For Work / Against Work
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"Artificial intelligence: neither Utopian nor apocalyptic impacts soon"

by Naudé, Wim (2021)


ABSTRACTAfter a number of AI-winters, AI is back with a boom. There are concerns that it will disrupt society. The immediate concern is whether labor can win a ?race against the robots? and the longer-term concern is whether an artificial general intelligence (super-intelligence) can be controlled. This paper describes the nature and context of these concerns, reviews the current state of the empirical and theoretical literature in economics on the impact of AI on jobs and inequality, and discusses the challenge of AI arms races. It is concluded that despite the media hype neither massive jobs losses nor a ?Singularity? is imminent. In part, this is because current AI, based on deep learning, is expensive and difficult for most businesses to adopt, not only displaces but in fact also create jobs, and may not be the route to a super-intelligence. Thus AI is unlikely to have either Utopian or apocalyptic impacts soon. Considering Amara's Law, one should however be wary not to underestimate the long-run impacts of AI.


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