I listened to a fascinating podcast today on the role of technology in the US economy.
This will be of particular interest to younger readers of the ITSM Review who might be thinking about what career path to plot or those with a general interest in the exponential growth of IT.
- SERIES: Peter Day’s World of Business
- EPISODE: GlobalBiz: Race against the machine 30th March 2013 [27 minutes]
“Peter Day talks with the authors of the book Race Against the Machine and finds out what the rise of the robots is going to mean to all of our lives.”
In a nutshell:
Productivity increases whilst job growth is stagnant
The MIT professors claim that job creation, which used to peg equally with productivity, has ‘decoupled’. New job creation grew on a par with productivity since the second world war until around the year 2000.
Since then productivity has grown whilst new job creation and income growth has stalled. The professors argue one of the main drivers of this ‘decoupling’ is technology.
Moore’s Law – The best is yet to come
Moore’s law states that computing power doubles every 18 to 24 months. Computing power doubling over a couple of years is quite easy to grasp, but that computing power doubling every couple of years for several generations is a different kettle of fish…
“So the story goes that the king asks what a wise man wants in reward for his services. The wise man asks the king to look at his chessboard. On the first space, he wants 1 grain of rice. On the second space, he wants 2 grains of rice, double that of the previous space. He then wants 4, 8, 16, 32, and so on, doubling the previous space for the 64 spaces of the chessboard” ^Source
i.e. It’s a heck of a lot of rice on the last square of the chess board and most of the gains are made in the second half of the board.
“In technology strategy, the second half of the chessboard is a phrase, coined by Ray Kurzweil, in reference to the point where an exponentially growing factor begins to have a significant economic impact on an organization’s overall business strategy.”
The MIT professors suggest that Moore’s law is entering the ‘second half of the board’ and we should expect unparalleled increases in productivity and capabilities from computing.
I also found this TED talk which explains things further: