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Who’s the GOAT of Economics? Tyler Cowen on Adam Smith, His New AI Book, and More!

December 8, 2023 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST

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Tyler Cowen, Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and faculty director of the Mercatus Center, joins host Alaka Halder to discuss his exciting new generative book on great economists, the history of economic thought, and how to appreciate economics as a vehicle for carrying ideas about the world.

In the 247 years since Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations, economics has evolved, expanded, and some might argue, become constricted by its emphasis on empiricism. Beautiful and flawed, economics remains one of our best tools for understanding and experimenting with the world: what motivates people, how markets work and fail, why policies have unintended consequences, and so much more. 

Cowen’s latest book, Who Is the Greatest Economist of all Time and Why Does It Matter?, attempts to help readers discover (or rediscover!) the essence of economics beyond the equations: a way to carry and share transformative ideas about the world. He visits the heavyweights who shaped economics: Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, John Maynard Keynes, and John Stuart Mill, among others. Why do ideas matter? What makes a great economist? Where did they fall short? Why should we care about it all?

To bring this dialogue to life, the book is accompanied by an exploratory AI tool. Readers can ask questions, debate conclusions, and learn foundational concepts. The book is generative and fluid, much like economics itself! During this SuperSalon, we’ll do something similar. We’ll discuss Cowen’s project and vision, how he hopes to build on this, his thoughts on learning in the era of Large Language Models (LLMs), and more!

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This event will be recorded.


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December 8, 2023
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST
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Alaka Halder
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