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AI and Capitalism – “It is not wise to become dependent on AI” – News

Artificial intelligence (AI) will not revolutionize our economic system, but will perfect capitalism’s growth imperative. Many jobs should be done faster and more efficiently using AI. Economics professor Mathias Binswanger wrote the book “The Independence of Capitalism” on this subject.

Mathias Binswanger

Mathias Binswanger

economist


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Mathias Binswanger is professor of economics at the Northwestern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences in Olten and private lecturer at the University of St. Gallen. He was a visiting professor in Freiberg in Germany, at the Qingdao Technological University in China and at the Banking University in Saigon (Vietnam).

Mathias Binswanger is the author of numerous books and articles in specialist magazines and in the press. His research focuses on macroeconomics, financial market theory, environmental economics and research into the relationship between happiness and income.

SRF News: Mr. Binswanger, you say that AI does not bring about a revolution in the economy, but simply continues the logic of capitalism.

Capitalism is an economic system whose goal is to generate profits. AI can make decisions faster and optimize them better. AI-driven algorithms are better managers than humans. In addition, influencing consumers becomes easier.

Will capitalism take on a life of its own through AI?

Exactly. We already know comparison portals where we can compare different products and services. Let’s take health insurance companies. There you can compare tariffs, ratings and other factors from the different health insurance companies and make decisions. In the future, AI will be able to search health insurance offers in a much shorter time, takes reviews into account and knows consumers and their consumption behavior. Contracts can be concluded directly by the AI, and what I need to know as a consumer is that the “best” insurance for me has been taken out.

The problem is that it is impossible to understand what factors made this decision and what interests guided this decision. Consumer sovereignty can quickly become dependent on algorithms in the name of convenience.

AI-driven algorithms are better managers than humans.

They say AI will increase bureaucracy. Why?

To improve AI, we need more and more data, in real time. We have sensors, microphones and cameras that collect data that helps improve AI. Take the financial industry for example. If I collect a lot of data for my portfolio, it is only useful to me until others also collect this data. Once this is the case, I need to shorten the intervals between data collections. The amount of data is increasing exponentially. Dealing with this amount of data is becoming increasingly difficult. In the end, I may even be less informed. In the end, we are increasingly lagging behind reality, even though we have more data.

Your conclusion is that the algorithms won’t become benevolent slaves of humanity?

No, because as with any innovation, there are interests in AI. Ultimately, people want to make money, and that is no different here. There are economic goals behind the application of AI. A few providers, so-called Big Tech Companies like Google or Amazon, invest horrendous sums in development. This creates enormous market power that can be exploited. The providers of AI are better informed than the users of AI, which makes it easier to exert influence. It is not wise to depend on AI. Dependence has never proven to work.

The interview was conducted by Karoline Arn. With the help of Géraldine Jäggi.

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