June 6th, 2016

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: Macroeconomics of Robots

Economics & Politics

There are two opposing narratives of the “robot revolution,” by which I mean the rising productivity and falling costs of smart ICT-enabled systems, including robots, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, remote monitoring and sensing, and other ICT-based systems.  In the positive narrative, highly productive robots do the work of humans, thereby raising output, productivity, leisure, and wellbeing.  In the negative narrative, robots eliminate jobs, raising unemployment while lowering real wages and wellbeing.  Not only are both narratives coherent; they may occur simultaneously, with richer households boosted by robots while poorer households are immiserized.  This brief note clarifies these opposing outcomes.

To read the full text, please download the PDF here. Please note this is a preliminary draft, check if you’d like to use for quotation.

This paper builds upon earlier work here:
(1) Robots: Curse or Blessing? A Basic Framework (Jeffrey D. Sachs, Seth G. Benzell, Guillermo LaGarda)
(2) How to Live Happily with Robots (Jeffrey Sachs)
(3) Smart Machines and Long-Term Misery (Jeffrey D. Sachs Laurence J. Kotlikoff)
(4) Robots Are Us (Seth G. Benzell Laurence J. Kotlikoff Guillermo LaGarda Jeffrey D. Sachs)


Related Articles:


Previous post:

Next post: