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jerryking : unimaginable   3

Get Ready for Technological Upheaval by Expecting the Unimagined
SEPT. 2, 2017 | The New York Times | By SENDHIL MULLAINATHAN.

New technologies are rattling the economy on all fronts. While the predictions are specific and dire, bigger changes are surely coming. Clearly, we need to adjust for the turbulence ahead.

But we may be preparing in the wrong way.

Rather than planning for the specific changes we imagine, it is better to prepare for the unimagined — for change itself.

Preparing for the unknown is not as hard as it may seem, though it implies fundamental shifts in our policies on education, employment and social insurance.

* Education. Were we to plan for specific changes, we would start revamping curriculums to include skills we thought would be rewarded in the future. E.g., computer programming might become even more of a staple in high schools than it already is. Maybe that will prove to be wise and we will have a more productive work force. But perhaps technology evolves quickly enough that in a few decades we talk to, rather than program, computers. In that case, millions of people would have invested in a skill as outdated as precise penmanship. Instead, rather than changing what we teach, we could change WHEN we teach...... our current practice of learning early [and hopefully] benefitting for a lifetime — makes sense only in a world where the useful skills stay constant. Human capital, like technology, needs refreshing, we have to restructure our institutions so people acquire education later in life. Not merely need programs for niche populations or circumstances, expensive and short executive-education programs or brief excursions like TED talks. Instead we need the kind of in-depth education and training people receive routinely at age 13.
* Social Insurance. Economic upheaval at the macro level means turmoil and instability at the personal level. A lifetime of work will be a lifetime of change, moving between firms, jobs, careers and cities. Each move has financial and personal costs: It might involve going without a paycheck, looking for new housing, finding a new school district or adjusting to a new vocation. We cannot expect to create a vibrant and flexible overall economy unless we make these shifts as painless as possible. We need a fresh round of policy innovation focused on creating a safety net that gives workers the peace of mind — and the money — to move deftly when circumstances change.....current policies do nothing to protect the most vulnerable from the costs of all this destruction. We resist letting factories close because we worry about what will become of the people who work there. But if we had a social insurance system that allowed workers to move fluidly between jobs, we could comfortably allow firms to follow their natural life and death cycle.

.....other ways of preparing for upheaval? We should broaden the current conversation — centered on drones, the end of work or the prospect of super-intelligent algorithms governing the world — to include innovative proposals for handling the unexpected......One problem is that social policy may seem boring compared with the wonderfully evocative story arcs telling us where current technologies might be heading......The safest prediction is that reality will outstrip our imaginations. So let us craft our policies not just for what we expect but for what will surely surprise us.
tumult  unimaginable  expectations  turbulence  Joseph_Schumpeter  innovation_policies  human_capital  education  safety_nets  job_search  creative_destruction  lifelong  life_long_learning  surprises  economists  improbables  personal_economy  preparation  unexpected  readiness 
september 2017 by jerryking
Spillonomics - Underestimating Risk -
May 31, 2010 |NYT | By DAVID LEONHARDT. The people running BP
did a dreadful job of estimating the true chances of events that seemed
unlikely — and may even have been unlikely — but that would bring
enormous costs....We make two basic — and opposite — types of mistakes.
When an event is difficult to imagine, we tend to underestimate its
likelihood. This is the proverbial black swan...On the other hand, when
an unlikely event is all too easy to imagine, we often go in the
opposite direction and overestimate the odds.
BP  risk-taking  risk-assessment  oil_spills  mistakes  black_swan  underestimation  underpricing  unthinkable  overestimation  dual-consciousness  unimaginable  frequency_and_severity  improbables  disasters  disaster_preparedness  imagination  low_probability 
june 2010 by jerryking
L. Gordon Crovitz Says Technological Creativity Could Help Wall Street Make Sense of Data -
FEBRUARY 9, 2009 | WSJ | By L. GORDON CROVITZ reports on
the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design conference. TED as an
antidote to recessionary pessimism. Reminder that other industries,
especially Wall Street, need to embrace the technologist ethos of
constant creativity and innovation. "Raw data, now!" Find new
relationships among data and new answers to problems in ways we haven't
been able to imagine
analytics  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  Web  data  Wall_Street  TED  unimaginable  sense-making  pattern_recognition  patterns  data_mining  problems 
february 2009 by jerryking

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