« All Episodes: Gigaom AI Minute – November 14

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I speak frequently about the ability of technology to improve human productivity and it’s those improvements in human productivity that drive our standard of living up. An hour of our time today yields more output than say an hour of time 50 or 100 years ago because we have more technology with which to multiply our labor. It does raise the challenging question, though, of what about the parts of the world where there is not technology? Where there are groups of people who will be expected to compete against an almost more technologically-advanced group without the benefits of that technology. Is that an inescapable result of the advances that parts of the world are making while others are not moving as quickly? I don’t think so.

I think the most exciting thing about new technologies is how widely dispersed they are and how inexpensive they are. A person with a smartphone has a supercomputer in their pocket and can have the very best doctor in their pocket, the very best architect, the very best lawyer—the very best of all of those things. They can use all of that knowledge that artificial intelligence can bring them just in that one device to increase their own productivity. I mean, the penetration rate of smartphones is incredibly high and rising. Many more people have smartphones than have access to plumbing, for instance. Additional technologies like efficient solar to generate power, 3D printing for localized production of parts, and all of the rest, I think, are empowering technologies that will enable people of all economic levels to improve the situation vastly.