Toy robots

Humaniser un futur inhumain

WASHINGTON, DC – Cela fait longtemps déjà que la question de l'impact de percées technologiques telles que l'intelligence artificielle sur le fonctionnement de nos économies et marchés du travail est devenu un sujet brûlant. Mais le livre récent de Jerry Kaplan Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence m’a réellement impressionné en donnant la vraie dimension des enjeux socio-économiques.

Un exemple relativement bien connu de l'impact de la révolution numérique sur le fonctionnement des marchés est la possibilité de gagner d'énormes profits grâce au trading à haute vitesse, en étant une microseconde « en avance » sur tout le monde. Un autre exemple est la capacité de discrimination par les prix qu’ont développée les nouveaux créateurs de marchés électroniques comme Uber, qui s’approprient ainsi chaque centime du « surplus du consommateur », vieux concept de la théorie microéconomique. Bientôt, un nouveau type d’Uber amélioré pourrait émerger, regroupant voyages en voiture, bus, bateau et avion, ainsi que chambres d'hôtel, dans un super-app. En fait, c’est exactement ce sur quoi travaillent en ce moment certains constructeurs automobiles.

Une question clé est de savoir pourquoi la bonne vieille concurrence ne fait pas disparaître rapidement ces bénéfices. La réponse se trouve souvent dans le modèle commercial de ces entreprises. Ces dernières empruntent beaucoup à leur lancement, accumulent des coûts fixes importants et offrent des prix si bas au départ qu'elles perdent de l'argent. Cela leur permet de développer leurs activités pratiquement sans concurrence, jusqu'à avoir mis en place ce qui est essentiellement un monopole. À ce moment, elles peuvent alors augmenter les prix et pratiquer relativement librement la discrimination par les prix.

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