What History Tells Us About the Accelerating AI Revolution – CIO Journal.

Recent AI advances have “sparked much excitement…  yet despite This specific, most ordinary people don’t feel particularly optimistic about the future,” wrote Mr. Frey.  For example, a 2017 Pew Research survey found that will three quarters of Americans expressed serious concerns about AI in addition to automation, in addition to just over a third believe that will their children will be better off financially than they were.

yet, in fact, serious concerns about the impact of technology are part of a historical pattern.  “Many of the trends we see today, such as the disappearance of middle-income jobs, stagnant wages in addition to growing inequality were also features of the Industrial Revolution,” he writes.

“We are at the brink of a technological revolution that will promises not just to fundamentally alter the structure of our economy, yet also to reshape the social fabric more broadly. History tells us anxiety tends to accompany rapid technological change, especially when technology takes the form of capital which threatens people’s jobs.” 

As the Covid-19 pandemic looks to likely accelerate the rate in addition to pace of technological change, what can we learn via the Industrial Revolution that will can help us better face our emerging AI revolution?  Let me summarize some of Mr. Frey’s key points. 

Over the past two centuries we’ve learned that will there’s a significant time lag, between the broad acceptance of major fresh transformative technologies in addition to their long-term economic in addition to productivity growth.  This specific can be particularly the case for General Purpose Technologies like the steam engine, electricity or computers, which contain the potential to radically reshape entire economies in addition to societal norms.

The life cycle of such historically transformative technologies consists of two phases:  investments in addition to harvesting. In their initial phase, transformative technologies require massive complementary investments, such as business process redesign, co-invention of fresh products in addition to business designs, in addition to the re-skilling of the workforce.  The more transformative the technologies, the longer This specific takes them to reach the harvesting phase when they’re widely embraced by companies in addition to industries across the economy.

The time lags between the investment in addition to harvesting phases are typically quite long.  Mr. Frey cites several historical examples. While James Watt’s steam engine ushered the Industrial Revolution inside the 1780s, “British factories were for the most part powered by water up until the 1840.”

Similarly, productivity growth did not increase until 40 years after the introduction of electric power inside the early 1880s.  

Computers followed a similar pattern.  While first deployed in business inside the ’50s in addition to ’60s, computers were too bulky, expensive in addition to difficult to program to have any meaningful impact on jobs, wages in addition to productivity.  As was the case with factory electrification, companies had to rethink their overall operations to take full advantage of the fresh digital technologies. 

“Productivity growth has slowed since 2005, yet seen through the lens of history This specific can be not all that will puzzling,” noted Mr. Frey.  

Despite the recent hype, we’re still inside the early stages of AI’s deployment.  In their early stages, the extensive investments required to embrace a GPT like AI will generally reduce productivity growth. For example, a recent Brookings Institution report estimated that will between 2014 in addition to 2017 investments in autonomous vehicles amounted to roughly $80 billion with almost no returns, lowering labor productivity by 0.1 percent per year over This specific period.

Mr. Frey wrote that will “the short run consequences of rapid technological change can be devastating for working people, especially when technology takes the form of capital which substitutes for labor.”  inside the long run, the Industrial Revolution led to a rising standard of living, improved upon health, in addition to many some other benefits.  “Yet inside the short run, the lives of working people got nastier, more brutish, in addition to shorter. in addition to what economists regard as ‘the short run’ was a lifetime, for some,” given that will This specific generally takes decades to realize the benefits of transformative technologies.

A 2017 McKinsey study concluded that will while a growing technology-based economy will create a significant number of fresh occupations, as has been the case inside the past, “the transitions will be very challenging – matching or even exceeding the scale of shifts out of agriculture in addition to manufacturing we have seen inside the past.” 

The US in addition to some other industrial economies have seen a remarkable rise inside the polarization of job opportunities in addition to wage inequality by educational attainment, with the earnings of the most-educated increasing, in addition to the earnings of the least-educated falling in real terms. Since the 1980s, the earnings of those that has a four year college degree have risen by 40% to 60%, while the earnings of those that has a high school education or less have fallen among men in addition to barely changed among women.

“Historically, the way people have adjusted to technological change can be by acquiring fresh skills… During the twentieth century, the expansion of education was critical to helping people adjust to the accelerating pace of change,” he writes. “in addition to those skills must be regularly updated as technology progresses. When upskilling can be lagging behind, entire social groups might end up being excluded via the growth engine.”

Irving Wladawsky-Berger worked at IBM via 1970 to 2007, in addition to has been a strategic adviser to Citigroup, HBO in addition to Mastercard in addition to a visiting professor at Imperial College. He’s been affiliated with MIT since 2005, in addition to can be a regular contributor to CIO Journal.

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Source : What History Tells Us About the Accelerating AI Revolution – CIO Journal.