Risks and rewards: Scenarios around the economic impact of machine learning
There is more uncertainty around advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and one of its major sub-sets, machine learning, than the current debate suggests, particularly with regard to the technology’s impact on society and the economy. No doubt the advances have indeed been incredible and advocates are right to highlight them. However, not everyone views this as an unalloyed good. In fact, there is great concern that AI poses a threat to jobs, privacy, and, eventually, even humanity.
The problem is that both sides—the supporters of AI and its opponents, the champions and the naysayers—often deploy hyperbole to further their view. As a result, much of the current debate AI has become an either/or proposition. Either it will lead inexorably towards a utopian future or it will be the cause of our demise.
The truth probably lies somewhere in between and The Economist Intelligence Unit, with sponsorship from Google, has conducted research to identify the middle ground by developing quantitative and qualitative scenarios on the impact of machine learning for a select number of countries and industries. The findings are based on econometric modelling, desk research and interviews with academic and industry experts.
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Chris Clague is a senior editor for The Economist Intelligence Unit's thought leadership division in Asia. He is an expert in international trade and trade policy and has also advised clients throughout the Asian region on the strategic implications of megatrends and political risk. He was a consultant in The EIU’s Tokyo office and was the project leader and editor for the EIU/Nikkei BP publication The World to 2050 (available in Japanese only).
Prior to joining The EIU, he was a senior consultant and Director of China Operations for a boutique consulting firm that worked with governments and MNCs on issues related to international trade, investment, and commodities.
Chris holds an MSc in Asian Politics from the London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and a certificate in International Trade Law and Economics from the World Trade Institute’s summer academy. He provides regular commentary on trade and the Japanese economy to international media.