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欧冠足球竞猜|机器人占领世界 The robot takeover not so fast

2020-12-15 16:52:01

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Are we nearing a dramatic moment in economic history? Before humans developed agriculture, the world population — and thus the world economy — doubled in size roughly every 250,000 years. After acquiring the power of agriculture, the world economy doubled in size roughly every 900 years. After the industrial revolution, growth accelerated again, and since the second world war the world economy has been doubling in size roughly every 15 years. These numbers have been collated by Robin Hanson, an economist at George Mason University in Virginia; they are based on educated guesses by various economic historians.我们于是以相似经济史上的戏剧性一幕么?在人类发展农业以前,全球人口(以及世界经济规模)约每25万年快速增长一倍。而在人类取得农业生产的力量之后,全球经济规模约每900年快速增长一倍。工业革命之后,全球经济快速增长再度加快。

而自二战以来全球经济约每15年快速增长一倍。上述数据是由弗吉尼亚州乔治梅森大学(George Mason University)的经济学家罗宾汉森(Robin Hanson)整理的,基于多位经济史学家得出的有历史依据的估算。If another step change of a similar scale were to happen, the world economy would double in size between now and Christmas. That is hard to imagine but, before the industrial revolution happened, it too would have been hard to imagine. And a small band of believers, not short on imagination, look forward to an economic “singularity”. Hanson is one of them, and the computer scientist Ray Kurzweil, author of The Singularity Is Near, is perhaps the most famous.如果再行再次发生类似于程度的阶跃式变革,全球经济也许不会在现在到圣诞节这段时间里快速增长一倍。

这一点虽然很难想象,但在工业革命再次发生前,一切也很难想象。这一场景的少数少有想象力的信徒,期冀经常出现一种经济上的“奇点”。汉森就是他们中的一个,而计算机科学家、《奇点邻近》(The Singularity Is Near)一书的作者雷錠日韦尔(Ray Kurzweil)或许是他们中最出名的一位。

The singularity would be a point at which, rather than humans developing new technologies, the new technologies developed themselves. They would do so at a rate far beyond our comprehension. After the singularity, our civilisation would be in the hands of cyborgs, or brains uploaded into the cloud, or genetically enhanced superbeings, or something else able to make itself smarter at a tremendous rate. The future economy might consist of rapid interactions between artificial intelligences. The idea that it might double in size every few weeks no longer seems quite so unimaginable.奇点是这样一个时间点,即仍然是由人类研发新技术,而是新技术本身不会研发新技术。它们不会以一种近超强我们想象的速度研发新技术。

在奇点之后,我们的文明不会被置放半机械人、或上传遍云端的大脑、或基因增强的超级生物、或别的什么能很慢提高自身智力的东西掌控之下。未来的经济有可能由人工智能之间的较慢对话构成。

全球经济每过几周就有可能快速增长一倍的点子,仍然看起来那么不可想象了。But it is one thing to imagine such a future. It is another thing to have confidence that it is approaching. Many economists point out that productivity growth has been sluggish for a long time, which hardly seems to be a precursor to a transformative economic take-off. Growth in advanced economies, far from accelerating, seems to require extraordinary stimulus to prevent it from stopping altogether. Other economists are more bullish, reminding us of a basic fact about the rapid exponential growth in computing power: if it continues, then by definition growth in the future will dwarf growth in the past.不过,想象这样的未来是一其实,坚信这样的未来正在来临则是另一回事。许多经济学家认为,生产率快速增长力弱有数很长一段时间了,这或许很难被看做变革性经济降落的前奏。繁盛经济体的经济快速增长相比之下不是加快行进,反而或许必须额外的性刺激才能避免它几乎停顿下来。

其他经济学家则更加悲观一些,警告我们这样一个基本事实,即计算机的计算能力正在飞速地呈圆形指数快速增长:如果这种快速增长持续下去,那么从定义上说道,未来的经济增长速度将令过去的快速增长相形见绌。Recently, the economist William Nordhaus published a research paper that aims to adjudicate on this debate. Nordhaus proposes a series of tests that we could use to spot an imminent singularity, looking for evidence that either the productive forces of the economy, or the goods that we enjoy consuming, are being transformed by computing.最近,经济学家威廉蘒德豪斯(William Nordhaus)公开发表了一篇旨对这一争辩作出判决的研究论文。诺德豪斯明确提出了一系列我们可以用来找到即将来临的奇点的测试方案,借以找寻证据证明,计算能力或者转变了经济的生产力,或者转变了我们在品尝的商品。

Nordhaus’s first test is on the demand side. Is it likely that singularity-prone products such as games, films and computers will eventually absorb most of our spending?诺德豪斯的第一个测试是针对市场需求末端。游戏、电影和电脑等更容易经常出现奇点的产品否有可能最后吸出我们的大多数支出?So far, the answer seems to be no. The proportion of spending on such products is falling because their price is collapsing. If this trend continues, limitless digital goods will be the intricate icing on a stodgy economic cake. Our economy will move at the pace of the slowest sectors, and we will be chained to productivity improvements in mundane products such as food, shelter and transportation. After all, we cannot eat smartphone apps.到目前为止,对这个问题的答案或许是驳斥的。

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由于价格下跌,对这类产品的支出所占到的比例正在下降。如果这种趋势持续下去,无限的数字化商品将沦为经济大蛋糕上精致的糖霜。

我们的经济增长速度将不会与快速增长最较慢的部门完全一致,我们将受到食品、住房和交通等普通产品生产率提高幅度的束缚。却是,智能手机应用于又无法当饭不吃。

Perhaps, instead, computing will revolutionise how we produce these mundane products. An obvious second test, then, is to ask whether US productivity is accelerating. It isn’t.也许,计算能力确实引发革命的领域是我们如何生产这些普通产品。那么,第二项测试似乎就是,美国的生产率否正在加快提升。答案是驳斥的。Other tests look at the importance of investment goods in the economy. If the singularity is approaching, one might expect them to become very cheap and to dominate economic output. Are the average prices of investment goods — which include computers and software but also buildings and machinery — falling relative to wages at an accelerating rate? The answer, again, is no. What about the stock of capital relative to US economic output — is it rapidly rising? No.其他测试则实地考察经济中投资品的重要性。

如果奇点正在到来,人们也许可以预计的是,投资品不会显得十分廉价并要求着经济生产量。投资品(既还包括计算机和软件,也还包括建筑物和机械)的平均价格相对于工资正在加快暴跌么?答案又是驳斥的。那么,比较美国经济生产量而言,资本存量的变化如何,是在较慢下降么?答案也是驳斥的。So far there is not much sign of a singularity in the data. But a couple of tests do point in that direction. For example, the share of US national income accruing to capital rather than labour is increasing, albeit at a modest pace. That is what one might expect as the robots march into human affairs. And within the capital stock, the share of information assets such as software and intellectual property is increasing, although it is still only 6 or 7 per cent of the total. Nordhaus argues that these two tests suggest a singularity is many decades away; his other tests all point in the wrong direction entirely.到目前为止,这些数据中去找将近多少奇点到来的迹象。

不过,显然有几项测试表明了这个趋势。比如,美国国民收入流向资本而不是劳动力的比例在减少,尽管速度不是迅速。这是机器人向人类事务进占时预计不会看到的现象。而在资本存量中,软件和知识产权等信息资产的比例正在减少——尽管这一比例仍只有6%或7%。

诺德豪斯指出,这两个测试意味著奇点还有好几十年才不会来临。而他的其他测试全都指向完全忽略的方向。At this point the pro-singularity crowd might complain that conventional economic statistics do a poor job of measuring some of the new products and services. A mobile phone, for example, comes bundled with dozens of free products — a flashlight, satnav, an alarm clock and much more.说道到这里,坚信奇点到来的人群或许不会责怪说道,常规经济统计资料在取决于部分新产品和服务方面做得并很差。

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比如,手机不会绑数十种免费产品:手电筒、卫星导航系统、闹钟等等。All this Nordhaus acknowledges — he is, it so happens, one of the world’s leading authorities on measuring the value of goods that conventional statistics miss. He ponders various back-of-the-envelope measures — for example, the amount of time that people spend consuming digital goods such as email. But none of these efforts suggests anything transformative yet.对于这一切诺德豪斯也都否认。

不过,对于取决于常规统计资料过热的商品价值,诺德豪斯恰巧也是全球顶尖的权威之一。他设想了各种有所不同的粗略估计方法——比如人们用作消费电子邮件等数字化商品的时间。

然而所有这一切都还没表明出有任何变革性的迹象。Perhaps this is complacency. In the movies, the robot takeover tends to be rather sudden. Perhaps cyborgs have kidnapped the real Nordhaus and are using his name to spread disinformation. It is more likely, though, that the singularity is not near.也许这是人类的一种可笑。

按照电影里说道的,机器人攻占世界往往不会非常忽然地再次发生。或许半机械人已杀害了确实的诺德豪斯,现在于是以以他的名义蔓延误导信息。不过,更加有可能的是,奇点离我们还近着呢。

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