Letters to the editor - 05/12 - Intelligent future, Tax revenue, Best of Twitter

Intelligent future

[Re: As Amazon tests delivery drones, could the technology prove transformative? Tuesday]

Even more exciting is the prospect of machines that think in ways no human could. They would have a deep “understanding” of the laws of inference, and would be incredibly good at solving problems. We could use them to design better machines, starting an intelligence explosion. But much work is needed to design machines that will even act legally, let alone beneficially or ethically. This raises an important question in artificial intelligence: what will happen when we succeed, and what should we do to make sure the outcome is good?

Daniel Dewey, Oxford University


Tax revenue

David Cameron is reported as saying that ministers will only be able to cut taxes on the middle class when the UK’s public finances are in surplus, and that dealing with the deficit is the first duty of government. It is hugely disappointing that he believes that the former does not lead to the latter. It seems to suggest that we now have a Conservative leader who has abandoned adherence to the Laffer principle, which dictates that lower tax rates can lead to higher government revenues, or that he thinks taxes are not high already. Have we not punished ourselves with high tax rates for long enough?

Andrew J Senior


Financing needs as percentage of GDP: Italy 55; Greece 44; Spain 41; France 37; Ireland 17; Germany 14.

MPs currently answer to other MPs, which is why we need a recall system.

US boosted payrolls by 215,000 last month. This number puts a December taper on the table.

Nick Clegg calls Labour’s energy policy economically illiterate. Good. It is.