Art: Charter

Professor, Stanford

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Brynjolfsson stands out as a pivotal voice on digital technologies and their impact on businesses and the economy. In his provocative essay “The Turing Trap: The Promise & Peril of Human-Like Artificial Intelligence,” he warns about the excess incentives for automation over augmentation when it comes to AI. He argues that a focus on augmentation isn’t only better for workers; it’s better for progress. “Augmenting humans with technology opens an endless frontier of new abilities and opportunities,” he writes. “The set of tasks that humans and machines can do together is undoubtedly much larger than those humans can do alone.”

Brynjolfsson’s recent work looks at AI adoption patterns across US businesses and the performance improvements from generative AI among customer support agents. When it comes to the broader economy, Brynjolfsson expects to see an “AI-powered productivity boom” from the technology. “General-purpose technologies like electricity, the steam engine, early computers, often take a decade or more to translate into significant productivity gains because of all the changes you have to make in business processes and rescaling,” Brynjolfsson told Fortune last year. “This time it’s definitely happening faster.”

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