In an Op-Ed article in the Wall Street Journal on November 30, 2023, Mr. Kai-Fu Lee, CEO of 0.1.AI and Chairman of Sinivation Ventures, states, "Generative AI .... will revolutionize life in the 21st century." Like the printing press that helped spread knowledge, "Mr. Lee argues that "Generative AI will accelerate the creation of knowledge... and "that generative AI will unleash the greatest technology revolution ever."
"The greatest technology revolution ever"? Wow. Technological breakthroughs in computer hardware and software in the mid-1990s produced what has been called the "greatest technology revolution." Technology fundamentally changed commerce, work, communication, and many other fields.
The impact on the economy and finances was unprecedented. From 1996 to 1999, four consecutive years, booming business investment spending tied to technology propelled US GDP growth of over 4% each year, record profits, and wealth, and it did so without triggering a cyclical rise in inflation.
Can AI duplicate or exceed that growth and financial performance? For AI to generate the most significant technology revolution ever, business investment in intellectual property products will have to increase at least as fast as it did in the 1990s. So far, that is not happening, as business spending in that type of investment is running at an annual pace of only 4%. In the 1990s, business spending on intellectual property products posted double-digit growth for four consecutive years.
For AI to have the growth potential, Mr. Lee and others say it has investment spending must boom. Business spending on intellectual property products will become an important gauge of AI living up to the hype.