Category: Think Tank

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

12 Responses to “Is the Information Technology Revolution Over?”

  1. chartist says:

    I think instant language translation would be useful…..Biotech feels like it’s in its infancy.

  2. PeterR says:

    “Is the Information Technology Revolution Over?”

    Surely you jest? I have only started. Please put on your Wally Glasses.

    http://www.dilbert.com/strips/

    HAL
    2013 — A Space Odyssey

  3. ByteMe says:

    Interesting that they focused on semiconductor improvements. I also would have focused on communications improvements, because the speed of connectivity between entities also improves labor productivity but in a way that expands reach instead of just speed and size.

  4. CJBob says:

    Agreed ByteMe. There have been incredible advancements in personal technologies (just look at phones these days) but businesses internally are generally running the way they always have but a little faster. The real difference comes when the existing process is completely redone (streaming video vs. drive to a store to rent a VHS tape).

  5. efrltd says:

    I see Technology. I’m still waiting for the Information! Little of what I see adds to the sum total of information. What information there is, little new however, is shoved through the porthole faster. Example HFT. Is it more information, or just the first look through the porthole? And getting a cold splash in the face before the guy second in line?

  6. PrahaPartizan says:

    Invariably, the focus drifts to “higher, faster, farther,” essentially the Olympics motto. Just how many people talk about “better?” It never gets “better” because as soon as the operations team learns how to use the information technology they cheapen the product with a “cost improvement.” Those changes don’t just take out cost but also buffer factors which were usually built into the products because the engineers didn’t fully understand the materials and processes they were dealing with. The expansion of the “Internet of Things” will likely provide one last spurt in extending the reach of technology, but after that we’re into the long tail of the gains which can likely be achieved.

  7. dsawy says:

    This report fails to take into account any of the economic downsides to technology uptake:

    1. Loss of intellectual property through corporate espionage or outright theft of IP walking out the door on electronic media.
    2. Productivity loss because people are playing with technology in their offices instead of working.
    3. Increased liabilities to the organization from employee mis-use of technology.
    4. Increased “busywork” of maintaining computer systems, including responding to infections of malware.
    5. Increased expenses of forced replacement of hardware and software systems that work perfectly well, but which the vendors refuse to support any more.

    And so on.

    BTW, It is highly amusing to read economists’ view of the semiconductor industry. What they don’t know about the chip market would fill tractor trailers. After reading this paper and having seen the divergence in economists’ analysis of the farm sector from reality, this just further cements my already low opinion of economists.

    Net:net, as someone who used to be right in the middle of the 90′s explosion of the Internet and rapid technology uptake by non-technology companies, I’m now increasingly convinced that while there are productivity and profit gains from adoption of “information technology,” practical experience has taught me that the gains are nowhere near as high as claimed by proponents (one of whom used to be me). If you give technology to the best 10% of your employees, you’ll get productivity gains. For the next 80%, it will be largely a wash. For your bottom 10% of employees, you’ve just given them a shiny way to waste time and open you to new and improved lawsuits and theft.

  8. BottomMiddleClass says:

    Compare a car factory from 1936
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPpTK2ezxL0

    To a car factory of today
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjAZGUcjrP8

    Count the number of humans you see.

    Technical innovation will be over when the handful of people you see walking in the background are replaced by robots. Then we’ll need some social innovation or society will turn into a very, very unfair place.

    • BottomMiddleClass says:

      Heh, actually that Kia factory video is over a year old…

    • dsawy says:

      Exactly.

      Now ask yourself where all these immigrants they’re planning on allowing into the US are going to work when the factories of today (never mind the future) look like that?

  9. Theravadin says:

    Curious that this article focused on labour productivity as the key measure of the Information Technology Revolution. That seems to be a very narrow window to look through, entirely ignoring the enormous changes that the IT revolution has made in everything from resource use (EFI, for instance), to environmental management (ever improving sensing capacity, as an example). It think that the authors are trapped in an old paradigm… while the world moves on.