Misunderstanding Concentration of Wealth

In How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Fame, the editors of The Economist  (of all people!) display a complete misunderstanding of the economics of wealth concentration. In particular, they allege that “. . the famous folk complaining the loudest about the new technology are the ones who stand to benefit the most. Far from diluting star power, AI will make the biggest celebrities bigger than ever . . .”

I am not taking any position on whether or not the use of AI will actually lead to this concentration of audience interest but if it does then I would say that the current crop of media stars actually do have a lot to worry about.

In fact, just as in any other case of a technological or social change leading to more concentrated ownership of limited resources (in this case attentive audience members – aka eyeballs), those who are currently at the top of the heap actually have the most to lose as only a small fraction of the current “stars” will become the next round of “superstars” – with the rest actually losing rather than gaining and falling back closer to those they just pulled ahead of in the previous round.

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