Is the Technological Revolution Overhyped?

Paul Krugman: “A growing number of economists, looking at the data on productivity and incomes, are wondering if the technological revolution has been greatly overhyped — and some technologists share their concern.”

“New technology is supposed to serve businesses as well as consumers, and should be boosting the production of traditional as well as new goods. The big productivity gains of the period from 1995 to 2005 came largely in things like inventory control, and showed up as much or more in nontechnology businesses like retail as in high-technology industries themselves. Nothing like that is happening now.”

“So what do I think is going on with technology? The answer is that I don’t know — but neither does anyone else. Maybe my friends at Google are right, and Big Data will soon transform everything. Maybe 3-D printing will bring the information revolution into the material world. Or maybe we’re on track for another big meh.”

“You see, writing and talking breathlessly about how technology changes everything might seem harmless, but, in practice, it acts as a distraction from more mundane issues — and an excuse for handling those issues badly.”

1 Comment

  1. Krugman is correct that technology hasn’t had as big an effect on our lives as many thought it would when the “computer revolution” started to gain speed in the 60s.

    However, despite the fact that some jobs are relatively safe from technological displacement in the near future, technology is having a major impact on manufacturing jobs. And, as industries such as construction start to embrace the “modular” or “pre-manufactured” concept on a greater scale, many of the jobs currently performed by workers in the construction industry will be displaced as a result of technological advances.

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