On the Promises and Perils of Smithian Growth: From the Pin Factory to AI
While promoting the use of market forces to allocate resources, Adam Smith was dismayed by the market power of large manufacturing and trading companies and of banks in his time. So, to protect the interest of society at large, he advocated government intervention to check monopoly power and excess risk-taking. Recent development of artificial intelligence poses these issues afresh in our time. Should control of the development and distribution of AI be left in the hands of large private corporations? As Steve Hawking noted: ‘Success in creating AI (artificial intelligence) would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks.’ Protection of society is paramount: the issue is how best to regulate.
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