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Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Real Payoff From Artificial Intelligence Is Still a Decade Off | Argument - Analytics Insight

Edoardo Campanella, Future World fellow at IE University’s Center for the Governance of Change in Madrid insist, "The robot revolution hasn't started yet."

Photo: GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

It has been 21 years since IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer checkmated chess champion Garry Kasparov, marking a historic moment in the development of artificial intelligence technologies. Since then, artificial intelligence has invaded everyday objects, such as cell phones, cars, fridges, and televisions. But the world economy seems to have little to show for the proliferation of smartness. Among advanced economies, productivity growth is slower now than at any time in the past five decades. National GDPs and standards of living, meanwhile, have been relatively stagnant for years.

This situation poses something of a riddle: Previous waves of technical innovation have come with rising productivity and, in turn, leaps forward in economic growth and well-being. For example, once electricity became widespread in the United States in the 20th century, labor productivity started growing at an annual rate of 4 percent—almost four times higher than the current rate.

There are two schools of thought about today’s productivity puzzle. On the one hand are techno-pessimists, such as Northwestern University professor Robert Gordon, who believe that today’s technologies are the issue. The six innovations that powered economic growth from 1870 to 1970—electricity, urban sanitation, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, the internal combustion engine, and modern communications technologies—the thinking goes, were simply more transformative than, say, Siri.

On the other hand are techno-optimists who counter that today’s innovationscloud computing, big data, and the “internet of things,” which are at the heart of the artificial intelligence revolution—are, indeed, transformative and that their benefits are already being enjoyed by firms and consumers around the world. The problem, scholars such as British economists Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake argue, is that national accounting statistics simply cannot capture those benefits. The concept of GDP first emerged in the 1930s to measure economies that were primarily devoted to the production of tangible goods. Intangible goods and services, by contrast, increasingly dominate today’s economies. If GDP figures properly tallied the intangible economy, the argument goes, then productivity growth would look much better...

But be patient. If history is any guide, the payoff from artificial intelligence will come at some point—probably not before 2030. So, until then, use the time to learn skills robots will not yet be able to master.

Source: Analytics Insight