Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb (eds) The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: An Agenda

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By Ekkehard Ernst

The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: An Agenda edited by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb (2019) 648pp., $US150 (hardback) University of Chicago Press, Chicago, ISBN 9780226613338

Discussions on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on society and the economy have become paramount. With the rapid rise in patents and applications around machine learning and big data since the early 2010s, observers, analysts and policy makers increasingly wonder about the speed, scope and scale at which AI will induce change. Combining the numerical power of modern computers with the ubiquity of data covering all forms of our economic, social and political lives, and using sophisticated mathematical and statistical techniques to extract key patterns of human behaviour have fuelled the imagination of many – technologists, economists, politicians and social engineers alike. Extreme views – both pessimistic and optimistic – seem to dominate the current debate, including the possibility of yet another return to an ‘AI winter’ (a term coined at a workshop of scientists back in 1956), referring to extended periods in the past of slow or no scientific and technical progress in AI.

page: 191 – 197
Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 37, Issue 2
SKU: 370209

This paper is available for download on JSTOR

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