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Are We Approaching An Economic Singularity? IT And The Future Of Economic Growth

Are We Approaching An Economic Singularity? Information Technology And The Future Of Economic Growth

William D. Nordhaus

Yale University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

September 9, 2015

Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 2021

Abstract:

What are the prospects for long-run economic growth?, the present study looks at a more recently launched hypothesis, which I label Singularity. The idea here is that rapid growth in computation and artificial intelligence will cross some boundary or Singularity after which economic growth will accelerate sharply as an ever-accelerating pace of improvements cascade through the economy. The paper develops a growth model that features Singularity and presents several tests of whether we are rapidly approaching Singularity. The key question for Singularity is the substitutability between information and conventional inputs. The tests suggest that the Singularity is not near.

Are We Approaching An Economic Singularity? Information Technology And The Future Of Economic Growth - Introduction

What are the prospects for long-run economic growth? One prominent line of economic thinking is the trend toward stagnation. Stagnationism has a long history in economics, beginning prominently with Malthus and surfacing occasionally in different guises. Prominent themes here are the following: Will economic growth slow and perhaps even reverse under the weight of resource depletion? Will overpopulation and...


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