In my previous video, I asked whether large language models (LLMs) could change the business model of the web.
Taking a broader perspective, I now want to examine the extent to which LLMs and similar technologies will fundamentally reshape our economies. I’ll specifically address whether LLMs, like OpenAI’s “generative pre-trained transformer 4”, can be considered general-purpose technologies (GPTs).1
Economists classify GPTs as powerful technologies that fundamentally alter cost structures in economies, with extensive long-term effects that trigger significant changes in societies and political systems. Examples include steam power and electricity. I explore these ideas further in my book Exponential (released as The Exponential Age in the US).
Should we consider LLMs as GPTs? And if so, are the conditions right for a technological revolution?