On December 20, the White House released Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy, a new report that investigates how AI will likely transform job markets over time, and recommends policy responses to address AI’s impact on the US economy. This report is further evidence that AI is now reaching the kind of market impact that requires well thought out strategies by both business and government.
AI research has been around since the early days of IT, - having gone through ups and downs over the past several decades. But it’s recent advances based on machine learning and related data-driven technologies are still relatively new, making it hard to predict where AI will be heading over time.
Harder still is predicting AI’s longer term economic and societal impact. Think of anticipating the impact of the emerging Internet revolution back in the mid 1990s, before the advent of e-commerce and social media, let alone smartphones, IoT and cloud computing in the 2000s. That’s roughly where we are with AI today.
But, there’s one big difference. The Internet generated a fair degree of hype, especially in the dot-com era of the late 1990s, but the overriding feelings were ones of hope and excitement. Not so with AI. Along with admiration for its considerable accomplishments, - from assisting in the treatment of rare forms of cancer to self-driving cars, - there are serious fears that AI advances will lead to massive job losses, economic dislocations and social unrest.