Artificial Intelligence in Society

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The artificial intelligence (AI) landscape has evolved significantly from 1950 when Alan Turing first posed the question of whether machines can think. Today, AI is transforming societies and economies. It promises to generate productivity gains, improve well-being and help address global challenges, such as climate change, resource scarcity and health crises. Yet, as AI applications are adopted around the world, their use can raise questions and challenges related to human values, fairness, human determination, privacy, safety and accountability, among others. This report helps build a shared understanding of AI in the present and near-term by mapping the AI technical, economic, use case and policy landscape and identifying major public policy considerations. It is also intended to help co-ordination and consistency with discussions in other national and international fora.

English Also available in: French, Korean, German


The economic landscape

This chapter describes the economic characteristics of artificial intelligence (AI) as an emerging general-purpose technology with the potential to lower the cost of prediction and enable better decisions. Through less expensive and more accurate predictions, recommendations or decisions, AI promises to generate productivity gains, improve well-being and help address complex challenges. Speed of adoption varies across companies and industries, since leveraging AI requires complementary investments in data, skills, digitalisation of workflows and the capacity to adapt organisational processes. Additionally, AI has been a growing target area for investment and business development. Private equity investment in AI start-ups has accelerated since 2016, doubling from 2016 to 2017 to reach USD 16 billion. AI start-ups attracted 12% of worldwide private equity investments in the first half of 2018, a significant increase from just 3% in 2011. Investment in AI technologies is expected to continue its upward trend as these technologies mature.

English Also available in: French, German

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