Free Time is a Relative Term in Academia
"I have joined HSE very recently and I have not started to teach yet. I heard great things about the HSE students and I am quite excited to work with them through the courses I will offer or research projects" - assistant professor Kemal Kıvanç Aköz shares with a bachelor student Jonibek Issomidiinov his answers on what is modern and future economics, and provides advice to HSE students
How did you decide to become an economist and work in academia, when and what was the reason for that?
I was an undergraduate student in Economics. I went to a career fair and asked the exhibitors about what I could do with an Economics degree, when I graduate. Answers usually included working in a financial or accounting department of some company. Some of the options were quite interesting; however, I thought I should be doing something that is more intellectually involved. Academia seemed as the perfect fit for that.
What do you think helped you most on this way?
I would say being stubborn in not giving up when I face a failure or difficulty.
Do you expect economics to become less or more influential science it the future
Every economic crisis hurts the credibility of economists; yet, economists are increasingly consulted for their policy suggestions in getting out of the crisis. I don’t expect the economic crises to be any less frequent in the future. Therefore, this love-hate relationship that the society has with economists will, I think, continue to exist for some time.
Will AI replace economists?
Advancements in computing technologies have already transformed the discipline a lot. It is only natural to expect that further advancements will transform the discipline even further. The reliance on self-correcting computing algorithms will probably increase in the future. However, I am confident in economists in inventing new research questions that cannot be easily addressed with the existing algorithms.
What is the most perspective field in economics?
Do you mean the field with the highest potential?
Our relationship with information is changing. Collecting and processing large amounts of detailed personal data become more and more central part of any level of governance. On the other hand, behavioral economics and field policy experiments are also gaining momentum in the discipline. I believe that a combination of analysis with and of micro-level “big data” and field experiments with behavioral perspective would be a central part of economics and economic policy.
How teaching economics will change in some near future?
Historically, economics education was also perceived as a way of teaching the “laws of economics” to the students. This had made economics education partially an ideological tool to convey pro-market ideals. However, I think this is changing towards a more neutral path.
Economics is maturing away from the phase of “social physics” that searches for the laws of society. Instead, I think Economics is evolving into a collection of numerous scientific methods and analyses of various socio-economic problems. As a result, the economics education will probably include less of grand conclusions about economic systems but more of methods of socio-economic analysis and policy.
How do you spend your free time?
Free time is a relative term in academia. I usually try to follow cultural events such as concerts, exhibitions, performances etc. as much as I can. Since I am new to Moscow, I still need time to discover what Moscow has to offer in this regard.
What would be your advice to HSE students, what is that they would benefit most while in college?
I may not be the best person to advise on that as someone who spent most of his college years in the library or with philosophy club. However, I can say that acquiring some extracurricular skills or hobbies would not only enrich the college experience but also contribute a lot to the quality of life after graduation.