The Policy Challenge of Artificial Intelligence

By James Bessen

The new technologies of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” promise to bring major policy challenges. Perhaps the biggest challenge that new information technologies pose to intellectual property and antitrust policy is their effect on the diffusion of knowledge. Increasingly, large firms are becoming more dominant in their markets and information technology is a major reason for this. This marks a slowdown in the diffusion of technical knowledge that results in rising industry concentration, slower average productivity growth, and growing wage inequality. Both IP law and antitrust law pay heed to balancing innovation incentives against the need for disclosure and competition. The policy challenge of new information technologies is to restore that balance.