In this solo episode, KMO reads some feedback from thoughtful listeners, including a long piece from the author of The Hipcrime Vocab blog about Modern Monetary Theory and inflation. Thereafter it's all AI all the time. What is Alexa doing to us? What will be the long term ramifications of AlphaGo beating a Chinese Go champion and providing the Chinese Communist Party with its AI Sputnik moment? How will AI assistants play our emotions?
A couple of months ago, KMO met with several Peak Oil personalities in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and asked them a question about electric cars that was provided by Eric Boyd. If you missed that, you can watch the YouTube video. Eric was not satisfied with what seemed like canned responses. He explains why in this episode. The conversation then touches on Hulu's adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale before moving on to China's push to be the world leader in the development and utilization of artificial intelligence. Of course, you can't talk about AI's impact on the economic landscape without talking about it's job-killing aspect. Jobs provide a stable identity over time, or at least they used to when it was common for people to stay at the same company for decades. Hopefully, the Millenials will do better at re-inventing themselves than have the Boomer men who lost their jobs late in the game.
Karl Gerth is the author of As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers Are Transforming Everything. Karl explains the enormous impact that the deliberate creation of consumer culture in China is having on inside that country and around the world. Specific topics of discussion include the frenemy relationship between The People's Republic of China and The Republic of China (better known as Taiwan), China's famous "ghost cities," and the penetration of advertising and brand consciousness into the impoverished countryside.