Productivity levels have been rising across the US and UK. Information Age considers whether the long-awaited fourth industrial revolution finally arrived?
UK productivity grew by 1.4% in Q2 of this year. You would need to rewind the clock to the middle of 2015 to find the last time productivity grew that fast.
US labour productivity and UK output per hour worked, both rose sharply in the second quarter of this year. Does this mean that AI, the Internet of Things, robotics, the cloud and all the technologies that make up the fourth industrial revolution are at last boosting the economy?
“Computers are everywhere except in the statistics”, said the Nobel Prize winning economist, Robert Solow in 1988. His point: computers didn’t seem to be having much of an effect on the economy. A whole new school of thought has evolved from this idea. You can call it technology cynicism. The high priest of this point of view is Robert Gordon, an economics professor from North Western University, near Chicago. His argument: innovation is not like it was. It is throwing up technologies that are more fun than useful — that the internet, video games, the cloud, etcetera are not having the same kind of impact on the economy that the advances of yesteryear had.
That, he says, is why economic growth in the West is not what it used to be.
How will the UK adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
Developments in technology are creating a world where humans and smart machines are becoming interdependent of each other. Read here
As far as technology cynicism is concerned, you could say that Bob and Bob are its uncles.
In fact the golden age of economic growth among the larger economies in the West occurred from around 1950 to 1973. Ever since then things have been a tad disappointing.
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