The Forthcoming Artificial Intelligence (AI) Revolution: Its Impact on Society and Firms

Makridakis, Spyros (2017-01-11)

Working Paper

The impact of the industrial and digital (information) revolutions has, undoubtedly, been substantial on practically all aspects of our society, life, firms and employment. Will the forthcoming AI revolution produce similar, far-reaching effects? By examining analogous inventions of the industrial, digital and AI revolutions, this article claims that the latter is on target and that it would bring extensive changes that will also affect all aspects of our society and life. In addition, its impact on firms and employment will be considerable, resulting in richly interconnected organizations with decision making based on the analysis and exploitation of “big” data and intensified, global competition among firms. People will be capable of buying good and obtaining services from anywhere in the world using the Internet, and exploiting the unlimited, additional benefits that will open through the widespread usage of AI inventions. The paper concludes that significant competitive advantages will continue to accrue to those utilizing the Internet widely and willing to take entrepreneurial risks in order to turn innovative products/services into worldwide commercial success stories. The greatest challenge facing societies and firms would be utilising the benefits of availing AI technologies, providing vast opportunities for both new products/services and immense productivity improvements while avoiding the dangers and disadvantages in terms of increased unemployment and greater wealth inequalities.

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