can ai be termed as general purpose technology


General Purpose Technology AI: With the major advancements in the field of Artificial Intelligence, particularly in the last decade, AI can be seen in every aspect of our life. From being used in next-level research studies world scientists to a bot like Siri or Alexa, AI has been greatly molded into our lives.

To take on AI as a General Purpose Technology, Let’s understand what GPT actually are

General Purpose Technology AI

General-purpose technology is a term reserved for those advancements in technology that pave way for major changes in economic and social areas and bring revolution in the day to day working of people or industries. Railroads and steam engines may be considered as a general-purpose example.

Railroads and steam engines hatched a multitude of changes in various sectors, primarily in transportation.

The advent of Railroads and Steam engines radically transformed the world. Probably, electricity and information technology (IT) are the two most important General Purpose Technologies so far as they radically transformed the world.

General Purpose Technology AI

“Artificial intelligence, especially machine learning, is the most important general-purpose technology of our era. The impact of these innovations on business and the economy will be reflected not only in their direct contributions but also in their ability to enable and inspire complementary innovations. New products and processes are being made possible by better vision systems, speech recognition, intelligent problem solving, and many other  capabilities that machine learning delivers.”

Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee (Harvard Business Review, 2017)

So above is the image that shows the various historical Instantiations of GPTs. so what actually makes them a GPT, what are the characteristics inherent to a technology to be called a GPT.

GPTs are inescapable, advance and improve with time, and assume function in empowering development. 

Below are the characteristics of  a GPT

Pervasiveness: AI flexes across different “application sectors” including car, banking, purchaser products, medical care, protection, drugs, retail, broadcast communications, and transport and coordinations areas, and so forth., making it unavoidable 

Improvements: AI keeps on going through huge changes, regarding execution and materialness as well as changing patterns in different AI strategies like the ascent of game hypothesis, AI and normal language preparing 

Innovations: The diffusion of AI has empowered a wide scope of exercises that were incredible previously. Computer-based intelligence’s prescient abilities are lessening expenses and changing authoritative expenses across verticals.


The immense potential of Artificial Intelligence in improving services, cost-cutting, and customer satisfaction, ease of doing things are being discovered.

By its capabilities of faster and accurate data capture, data analysis, and data categorization, Artificial Narrow Intelligence has already penetrated the most critical processes in the major automation industry. As newer facets of Artificial Intelligence get unveiled, more and more utilization of this technology is expected. 

Read More: AI and its Impact on the Future of business

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