Robert Shiller, 12 March 2019

Jobs help to define a person's relationship to society and to self; with the threat that AI poses to jobs comes a fear of losing one's identity. Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller of Yale University argues that economists should focus more on the 'meaning of life' and look beyond the figures on the page.

Andreas Fuster, Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, Tarun Ramadorai, Ansgar Walther, 11 January 2019

The use of machine learning in credit allocation should allow lenders to better extend credit, but the shift from traditional to machine learning lending models may have important distributional effects for consumers. This column studies the effect of machine learning on mortgage lending in the US. It finds that machine learning would offer lower rates to racial groups who already were at an advantage under the traditional model, but it would also benefit disadvantaged groups by enabling them to obtain a mortgage in the first place.

Jacques Bughin, Christopher Pissarides, 02 January 2019

Europe’s social contracts to protect their citizens from socioeconomic risks are based on an inclusive growth model characterised by a more egalitarian view of revenue generation and distribution. But this model is under strain, with various global trends placing upward pressure on inequality that could intensify. This column suggests that keeping the essence of Europe’s current inclusive growth model does not preclude it from adapting its current social contracts to protect its citizens, whatever the disruptions that lie ahead.

Jacques Bughin, 23 December 2018

Advances in artificial intelligence have led to fears of job losses. This column uses a global survey covering more than 3,000 executives across 14 sectors and ten countries to examine the impact of AI on the demand side of the labour market. Ultimately, the effect on employment will depend on whether companies choose to use current forms of AI for innovation or pure automation, and whether they foresee a return from it.

Simeon Djankov, Federica Saliola, 23 November 2018

Over the last century, technology has created more jobs than it has displaced. This column presents an overview of ways in which technology and innovation are changing the nature of work, leading to demand for advanced cognitive skills and greater adaptability among workers. The rise of platform marketplaces is also changing the way people work and the terms on which they work, which requires a rethinking of social protection systems.

Claudia Biancotti, Paolo Ciocca, 23 October 2018

Calls for regulation of big tech are getting louder and louder. This column argues that policy proposals should be evaluated through the lens of their impact on the evolution of artificial intelligence. It proposes a holistic framework that encompasses consumer control over data, competition in product markets, incentives to innovation, and implications for international trade. It also highlights the role played by major big tech companies, and the threat of data and artificial intelligence monopolisation.

Erik Brynjolfsson, Xiang Hui, Meng Liu, 16 September 2018

Recent years have seen dramatic progress in the predictive power of artificial intelligence in many areas, including speech recognition, but empirical evidence documenting its concrete economic effects is largely lacking. This column analyses the effect of the introduction of eBay Machine Translation on eBay’s international trade. The results show that it increased US exports on eBay to Spanish-speaking Latin American countries by 17.5%. By overriding trade-hindering language barriers, AI is already affecting productivity and trade and has significant potential to increase them further.

Jacques Bughin, James Manyika, 07 September 2018

As artificial intelligence technologies become more effective and are rolled out across economies, it is important to assess how their diffusion will affect different economic stakeholders. This column argues that an AI divide may open up on three levels: individuals (workers), companies, and countries. Unless the transition to the new economics of the future is managed effectively, these divides may create a backlash against the adoption of AI technologies, despite their significant potential long-term benefits.

Shunsuke Managi, 14 August 2018

In Japan, as in many other countries, manufacturers are testing automated driving technology, and policymakers are considering how to implement it. This column discusses the demand for the technology in Japan, using a survey of consumers. Almost half intended to purchase automated vehicles or driving systems, but willingness to pay was below the likely additional cost. 

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The European Commission is pursuing major initiatives in artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity. The goal of the latter is to improve awareness and response to the growing cybersecurity threats, while the goal of former is to ensure Europe’s competitiveness in the development and use of AI. However, integrating the initiatives will strengthen both. AI provides attackers new cybersecurity vulnerabilities to exploit and new methods to automate cyberattacks. Conversely, AI is a powerful tool for automating cyber defenses, discovering unknown vulnerabilities, and augmenting the shortage of human workers available to address cybersecurity challenges. That is why AI should play a key role in the EU’s cybersecurity strategy, and why cybersecurity should be a major part of its AI strategy.

Join the Center for Data Innovation and a panel of experts for a conversation about how AI can help Europe secure its systems, and the steps Europe should take to build more secure AI.

Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb, 08 August 2018

Regardless of whether one adopts a pessimistic or optimistic view of artificial intelligence, policy will shape how it affects society. This column looks at both the policies that will influence the diffusion of AI and policies that will address its consequences. One of the most significant long-run policy issues relates to the potential for artificial intelligence to increase inequality. 

Richard Baldwin, Vesa Vihriälä, 19 December 2017

Despite the setbacks globalisation has faced in recent years from reactionary politics, the advent of artificial intelligence and robotisation are set to ensure its continuation. Domestic policy must therefore be designed in such a way as to reap the rewards of globalisation while avoiding its pitfalls. This column uses the case of Finland to show how this can be done. Finland has grown faster than its peers over two waves of globalisation, despite enduring substantial setbacks. In both its successes and challenges, it is an important example of the need for deliberate policies to prepare for future disruptions.

Jon Danielsson, 15 November 2017

Artificial intelligence is increasingly used to tackle all sorts of problems facing people and societies. This column considers the potential benefits and risks of employing AI in financial markets. While it may well revolutionise risk management and financial supervision, it also threatens to destabilise markets and increase systemic risk.

Nicholas Bloom, Chad Jones, John Van Reenen, Michael Webb, 20 September 2017

The rate of productivity growth in advanced economies has been falling. Optimists hope for a fourth industrial revolution, while pessimists lament that most potential productivity growth has already occurred. This column argues that data on the research effort across all industries shows the costs of extracting ideas have increased sharply over time. This suggests that unless research inputs are continuously raised, economic growth will continue to slow in advanced nations.

Yoko Konishi, 15 September 2017

The latest AI boom that started in 2012 shows no signs of fading, thanks to the recent availability of big data and widespread adoption of deep learning technologies. This column argues that this new combination of data and technology offers an unprecedented opportunity for society. AI will develop sustainably only if systems are in place to collect relevant data, and AI is not adopted for its own sake.

Jacques Bughin, Eric Hazan, 21 August 2017

Artificial intelligence has been around since the 1950s, and has gone through many cycles of hype and ‘winters’. Based on a survey of senior executives from over 3,000 companies in ten countries, this column describes how artificial intelligence is experiencing a new spring and is here to stay. The authors also argue that it can bring firm-level productivity and profit growth, with employment dynamics that may not be as bad as anticipated by some.

Hidemichi Fujii, Shunsuke Managi, 16 June 2017

Patent applications are a good indicator of the nature of technological progress. This column compares trends in applications for artificial intelligence patents in Japan and the US. One finding is that the Japanese market appears to be less attractive for artificial intelligence technology application, perhaps due to its stricter regulations on the collection and use of data.

Daron Acemoğlu, Pascual Restrepo, 05 July 2016

Many economists throughout history have been proven wrong in predicting that technological progress will cause irreversible damage to the labour market. This column shows that so far, the labour market has always adapted to the replacement of jobs with capital, using evidence of new types of skilled jobs between 1970 and 2007. As long as the rate of automation of jobs by machines and the creation of new complex tasks for workers are balanced, there will be no major labour market decline. The nature of new technology, and its impact on future innovation potential, has important implications for labour stability.

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