Are We Approaching an Economic Singularity? Information Technology and the Future of Economic Growth

49 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2015 Last revised: 25 Sep 2015

See all articles by William D. Nordhaus

William D. Nordhaus

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

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Date Written: September 2015

Abstract

What are the prospects for long-run economic growth? The present study looks at a 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.

Suggested Citation

Nordhaus, William D., Are We Approaching an Economic Singularity? Information Technology and the Future of Economic Growth (September 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21547. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2660006

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