For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"AI and the Economy"

by Furman, Jason; Seamans, Robert (2019)


We review the evidence that artificial intelligence (AI) is having a large effect on the economy. Across a variety of statistics—including robotics shipments, AI start-ups, and patent counts—there is evidence of a large increase in AI-related activity. We also review recent research in this area that suggests that AI and robotics have the potential to increase productivity growth but may have mixed effects on labor, particularly in the short run. In particular, some occupations and industries may do well while others experience labor market upheaval. We then consider current and potential policies around AI that may help to boost productivity growth while also mitigating any labor market downsides, including evaluating the pros and cons of an AI specific regulator, expanded antitrust enforcement, and alternative strategies for dealing with the labor market impacts of AI, including universal basic income and guaranteed employment.

Key Passage

One particular concern with AI is that the changes will happen so quickly that there will be sustained periods of time in which large segments of the population are not working (see Goolsbee [forthcoming] for a discussion of speed of adoption and Acemoglu and Restrepo [2016] for a useful model). These rapid changes, and the potential disruption to the workforce, suggest it is important that there are policies in place to support workers and retraining. (p.163)


Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Economics, Political Economy, Economic Growth, Technology, Universal Basic Income


Economics, AI and Computerisation

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