February 21, 2017

I don’t envy editors nowadays being forced to flexibilize journalistic ethics more than ever, in order to survive

Sir, John Thornhill describes many amazing innovations. “Bold claims for AI are hard to compute for economists” of February 21.

Without expressing the slightest doubt about Thornhill’s integrity one could still ask: are these innovations true, fake-news, or just one of those stories designed to sell you an investment? 

Sir, how extremely difficult it has to be an editor nowadays. If you’re too severe with the facts, you might loose the juiciness of your stories that your readers might demand; if you’re too generous, you will loose your paper’s reputation sooner or later. I surely don’t envy you.

But when Thornhill refers to that a “Master Algorithm”, named so by Pedro Domingos, a computer science professor at the University of Washington “will be the last invention that man makes. And that “It will be able to derive all knowledge in the world — past, present, and future — from data”, then I have to reply, as I often did to the former President of the World Bank James Wolfensohn, one who loved to refer to the bank as the “Knowledge Bank”, that knowledge means nothing if it is not tempered by wisdom.