Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

To his credit, Azhar rightly notes the problems arising from the rapid transformation caused by these technologies, especially what he calls the “index gap”. Big tech corporations like Amazon and Google are gaining a lot of resources and power from the technologies. But other companies and many organizations and communities “can only adapt to the growing pace,” he wrote. “These go backwards – and faster.”

Yet his enthusiasm is clear.

The story for Azhar began in 1979, when he was seven years old in Zambia and brought a home-made computer kit to a neighboring house. He then goes on to describe the history of the familiar, still fascinating, how those original products started the PC revolution (an interesting side note is the Sinclair ZX71 in its most lost history – his first computer, which was bought for 69 69 a few years later in London with his family). After moving out to a small town). The rest we know. Explosion of PC – The young Azim and his family soon graduated from Acorn BBC Master, a popular home computer in the UK নেতৃত led the World Wide Web, and now our lives are being changed by artificial intelligence.

It is difficult to bend with the argument that computing technologies have grown rapidly. Moore’s Law has defined such growth for generations of technologists. This means that, as Azhar noted, the cost of a transistor was only a few billionths of a dollar by 2014, about $ 8 in the 1960s. And it has changed everything, accelerating the rapid growth of the Internet, smartphones and AI.

Essential for Azhar’s claim to usher in a new era, however, a much broader set of technologies demonstrates this indicative growth. Economists call “general-purpose technology” a fundamental advancement that has broad economic implications; Think of a steam engine, electricity or the internet. Azhar suspects that cheap solar energy, bioengineering techniques such as synthetic biology and 3D printing could be such technologies.

He acknowledges that some of these technologies, especially 3D printing, are relatively immature but argues that as prices fall, demand will increase rapidly and technologies will evolve and find markets. Azhar concludes: “In short, we are entering an age of abundance. The first time in human history where producing energy, food, computing and many resources would be trivially cheap. We can meet the current needs of humanity manifold, at an ever-decreasing economic cost.

Maybe. But to be honest, this kind of Uber-optimism gives a big leap of faith in both the future power of technology and our ability to use it effectively.

Slow growth

The best measure of our economic progress is the increase in production. In particular, Total Factor Productivity (TFP) measures the role of innovation, which includes both management practice and new technologies. This is not a perfect measure. But for now, this is the best metric to estimate the impact of technology on a country’s resources and quality of life.

Beginning in the mid-2000s, TFP growth became slower Despite the advent of our brilliant new technology in the United States and many other developed countries (it has gotten worse, especially in the UK). The slowdown came after many years of growth in the United States in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when computers and the Internet increased productivity.

No one is sure what is causing the instability. Perhaps our technologies are not as world-changing as we thought, at least compared to previous inventions. Robert Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University, the father of techno-pessimism in the mid-2010s, famously showed his viewers a smartphone and a picture of a toilet; Rather what is there? Or maybe we don’t properly capture the economic benefits of social media and free online services But the most likely answer is that many businesses and organizations are not adopting new technologies, especially in sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing and education.

The technologies that have influenced us so much, such as artificial biology and 3D printing, are decades old. The pipeline needs constant refresh.

This is not necessarily a cause for frustration. Maybe it just takes time. Eric Bryanzolfson, a Stanford economist and a leading expert on digital technology, predicts that we “The productivity boom is comingHe argues that most developed economies in the world are at the bottom of a productivity J-curve. Many businesses are still struggling with new technologies, such as AI, but overall productivity will increase as they get better at taking advantage of advances.

It’s an optimistic take. However it also suggests that the trajectory of many new technologies is not an easy one. Subject to demand, and the market is volatile. You need to see why people and businesses want innovation.

Take synthetic biology. The idea is as simple as it is mandatory: rewrite the genetic code of the microorganism, be it bacteria or yeast or algae, so that they make the chemical or material of your choice. The dream was not entirely new at the time, but proponents, including Tom Knight, became an MIT computer scientist biologist in the early 2000s, helping to popularize it, especially among investors. Why not consider biology as a simple engineering challenge?

With the huge fermentation VAT of these programmed germs, you can make plastic or chemical or even fuel. Petroleum will not be needed. Just feed them sugar extracted from sugarcane, and you can mass produce what you need.

In the late 2000s, several startups, including Ameris Biotechnologies and LS9, engineered genetic engineering to produce hydrocarbon fuels for gasoline and diesel substitution. Synthetic biology, it seemed, was on its way to revolutionizing transportation. But within a few years, the dream is mostly dead. Emeris is now concentrating on creating ingredients for skin creams and other consumer beauty products. In 2014, LS9 sold its holdings.

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