Economics

Topic updates

Will AI kill developing world growth?

Geoff Riley

18th April 2019

Ian Goldin's article here supports his recent analysis programme on BBC radio 4 and it is well worth a read.

The rapid advance of artificial intelligence and robotics has the potential to accelerate development progress in some aspects - for example in helping to deliver basic medical services much more quickly to millions of people at affordable cost. But Goldin argues there are significant risks to development from AI. One is a brain drain of highly skilled younger people including software engineers from emerging and developing countries to rich nations where most of the investment in AI is focused.

A second threat is that robotics may increase the risk of premature deindustrialisation - i.e. take away the demand for routine assembly and processing tasks associated with traditional manufacturing. Many lower-middle income countries rely on industrialisation to increase formal employment and waged labour.

There are risks too for developed countries from AI - many routine service sector / white collar jobs are under threat too. But Goldin's particular focus on development issues is a welcome addition to the debate.

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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