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

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 19,792,519— Total deaths: 730,089 — Total recoveries — 12,060,877Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 5,044,821 — Total deaths: 162,938 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says states don't have the funds to comply with Trump's executive order on unemployment — Mnuchin says Trump executive orders were cleared by Justice Department.
  4. States: New York reports lowest rate of positive coronavirus test results since pandemic began
  5. Public health: Ex-FDA head: U.S. will "definitely" see 200,000 to 300,000 virus deaths by end of 2020. 
  6. Schools: 97,000 children test positive for coronavirus in two weeks — Nine test positive at Georgia school where photo showing packed hallway went viral .

97,000 children test positive for coronavirus in two weeks

A boy has his temperature checked as he receives a free COVID-19 test in South Los Angeles in July. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

At least 97,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the final two weeks of July and there's been an estimated 338,000 cases involving kids in the U.S. since the pandemic began, a new report finds.

Why it matters: The findings in the report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association comes as schools and day cares look to reopen in the U.S., with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announcing Friday that school districts in the state can reopen in the fall amid lower coronavirus transmission rates.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested under national security law

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai at the Next Digital offices in Hong Kong in June. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai has been arrested for "collusion with foreign powers," said Mark Simon, an executive at the tycoon's media firm Next Digital Monday morning local time.

Why it matters: He was arrested under the new national security law that gives Beijing more powers over the former British colony. Lai is the most prominent person arrested under the law, which prompted the U.S. to sanction Chinese officials, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, over Beijing's efforts to strip the territory of its autonomy.