February 17, 2017

If a manufacturing trade deficit leads to deficits of skills, then that can be something truly serious.

Sir, Professor Robert H Wade when commenting on Martin Sandbu’s “Trump’s love of manufacturing is misguided” of February 15 writes: “manufacturing typically has strongly positive “externalities”, especially in innovation, and that the innovation intensity of manufacturing depends on close, physical links between production and innovation (“learning while doing”).” “Manufacturing has positive externalities” February 17.

Indeed, just think of where you, I and we all would have been, if America had not had that manufacturing capabilities and those skills that allowed it to build up what Franklin Roosevelt called “The Arsenal of Democracy”, and which allowed for the defeat of Germany’s impressive war machinery during World-War-II.

And currently, the possibility of some other nation ending up with 1st class robots, and your own with 2nd or even the 3rd class robots should clearly be a source of much concern to everyone.

My current pray is “God save my grandchildren from being surrounded by dumb artificial intelligence and 2nd class robots”. But that said perhaps intelligent artificial intelligence could be worse, since then we humans might turn into having to be its obedient servers. Who really knows?