Try to imagine how your grandchildren will relate to Work!

photo portrait of bearded man

Economics Nobelist Joseph Stiglitz is known for his critical view of laissez-faire colleagues:

The future of work, or, rather, the world after work. . . . Can we imagine a time, suggests Masha Gessen, when we value people not for what they produce but for who they are – and what might this future look like? Note: Eventbrite RSVP required. This session of Festival Albertine 2018 will incite you to consider how your descendants will relate to work – in the company of an American Nobel economist, plus a leading AI scientist and teacher, and a distinguished economist, both of the latter, French.

Not only the founding director of Facebook AI Research and of the NYU Center for Data Science, Yann LeCun now is Chief AI Scientist at Facebook, teaches at NYU (Silver Professor) and currently also is affiliated with the Courant Institute and the Center for Data Science at NYU. Responding by email to a GallicFever query about work in the age of AI, the engineer premised: “[T]he relative value of material goods will go down, because [with AI] their fabrication will become increasingly automated.

How will governments and societies distribute to the population the economic benefits of AI?

portriat of Lecun

Director of Facebook AI Research, Yann LeCun’s complementary  interests include computer vision and mobile robotics.

“But the value we attribute to authentic human experiences will go up,” Yann LeCun predicted, “There is a bright future for creative professions. The main question is how governments and societies will distribute the economic benefits of AI among the population.

“Technological revolutions can fuel the growth of income inequalities,” warned French-educated LeCun. He added, “The French are used to the idea of ‘égalité’ through income redistribution. Americans, not so much.”

After his Engineering education in France and a postdoc at the University of Toronto, Yann LeCun joined AT&T Bell Labs, and became head of Image Processing Research at AT&T Labs (1996). A National Academy of Engineering member, the AI investigator is drawn to considerations of machine learning, computer vision, mobile robotics and computational neuroscience.

Remarks about how technological revolutions can fuel the growth of income inequalities likely will be forthcoming, as well, from the ‘World after work’ panelist, American economist Joseph Eugene Stiglitz. Recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979), Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz is known for his critical view of the management of globalization, of laissez-faire economists and of international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank – where he served as chief economist and senior vice president. You’ve probably read his regular and bracing commentary, in, for instance, the New York Times.

Panelist Daniel Cohen: “rather a pragmatic economist” also is eminently readable on his subject

Prominent French economist and author, Daniel Cohen, is a founding member of the Paris School of Economics, where he is a professor and director of the economics department. He has been quoted (2004) as defining himself as “rather a pragmatic economist.” He deals with the interface of economics research and public administration as director of CEPREMAP, and with research in international macroeconomics as longtime co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research.

As an author, he brings to his writing deft literary style (that must have began developing at the justly famed Ecole Normale Supérieur Paris secondary school) and a wry sense of humor. The latter sometimes prompts him to include playful parentheses in the French titles or subtitles of his books. Published September 2018, a perfect example: Il faut dire que les temps ont changé. . .  Chronique (fiévreuse) d’une mutation qui inquiète – is not yet published in English. We leave the translation headache to a pro, but with all due respect, the humor is unlikely to come through intact, if this earlier book is an indication. . . La Prospérité du vice – Une Introduction (inquiète) à l’économie became The Prosperity of Vice: A Worried View of Economics. Mr. Cohen and co-panelists will hold forth in English, of course; even so, the trio can’t help but provide a lively and absorbing experience to all who reserve in time to get a free seat.

Can’t get to the fabulous Payne Whitney Mansion for this thought-provoking Festival Albertine 2018 event? Attend via Livestream on Oct. 31 at 7pm (EST).

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