By Dave Hendrick
Newswise — Imagine an observer from another galaxy descends to Earth and sees entities called humans and entities called machines interacting with each other.
How would the observer answer the question “Which entity controls the other?”
In a recent paper, University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Anton Korinek presents the thought experiment as a part of a broader consideration meant to put society’s increasingly codependent relationship with technology into context.
“Determining which entity is in control would not be simple,” said Korinek, who joined Darden at the start of the 2018–19 academic year and holds a joint appointment with the UVA Department of Economics.
“Sometimes the machines start beeping, and we tend to them and follow their instructions and commands. When they cry, we plug them into little outlets and give them food again,” Korinek said. “The observer from another planet would probably think that both humans and machines are moderately intelligent entities with different strengths and live in some sort of mutual symbiosis, as biologists would call it.”
According to Korinek, people tend to take a distinctly human-centric view of the agents of activity in our economy ― putting humans at the center ― while discounting the rising impact of the machines
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