Staller Lecture to explore the economics of AI Oct. 12

Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform nearly every aspect of our world, including the economy. In this year’s George Staller Lecture, economist Jens Ludwig will explore how “big data” and AI tools help us understand and improve human decision-making. His talk, “Economics and AI” will be on Thurs., Oct. 12 at 4:30 p.m. in 185 Statler Hall. The talk is free and the public is welcome.

Many important decisions hinge on predictions, such as doctors’ diagnoses, HR productivity assessments, lenders’ repayment forecasts and judges’ predictions of recidivism. The development of behavioral economics has helped economists see just how off people might be in their judgments, said Ludwig, the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago.

“Human intelligence is fallible,” Ludwig said. “But the growing availability of ‘big data’ and new tools from artificial intelligence now make it possible to better understand these human judgments, and even improve them – which, as we will see, can have potentially enormous consequences for the economy and society as a whole. Is economics on the verge of a whole new ‘machine learning revolution’?”

Ludwig is Pritzker Director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab, co-director of the Education Lab, and co-director of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s working group on the economics of crime. He helped found both the Crime Lab and the Education Lab with the goal of turning research insights into social change. Examples of the Labs’ real-world impact include working with the Chicago Police Department to implement data-driven management changes that helped substantially reduce gun violence without increasing arrests; and partnership with the New York City Mayor’s office to help build and implement a new pretrial risk tool as part of the city’s goal to close Riker’s Island.

Ludwig’s research has been published in leading scientific journals and featured in national news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, PBS News Hour, and NPR. He is on the editorial board of the American Economic Review and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the Academy of Experimental Criminology.

The George Staller Lecture is made possible by a gift from Russell B. Hawkins '77. 


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