as a tool for societal benefit.


David Autor's shift from a tech skeptic to an advocate for A.I.'s potential to benefit the middle class highlights a nuanced perspective on the role of technology in shaping the future of work. His hypothesis challenges prevailing pessimism, emphasizing the need to explore alternative paths forward in harnessing technology for societal advancement.


The g-f GK Article

Steve LohrHow One Tech Skeptic Decided A.I. Might Benefit the Middle ClassThe New York Times, April 1, 2024.

Steve Lohr 

Steve Lohr is a technology and economics reporter for The New York Times¹. He primarily writes about technology and its impact on the economy, jobs, and the workplace¹⁵. His coverage leads to stories on productivity, automation, inequality, and antitrust¹⁵.

Lohr has been with The Times since 1979 and has covered a wide range of topics, both literally and figuratively¹. He was a foreign correspondent for a decade based in Tokyo, Manila, and London¹⁴. He has written for every section of the paper — magazine, book review, culture, travel, and others¹. He was a member of the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2013¹⁴.

He has written two technology-related books: “Go To,” a history of software and computer programming, published in 2001; and “Data-ism,” on the field of data science and decision-making, published in 2015¹. Before The Times, he worked for three years at Business Week, and before that for less than two years at the Binghamton Press in upstate New York¹. He grew up first in Wisconsin and when he was a teenager his family moved to Connecticut¹. He went to Colgate University and later the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism¹.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 4/4/2024

(1) Steve Lohr - The New York Times.

(2) Steve Lohr - Page 6 - The New York Times.

(3) Steve Lohr - Page 4 - The New York Times.

(4) Generative A.I.’s Biggest Impact Will Be in ... - The New York Times.

(5) Steve Lohr - Journalist Profile - Intelligent Relations.

Classical Summary:

In a surprising turn, renowned economist David Autor, known for his critical stance on technology's impact on labor, advocates for the potential of generative artificial intelligence (A.I.) to bolster the middle class. Autor's research posits that modern A.I., with its ability to learn from vast data sets rather than simply follow programmed rules, could transform high-stakes decision-making tasks and create opportunities for workers without college degrees. He argues that if leveraged effectively, A.I. could reverse the decline of middle-skill, middle-class jobs that have been eroded by automation and globalization. Despite skepticism from some economists, Autor's vision offers an alternative narrative to the prevailing pessimism surrounding A.I.'s potential to reshape the workforce. His proposition underscores the need for proactive debate and preparation to harness A.I. as a tool for shaping a more equitable future.

David H. Autor

David H. Autor is an American economist, public policy scholar, and professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)¹². He also serves as the co-director of the School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative¹². Autor's research primarily focuses on the labor-market impacts of technological change and globalization²³.

Autor has held various positions throughout his career, including the Ford Professor in the MIT Department of Economics, co-director of the NBER Labor Studies Program, and co-director of the MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative². His scholarship explores the labor-market impacts of technological change and globalization on job polarization, skill demands, earnings levels and inequality, and electoral outcomes².

He has received numerous awards for his scholarship and teaching, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Sherwin Rosen Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of Labor Economics, the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2019, the Society for Progress Medal in 2021, and the MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellowship².

Source: Conversation with Bing, 4/4/2024

(1) David Autor - Wikipedia.

(2) David H. Autor | MIT Economics.

(3) David Autor - Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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