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On Friday, May 26, Chad Jones joined Markus’ Academy for a lecture on The A.I. Dilemma: Growth versus Existential Risk. Jones is The STANCO 25 Professor of Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Watch the full presentation below. You can watch all Markus’ Academy webinars on the Markus’ Academy YouTube channel.


[00:00] Introduction

[8:50] The dual nature of A.I.

[14:26] The simple model

[41:02] The richer model


  • A summary in four bullets
    • Prof. Jones’ working paper tries to study the unique dual nature of AI: it can deliver incredible economic gains while also presenting an existential threat.
    • We covered two models where the social planner chooses whether to use A.I. 
    • The first model makes the tradeoff between risk and reward clear. With a log utility and a high-level parametrization, we obtain that the social planner would use A.I. for 40 years to have consumption grow by a factor of 55 (roughly the amount of growth seen in the last 2000 years), at the cost of a 1/3 chance of extinction.
    • The second model focuses on the possibility of infinite economic growth (singularities) and the possibility that the A.I. could improve the life expectancy of the population. Interestingly, the planner is much more willing to use A.I. and risk extinction to improve life expectancy.
    • Download the full summary