How will AI change *other* policy debates?

Not debates about AI, no the other ones.  For one thing, more ideas and more intelligence will mean more projects.  That raises the value of permitting reform, and raises the value of YIMBY.  But perhaps the most surprising conclusion comes on the immigration issue, with apologies to Garett Jones:

Which policy issue might decrease in importance? My prediction is immigration. GPT-4 is already passing a wide swath of professional tests, ranging from bar exams to medical qualifiers to economics exams. The service still requires more integration with other software tools, but in the not-too-distant future, the US will have added the equivalent of many millions of intelligent minds (albeit not bodies) to its labor force.

I have long favored boosting America’s immigration flow by about three times, to give the US an intake roughly on a per-capita par with Canada and Australia. This is still a good idea, but it should be done in a different way. Rather than more high-skilled immigration, the new priority might be more lower-wage migrants. The US might want a “bar-belled” immigration policy, which gives priority to AI researchers and engineers on the high-wage end, and workers such as construction laborers on the low-wage end.

The AI researchers, by creating more and better AI, would serve as a substitute for many other potential high-skilled immigrants. But all those new ideas will need people to turn them into actual projects in the physical world. In contrast, importing additional humanities professors from Europe no longer seems so vital when you can ask the AI instead.

Here is my full Bloomberg column.  To be sure, we need the smart, ambitious carpenters!


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