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IT as % of GDP in Q4 2030

This question is part of the Maximum Likelihood Round of the Forecasting AI Progress Tournament. You can view all other questions in this round here.

Electricity, internal combustion engines, and semiconductors facilitated automation in the last century, but AI now seems poised to automate many tasks once thought to be out of reach, from driving cars to making medical recommendations and beyond.

However, measured productivity growth has actually declined by half over the past decade [2]. To some extent, this may be evidence that information technology and other conventional stuff (non-informational inputs or outputs) aren't actually so cheaply or widely substitutable [3].

The prospects of growth of tech and automation may also be constrained by Baumol’s “cost disease”: sectors with rapid productivity growth are able to charge lower prices and subsequently have their share of GDP decline, whilst those with relatively slow productivity growth experience increases in their share of the value contributed to the economy. This might effectively cap the rate of growth of the value of tech as a proportion of the total economy [4].

Brynjolfsson et al. [5] have argued that recent progress in AI and automation might well be radically productivity enhancing, but this might yet go largely unnoticed because of an implementation lag: it takes considerable time to be able to sufficiently harness technologies with broad potential application that they qualify as general purpose technologies. Will the economic data bear this out sometime soon?

What percent will software and information services contribute to US GDP in Q4 of 2030?

This question resolves the the percentage of total US GDP that is contributed by "Publishing industries, except internet (includes software)" and "[Data processing, internet publishing, and other information services]" according to seasonally adjusted data by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

in Q2 of 2020, "Publishing industries, except internet (includes software)" generated $315.7bn and "Data processing, internet publishing, and other information services" generated $285.3bn (both at annual rates). Total annualised GDP for Q2 2020 was $19,520.1bn. Hence, the question for Q2 2020 would resolve as 3.08%.

Historical data may be found here.


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