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It's now a given that AI will transform our world. But who'll reap the benefits?

A common science fiction trope is that future technology will be centralized — governments will control information technology, or the rich will monopolize health care tech. Such stories, invariably, are dystopian.

Yet I believe that AI will be a leveler of the playing field, and a driver of equality, because of its incredibly declining price. By 2035, $1 million of today's computing power will cost $100. And $100 million worth of today's computing power will cost about $10,000 — less than an automobile.

That demonetization of computing (and thus AI) is profoundly democratizing. In the 1990s, we feared a "digital divide" between rich and poor. Today, more than 5 billion people have mobile phones, and more than half the world's adults are online. By 2035, high-bandwidth mobile devices thousands of times more powerful than today's computers — with plenty of power to run AI - will be in the hands of nearly every person on earth.

Bottom line: AI, like all digital technologies, is on a path for massive democratization. What remains to be seen is how billions of people will use it.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

6 mins ago - Health

U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record

Expand chart
Data: COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The country confirmed 1,049 additional deaths due to the virus, and there are over 46,000 people currently being hospitalized, suggesting the U.S. is experiencing a third wave heading into the winter months.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. Sports: MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
  5. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

The norms around science and politics are cracking

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Crafting successful public health measures depends on the ability of top scientists to gather data and report their findings unrestricted to policymakers.

State of play: But concern has spiked among health experts and physicians over what they see as an assault on key science protections, particularly during a raging pandemic. And a move last week by President Trump, via an executive order, is triggering even more worries.

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