they are telling us generative AI will boost productivity so we ignore the fact the sky is falling

This is the kind of stuff that drives me crazy:

In a new study, Brynjolfsson, and Raymond and Li show that generative AI significantly impacts labour productivity in certain jobs. The research reveals that generative AI can boost productivity by 14% and enhance lower-performing employees’ performance.

The technology accelerates the learning curve, enabling workers to gain six months of experience within just two months.¹ Putting the machine in reverse. The mess we create we made the mess worse and then have not taken steps to make the mess less of a mess. I spoke with authors Erik Brynjolfsson (Director of Stanford Digital Economy Lab) and Lindsey Raymond (MIT).


  • Generative AI systems can improve productivity by 14% in certain office roles and raise the performance of lower-performing employees.
  • AI accelerates the learning curve, allowing workers to gain six months of experience in just two months.

A Goldman Sachs paper suggested that generative AI could improve productivity in the US by 1.5 to 2.9% over a 10-year period. Globally, this could translate to a 7% growth in GDP. In the context of the UK and US economies, this means an additional $210 billion and $1.6 trillion, respectively.

Source: public and newsletters

Why does this drive me crazy?

First. This is indicative of people crafting a silver lining in the midst of a torrential downpour. Everyone knows automation is going to cost people jobs and they also know that the existing business world is fairly unhealthy in terms of productivity, meaning and worker engagement, but, lets ignore all of that and bolt on some widgets and ask workers to produce more. Business will ignore structural flaws because now they have a short term success story to point to. Its nuts.

Second. This is the type of short term thinking shit that has driven business down a fairly nonproductive path for quite some time. Once again business will take advantage of some short term productivity widget and then, well, it plateaus and they either grab onto the next short term whizbang thing or they just say the heck with it and automate (note: they will). Yeah. Ignore the short term stuff, I just told you the long term future of work. That is not a prediction. It just is.

I am not suggesting all this new technology doesn’t have some good attributes and benefits, just that focusing on productivity is not what we should be focused on at the moment.

Written by Bruce