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8 takeouts on the impact of AI+Robotics in emerging countries.

Thanks to fellow i4j member – Virgilio Almeida who recently attended a conference in Brazil the impact of AI+robotics on the future of jobs in emerging economies. The focus was to discuss the impact on 1) economy, 2) society and on the 3) process of doing science in emerging countries. 

Key Takeouts 

  1.  If wages reflect productivity similarly, the incentives to robotize would be the same in developed and developing  worlds. There was a lot of discussion on the positive impact of AI+Robotics on the productivity of emerging economies. 
  2. Some of the panelists were concerned that some government could try to create barriers to import robots as a way of protecting local jobs. ( Ik comment:- Government’s created tariffs to protect industries – as they have progressively been removed by a country – it seems that the country is better off – focussing on doing what they do well in a free economy) 
  3. Artificial intelligence + improved computerization + robotics based on biological analogies→ better machine substitutes for humans: higher elasticity of substitution. Freeman.
  4. Technological change reduces costs of robot substitutes for humans over time, bounding wages: W < Production cost of robot substitute for any given task. Freeman
  5. Who owns the robots rules the world! Richard Freeman
  6. Shift of work on-line gives AI edge in its digital world; while improved sensors give robots abilities to see and change our off-line world.
  7. what is the impact of  robots replacing humans in a market economy: robots do not consume! Impact on emerging economies (Freeman):
  8. If you are paying workers $35 per hour to produce some good or service it surely pays off to buy a robot substitute that does the same work at $20 an hour. But what if the wage is $3.50 per hour? Keep the worker employed and forego robotization? Not necessarily.The economics requires that one compares the cost of the robot and workers in cost per unit produced. If the $35 per hour worker is 10 times as efficient as the $3.50 worker, the incentive for buying the robot is the same in both countries. In the high wage country, the firm would displace one worker and gain $15 per hour in profit. In the low wage country the firm would displace10 workers and also gain $15 per hour.


If you are interested, let me know and I will ask Virgilio to share his report with you 

Some benefits of AI in 3rd world countries
  1. Drones that pick inaccessible crops and 
  2. Mobile phones  give medical advice 
  3. Remotely guiding local residents to perform intricate operations usually done by surgeons (hairlip surgery)
If you are interested, let me know and I will ask Virgilio to share his report. 


Posted on November 5, 2017

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