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Don’t Expect ChatGPT to Transform the US Economy in the Next Decade

  • Artificial intelligence likely won’t transform the US economy in the next decade, Paul Krugman said.
  • “ChatGPT and whatever follows are probably an economic story for the 2030s,” he said in a NYT op-ed.
  • Krugman has noted ChatGPT could boost labor productivity by doing some jobs better than humans.

ChatGPT and its successors are unlikely to transform the US economy within the next decade, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman says.

“Large language models in their current form shouldn’t affect economic projections for next year and probably shouldn’t have a large effect on economic projections for the next decade,” the veteran economist said in a New York Times op-ed published on Friday.

“ChatGPT and whatever follows are probably an economic story for the 2030s, not for the next few years,” he continued, referring to the buzzy artificial-intelligence tool.

OpenAI’s chatbot has gripped the attention of investors since its inception last November. The hype has reignited interest in AI and lifted stocks in the sector including Nvidia, which has surged about 83% since the start of 2023.

ChatGPT has impressed crowds with its ability to spew out everything from dating tips to investing advice. But it has also raised concerns that it could fuel online bias, discrimination, and other consumer harms, according to The Federal Trade Commission.

Krugman has previously discussed ChatGPT’s implications, saying it may be able to do tasks like reporting and writing “more efficiently than humans.” In his latest column, he added that large language models, like ChatGPT, “will make the economy more productive but will also probably hurt some workers whose skills have been devalued.”

“But this time around, how large will these effects be? And how quickly will they come about?” he asked. “On the second, history suggests that large economic effects from AI will take longer to materialize than many people currently seem to expect,” Krugman said.

He used the example of the rise in computing power during the mid-1900s and its lagged effect on labor productivity.

“Not to put too fine a point on it, but anyone who predicts a radical acceleration of economic growth thanks to AI — which would lead to a large rise in tax receipts — and simultaneously predicts a future fiscal crisis unless we make drastic cuts to Medicare and Social Security isn’t making much sense,” Krugman said.

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