Ross Graham


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Eli Dourado AMA

Referencing your recent AI article (which is great!):

How much of the problem of digital technology being hard to implement productively because of social/legal/policy stuff:

  1. A path dependency issue: digital technology just has to exist substantively before the social/legal/policy environment is generated, improved and optimized to accommodate it?
  2. To the extent this path dependency exists, do you think we could be doing more to prime the social/legal/policy environment for new technologies preemptively? Is better anticipation of the social/legal/policy needs of digital technology feasible? Or are the main gains (or least reckless approaches) to be found in speeding up the accommodation process for digital technology once it exists, and its practical applications become clearer. 
  3. For 1 & 2, how do you see the answers varying across different sectors of the economy? 
Tyler Cowen AMA

You are well-known for your love of food, cuisine and dining, both as a diner and as a cook. Has your deep relationship with food informed or substantiated how you think about progress and progress studies? 

Why progress needs futurism

Yes, I think the Italian Futurists provide us with interesting lessons. One reason their movement was so short-lived was the onset of WW1. A bunch of them died in various conflicts, but the intellectual foundations of the movement were also killed off. According to Marinetti and friends, technology and machinery was the source of dynamism and progressive change in society, and war was a primary means of putting this machinery to use. Yet in practice, the main 'achievement' of technological advancement in this period was a novel 'meat-grinder' style of warfare, one that ushered in the industrial-scale killing of faceless statistics. Rather than dynamic progress, they got pointless, static violence.

Both sides of the war had perfectly concrete visions of the future. Yet pursuit of these competing visions of progress caused them to largely neutralize each other. I therefore appreciate Eli's focus upon a vision of the future that is constructive and credible, as well as concrete. 

Balla's Street Light was a personal favorite from my history of art class as an undergrad.