Mind the Gap Between the Present and the Future
As our world becomes more automated, and tech giants’ products become a usual part of our life, the consequences of such rapid development can be seen mostly in retrospect. The substantial rise of inequality within the society and between states in past decades is being heavily attributed to the simultaneous rise of technological business development. This article will approach this topic from one of the roots of the technological advantages of the Big Tech companies, which is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
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In general, the most fascinating tech news and discoveries of the past few years are more or less connected to AI and how it progressively becomes more efficient and smart. Take for example the Alpha Code competitive coder AI, which was ranked within the top 54% of human coders (Deepmind, 2022). Big Tech companies, such as Google or Facebook, have been using AI extensively to create more targeted social media, advertisement, and customer experiences, while Tesla steps forward with self-driving automobiles and enhances machine capabilities to be more efficient than a human. All of them in one way or another use it as an advantage for maximising the efficiency of their businesses. It not only eliminates the big competition but also creates technological pressures for inequality to take place.
Besides income inequality, AI and its progressive development widen the gap of knowledge inequality, not only between people of different social classes but also between developed and developing countries. In a time of what is believed to be the next technological revolution, not all countries and businesses have developed enough to catch up, and countries that are at the forefront of AI development will disproportionately benefit from it in a new market. McKinsey Global Institute’s analysis of the impact of AI on the world economy states that leading AI countries will potentially claim up to 25 percent of net economic benefits (Bughin et. al. 2018).
On a social level, according to the US National Bureau of Economic Research, the integration of AI affected a 50 to 70 percent decline in wages, especially in the industries that switch from human low education labour to automated machinery. It implies that the blue-collar workers will have fewer possibilities to stay relevant to the labour market demands in comparison to, for example, people with a postgraduate degree level of education (Acemoglu and Restrepo, 2021). A tight income situation and working multiple jobs creates little to no window of time and resources for further education or change of profession.
How can we bridge this gap? This is one of the toughest questions that we will need to find the answer to soon. The main concern is not only in the differences emerging within the economic performance of people and states, but also in the inability to get the knowledge and skills necessary to work in an AI environment.
Acemoglu, D. and Restrepo, P., 2021. Tasks, automation, and the rise in USus wage inequality (No. w28920). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Bughin, J., Seong, J., Manyika, J., Chui, M. and Joshi, R., 2018. Notes from the AI frontier: Modeling the impact of AI on the world economy. McKinsey Global Institute.
Deepmind. 2022. Competitive programming with AlphaCode. [Oonline]. Available at:https://deepmind.com/blog/article/Competitive-programming-with-AlphaCode.