It’s just complicated math: Zoom in on Colombia’s economic forecasting event AI

“They don’t have emotions. According to David Adkins, senior engineering manager of generative AI at MetaAI, they only solve complex mathematical problems.

That was the message Tuesday morning at Columbia’s annual economic forecast breakfast as an artificial intelligence expert gave Clark County business people a look at AI and its impact on business in Clark County.

About 300 community members attended a Columbia-sponsored event Tuesday morning at the Hilton Vancouver, Washington.

Adkins was among three speakers who joined Columbia associate editor Will Campbell in the discussion.

Adkins talked about the advantages and disadvantages of technology. (Meta is the parent company of Facebook and Instagram.)

Adkins allayed the fear of artificial intelligence by describing technology as simply mathematics.

A common question he hears is whether artificial intelligence software on cellphones is listening to conversations to customize ads.

“The answer is no,” Adkins said. “People are just really predictable. And that’s why AI works.

He discussed how software like OpenAI’s ChatGPT can make work more efficient, helping to summarize multi-page documents or presenting information in a clumsy but compelling way. Communicate in a practical way — such as explaining physics as a surf bro.

“This is something that shows the power of what these systems can do,” Adkins said. “But more importantly, you need to understand that people don’t even know what all the capabilities are today.”

Adkins said the technology has limitations, such as AI hallucination — a disorder where software predicts what users want to hear instead of giving them factual information.

Crystal Dybus Higgins, vice president of equity research at Ferguson Wellman, and Dave Barkos, director of business development at Vancouver software company Formos and founder of Northbank Innovations, discuss how their businesses have implemented artificial intelligence.

Higgins’ company formed an AI committee to explore how artificial intelligence could be used.

“We’re trying to make ourselves more efficient, more productive and then grow our business,” he said.

Barkos said there is “incredible innovation” in artificial intelligence, but it’s happening at a grassroots level.

“There’s no consultancy trying to teach people how to do this,” he said. “The technical community within these companies is bending over and trying to really make things happen.”

2024 and beyond

Scott Bailey, consultant economist and former regional economist for the Washington Employment Security Department, presented his annual economic forecast at the end of the event.

Referring to his alternate persona as “Dr. Dom,” Bailey pointed to the region’s median household income, which is higher than that of the top 5 percent. Housing permits for both single-family and multi-family buildings are scarce.

Bailey said the data shows there has been about a 10 percent shift to working from home, split evenly between workers who once worked out of state and those who worked at the Clark County site.

He talked about job growth in Clark County — which has outpaced the post-pandemic recovery rate for Oregon, Washington, the nation, Portland, Seattle and every other market in the state.

Bailey said construction, professional services and health care are growing jobs in Clark County.

The longtime economist also said hourly wages have increased over the past few years, especially for those in the county’s highest-paying jobs.

Touching on the drivers of inflation, Bailey showed a graph showing corporate profits, which have skyrocketed since the pandemic. He also pointed to supply chain issues and stimulus funds, though said neither had as much of an impact on inflation as corporate profits.

Bailey said there is no consensus among Federal Reserve Board governors on when to cut interest rates, but one economist he follows, Claudia Sehm of the Jain Family Institute, expects a move in July. are

Leave a Comment