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Trade and technology

Artificial intelligence: How to maximize economic, social, and trade opportunities


Published 27 May 2019 | 1 minute read

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a set of processes that enable productivity improvements. This Brookings Institute policy primer by Joshua Meltzer highlights seven steps for maximizing the economic, social and trade impacts of artificial intelligence in business. Support for this report was provided by the Hinrich Foundation.

According to recent estimates, AI could more than double the economic output in developed economies by 2030 and increase the share of services in international trade. AI will also have economic and social costs, transforming economic sectors and jobs.

Some governments have recognized the potential of AI and its transition costs, and they are supporting AI research and development, as well as preparing their workforce. Last week, thirty six OECD countries signed their first intergovernmental standard for AI policies.

Others economies are lagging behind. By leading on AI adoption, advanced economies could erode developing countries’ comparative advantage in some manufacturing sectors.

The development of AI as an efficiency multiplier in those economies is therefore critical, and it will require creating an enabling regulatory environment that covers ethics, data access and storage, privacy, cybersecurity, intellectual property rules. Developing strategies to tackle social concerns will also be important.

The Brookings Institute’s latest policy primer by Joshua Meltzer highlights seven steps for maximizing AI’s economic, social and trade opportunities.


Joshua Meltzer is a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution. 

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