THE FT COLUMN: Artificial intelligence and the productivity paradox
Can three apparently contradictory stories be true? Apparently they can, writes John Thornhill
Talk to a bunch of economists and they will doubtless tell you that poor productivity growth is the scourge of our age. Lounge in the back of a limo with some chief executives, on the other hand, and they will enthuse about how new technologies are transforming corporate productivity. Track down some experts in artificial intelligence and they may well babble on about standing on the brink of a productivity revolution. If we ever reach the point of technological singularity - when computers outsmart humans - productivity growth will accelerate exponentially. From that moment, a computer superintelligence will rapidly discover everything left to discover. This Master Algorithm, as the author - a computer science professor at the University of Washington - Pedro Domingos calls it, will be the last invention that man makes. It will be able to derive all knowledge in the world - past, present, and future - from data.