AI and the Economy

Robert Seamans and Jason Furman

Is artificial intelligence (AI) having a large effect on the economy?  Seamans and Furman analyze a variety of statistics—including robotics shipments, AI startups, and patent counts—and find evidence of a large increase in AI-related activity.  The paper also reviews recent research in this area which suggests that AI and robotics have the potential to increase productivity growth but may have mixed effects on labor, particularly in the short run. In particular, some occupations and industries may do well while others experience labor market upheaval. The authors then consider current and potential policies around AI that may help to boost productivity growth while also mitigating any labor market downsides including evaluating the pros and cons of an AI specific regulator, expanded antitrust enforcement, and alternative strategies for dealing with the labor-market impacts of AI, including universal basic income and guaranteed employment.

NBER Working Paper No. 24689