In their new book, Power and Prediction, on the disruptive economics of artificial intelligence (AI), authors Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb write about the ‘between times’ between an important new discovery and the time it takes for that discovery to go mainstream. In 1879, Thomas Edison demonstrated the potential of the electric light bulb to change the world, yet 20 years later only 3% of US households had electricity. It would take another 20 years for that number to reach 50% of the population. For electricity the ‘between times’ were 40 years. This prompted the authors to wonder how long the ‘between times’ will be for AI.
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