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Artificial Versus Human Intelligence

Artificial Versus Human Intelligence

It seems that Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence are invading every part of modern life. According to recent news reports, over 80% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted one of the new large language AI models.[1] Goldman Sachs estimates that AI adoption could enable a 1.5% increase in labor productivity resulting in an increase of 1.1% per year of Gross Domestic Product (GDP – the total value of all goods and services produced by the economy). Given that our GDP normally averages around 2.5%, a 1.1% addition to our average GDP could represent a 40% increase, significantly impacting corporate earnings and market valuations across the economy.[2] Certainly, AI models can organize, summarize, reconcile, and interpret labeled data beyond human capacity, but can they duplicate the more intangible aspects of human endeavors? These models increasingly mimic human behaviors and beg an intriguing question: are they more than just a better abacus that...

Don’t Wait Outside of the Storm

Don’t Wait Outside of the Storm

The year 2022 was a bloodbath for both equity and bond markets–the S&P 500 was down 18% and the Bloomberg US Aggregate Bond Index had its worst year ever, down 13%. This year, 2023, began with the US debt ceiling standoff, followed by a banking crisis, and continued rate hikes by the major central banks. The economy seemed like it would get worse before it got better, and the consensus was calling for a near-term recession. However, the stock market quickly shrugged off many of these concerns. Year-to-date as of August 31, the S&P 500 is up approximately 17% and NASDAQ is up approximately 34%. The S&P 500 is officially in a bull market (i.e., up at least 20% from its recent lows in October 2022). With the Federal Reserve and some economists no longer forecasting a recession[1], it makes one wonder what has changed in the last few months....

Education Funding as a Wealth Transfer Strategy: A Valuable, Narrow Opportunity

Education Funding as a Wealth Transfer Strategy: A Valuable, Narrow Opportunity

The cost of a college education is typically the first great expense a young person encounters.  According to the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (www.mefa.org), an average in-state public college will run roughly $24,000 for the 2023-2024 year and a little more than $100,000 for a four-year degree.  Meanwhile, the average private college will cost about $55,000 for a starting freshman and could total more than $230,000 over the course of four years.  Herbert Stein, an American economist, famously said, “If something cannot go on forever it will stop.”  The growth of college costs will peak at some point and then recede; when that will occur is much more difficult to predict. Until that time, we will address circumstances as they currently are—how to finance this significant expenditure and how to view saving for college as a wealth transfer strategy. For the purposes of this piece, we will assume that our future...

The Commercial Real Estate Landscape – Navigating Today’s Crosscurrents

The Commercial Real Estate Landscape – Navigating Today’s Crosscurrents

For more than three years, the United States economy has been working through a massive set of disruptions related to the COVID pandemic, the subsequent policy responses, and the second-order effects of those responses including a spike in inflation, interest rate volatility, evolving living and working patterns, and accelerating technological innovation. These disruptions have touched nearly all aspects of our daily lives with significant reverberations throughout the real estate industry. Real estate is inherently cyclical and highly dependent on capital markets and debt for liquidity. Commercial real estate in particular has seen tremendous impacts from these recent disruptive forces. Transaction volume initially dropped and subsequently skyrocketed during the pandemic as stimulus and historically low interest rates drove investors into any assets offering positive yields. As a result, valuations increased as investors drove pricing higher in auction processes. Rents, particularly in the apartment and industrial sectors, increased substantially due to strong...