TED talks on innovation and automation

Here is Robert Gordon’s talk “The death of innovation, the end of growth.”

He stakes out the untenable position that economic growth is over (please do note that my TGS is relatively optimistic about the future).  To make one quick point in rebuttal, Gordon considers only national demographics.  Ask yourself a different question: circa 2013, are there more young global geniuses with a chance to make a difference, as compared say to 1969 or for that matter 1995?  People sometimes caricature my views as suggesting we have run out of new discoveries (the subtitle of my book should belie that), but that description actually seems to fit Gordon.

Erik Brynjolfsson has a contrasting talk, “The key to growth: The race with the machines.”  I mostly agree with Erik about the future (though not about the last forty or so years), but I worry about how he conflates “restructuring productivity” with the actual creation of new ideas as we attempt to measure them through total factor productivity.  I also don’t think that free goods much overturn the measured wage stagnation of recent times, infovores aside of course.

In any case both talks are very much worth a view, self-recommending as they say.

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