Who will benefit from AI?

MIT economist Daron Acemoglu warns that society is moving towards a future where AI replaces jobs, reinforces economic inequality, and concentrates political power in the hands of the ultra-wealthy. However, there is an alternate future where AI augments human workers, creating productivity gains and spreading prosperity. Acemoglu emphasizes that major innovations, like AI, are tied to societal power and control. The economic benefits of AI can either be shared broadly or enrich a narrow elite. When AI augments workers instead of replacing them, prosperity can spread to the workforce. Acemoglu argues that the objective is to make machines more useful to humans, not intelligent in and of themselves. He discusses historical examples to show that the benefits of technology are not guaranteed and depend on how it is implemented. Acemoglu advocates for a future where technological innovation helps workers and spreads economic growth, accompanied by shared prosperity. He acknowledges the erosion of worker power and the need for worker involvement in shaping the implementation of AI. Acemoglu also raises concerns about the impact of AI on developing countries and the potential negative consequences of AI surveillance and information gathering.

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