Stories by Ramez Naam, author

Expert Voices

AI will democratize our future

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.

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