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Krugman: Is the Computer Revolution Coming To a Close?

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the end-of-an-era dept.

Robotics 540

ninguna writes "According to Paul Krugman: 'Gordon argues, rightly in my view, that we've really had three industrial revolutions so far, each based on a different cluster of technologies. The analysis in Gordon's paper links periods of slow and rapid growth to the timing of the three industrial revolutions:
IR #1 (steam, railroads) from 1750 to 1830.
IR #2 (electricity, internal combustion engine, running water, indoor toilets, communications, entertainment, chemicals, petroleum) from 1870 to 1900.
IR #3 (computers, the web, mobile phones) from 1960 to present.
What Gordon then does is suggest that IR #3 has already mostly run its course, that all our mobile devices and all that are new and fun but not that fundamental. It's good to have someone questioning the tech euphoria; but I've been looking into technology issues a lot lately, and I'm pretty sure he's wrong, that the IT revolution has only begun to have its impact.' Is Krugman right, will robots put laborers and even the educated out of work?"

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Betteridge's law of headlines (1, Insightful)

Zimluura (2543412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399631)

No

It's no longer funny. Stop it, please. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399707)

Look, that was maybe good for a chuckle the first time somebody pointed it out. But that was a long time ago. You don't need to trumpet this crap each time a headline contains a question mark. Just answer the question, without throwing out the too-obvious "Betteridge's law" reference. It's almost getting as bad as the stupid "obligatory XKCD" links that dipshits will post here.

Re:It's no longer funny. Stop it, please. (5, Funny)

Scarletdown (886459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399841)

It's almost getting as bad as the stupid "obligatory XKCD" links that dipshits will post here.

I'm sure there is an obligatory xkcd link out there to better illustrate that.

Easy way to solve robots taking jobs (5, Interesting)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400037)

There is an elegant way to solve the problem of the concentration of wealth issue to the exclusion of general society.

Tax the robots at 70%
Then take that money, and funnel it into education, the arts, and a basic living wage to the masses.

Problems with people becoming breeding factories? Reduce the basic wage payments given for each child born over +2 by 50% then 75%, then nothing over 4.

With a higher level of education, our scientific advancement will increase, further increasing our wealth in general. Since the tax on robots leaves a 30% profit for the rich, they are rewarded for keeping the machines going. and paying for the administration of the machines to those who still earn a wage.

The formulas can be tweaked, should there be a new frontier opened up such as space, and money may in fact become only representations of pure resources and energy if technology such as a nano lathe becomes reality. (Being able to assemble anything from the atom up)

Re:Easy way to solve robots taking jobs (3, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400111)

Problems with people becoming breeding factories? Reduce the basic wage payments given for each child born over +2 by 50% then 75%, then nothing over 4.

That's only an acceptable solution if you're willing to starve children to punish their parents for overbreeding. Setting quotas with mandatory sterilization (reversable in case of death of a child) seems like it would be better at preventing overpopulation without also punishing children whose parents made bad decisions.

Re:Easy way to solve robots taking jobs (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400191)

Mandatory reversible sterilization of all children when they turn 12 years of age. Then let them undergo the procedure for free to reverse it after age 21 if they choose to do so. I will bet you that 90% will prefer to not have kids. Keeping young teens from ruining their lives by having kids is important, teens will hump like rabbits, it's in their nature. Lets not let them ruin their lives because a bunch of backwater uneducated hillbillies wont let the government give out birth control and educated kids in the use of birth control.

Re:Easy way to solve robots taking jobs (5, Insightful)

Christian Smith (3497) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400293)

Mandatory reversible sterilization of all children when they turn 12 years of age. Then let them undergo the procedure for free to reverse it after age 21 if they choose to do so.

Dear God, I hope you're not serious! You'd let the government sterilize your child? If this law came in in my country, I'd be on the first to start the revolution.

Re:Easy way to solve robots taking jobs (2)

kraut (2788) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400331)

Or, you could, like, teach them how to use birth control?

Oh no, that'd be too simple

Re:Easy way to solve robots taking jobs (3, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400345)

Mandatory reversible sterilization of all children when they turn 12 years of age. Then let them undergo the procedure for free to reverse it after age 21 if they choose to do so. I will bet you that 90% will prefer to not have kids. Keeping young teens from ruining their lives by having kids is important, teens will hump like rabbits, it's in their nature. Lets not let them ruin their lives because a bunch of backwater uneducated hillbillies wont let the government give out birth control and educated kids in the use of birth control.

Yeah, I like your solution better -- but instead of free reversal of sterilization, prospective parents should have to show that they can financially support a child, successfully complete a parenting class, as well as complete a home study similar to what adopted parents go through. I went though a stricter screening to adopt a dog (who would otherwise face euthanasia) than the scrutiny faced by horny teens in the back seat of a car when they conceive a child.

This would dramatically reduce the world's population -- Within a generation or two, the world's population could be cut down to a much more sustainable level. The population could be prevented from dropping too low by offering increasingly higher economic incentives to encourage couples to conceive. With robots taking up the slack in labor and economic development, this could be a huge environmental win - better standard of living for everyone without any real sacrifice.

All would be perfect...until, of course, the machines realize that the humans are the real threat and seek to exterminate them. But we've all seen those movies.

Re:It's no longer funny. Stop it, please. (5, Insightful)

Raven42rac (448205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399859)

Well it's a lazy journalistic crutch and needs to be mocked at every opportunity.

Re:It's no longer funny. Stop it, please. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400281)

Wrong

Re:Betteridge's law of headlines (0)

Raven42rac (448205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399857)

Came here to post this.

Paul Krugman (-1, Troll)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399649)

Please don't link to Paul Krugman's articles anymore. The man admits that he is a political activist first and economist distant second.

Thanks!

Re:Paul Krugman (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399685)

That must be why he won the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Re:Paul Krugman (4, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399735)

Are you saying the Nobels aren't political? I've nothing against Obama but awarding him the peace prize before he'd even done anything was a very clear political statement.

Mr Krugman is an Economist not to be dismissed (4, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399835)

Are you saying the Nobels aren't political? I've nothing against Obama but awarding him the peace prize before he'd even done anything was a very clear political statement.

While I agree that awarding President Obama the Nobel peace prize before he had been in office long enough to accomplish anything was a bit emberrassing (for all parties, I suspect), that has nothing to do with what he was saying. He was saying in effect, that some right-wing wingnut with "socialism is slavery" as their signature line dismissing Paul Krugman as a political hack and only an economist as a 'distant second' is misinformation at best, and given the track record of the American right in recent years, probably closer to an outright lie. Krugman may be politically active, but having won the nobel prize for economics, he is most certainly an economist of note, whose opinions are worth considering whether or not we personally agree with them.

And by the way, as one who lived many years in countries with socialized medicine, as well as in the United States, I would say the system in America, where your health is tied directly to your employment status, is much closer to slavery than any of western European "socialist" systems, but I digress.

Re:Mr Krugman is an Economist not to be dismissed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400277)

dismissing Paul Krugman as a political hack and only an economist as a 'distant second' is misinformation at best

That's not fair to the man: he's also an economic hack.

And by the way, as one who lived many years in countries with socialized medicine, as well as in the United States, I would say the system in America, where your health is tied directly to your employment status, is much closer to slavery than any of western European "socialist" systems, but I digress.

Several European systems work pretty much the same way. But don't let facts confuse you.

Re:Paul Krugman (0)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400235)

That seemed like a strange, political Nobel award until this year, when they awarded the prize to a giant bureaucracy pretending to be a government. Is it possible for an award to jump the shark?

Re:Paul Krugman (-1, Flamebait)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399747)

Unfortunately he did, which is why he has a regular column in NYT. However his articles have nothing to do with his field and everything to do with promoting his particular political ideology.

Re:Paul Krugman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399797)

I'm sure that's precisely why he won the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Re:Paul Krugman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400071)

He won his Nobel for work unrelated to most of his op-ed topics and unrelated to this topic in particular. The whole sordid state of the economics profession is too broad for this topic, though. His basic argument here is that past is prologue. It's true that society has absorbed a great deal of the computer revolution into itself, and therefore a lot of low hanging fruit has been picked, it's not clear if any putative advances won't also have large impacts. For example, an AI breakthrough probably would have another huge impact on society. Also, a surveillance state would have a large impact too. For an economist, the most important issue is probably not its impact on society (which is for another discipline like sociology), but the effect on various economic theories as the price of computer hardware, software and computation cycles goes to zero. Of course, this doesn't seem to interest the professor.

Re:Paul Krugman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399743)

So? He's also usually right.

Re:Paul Krugman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399781)

Krugman is a Nobel prize laureate, a distinguished economic researcher, and a firmly reaility-based analyst. He has been consistently correct about the financial crisis and uses hard data to support his arguments. Being an empiricist is compatible with holding a political opinion. He is a liberal, yes, but a thinking one who criticizes when warranted. Unthinking fealty is more a property of the right's public figures.

If you disavow Krugman on the grounds that he is a liberal, you really have bought into the right-wing alternate reality that denies facts and history for political gain.

Re:Paul Krugman (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399935)

To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble. Judging by Mr. Greenspan's remarkably cheerful recent testimony, he still thinks he can pull that off. But the Fed chairman's crystal ball has been cloudy lately; remember how he urged Congress to cut taxes to head off the risk of excessive budget surpluses? And a sober look at recent data is not encouraging.

- NYTimes, 2002 [nytimes.com]

By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet's impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine's.

Red herring.com (1998) [archive.org]

If we discovered that, you know, space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. There was a Twilight Zone episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time, we don't need it, we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus.

Paul Krugman: Fake Alien Invasion [huffingtonpost.com]

In July 2008 Nobel laureate Paul Krugman wrote that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) "didn't do any subprime lending, because they can't: the definition of a subprime loan is precisely a loan that doesn't meet the requirement, imposed by law, that Fannie and Freddie buy only mortgages issued to borrowers who made substantial down payments and carefully documented their income." (New York Times, July 18, 2008)
How did Krugman get it so wrong? [realclearmarkets.com]

Re:Paul Krugman (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399993)

Is that the best you can do? There's nothing wrong with the first quotation or the third. The second prediction was made in in 1998, for God's sake. Good thing you posted as an AC: how many incorrect predictions have you made?

Re:Paul Krugman (5, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399967)

He's also a former adviser to Enron [wikipedia.org] .

Take from it what you will.

Re:Paul Krugman (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399803)

What you mea is what he says to jive with your political view. Otherwis why would you hate somene who has been pretty much correct? Read his blog starting in 98.
What we ahve is an expert that gets demonized because loud mother poundits with wide audiences don't like what he says, even though nhis track records is excellent.

That is what matters. Not you , or my, political views. If you, or I, or anyone, don't change are views when new and accurate data come sin, then we might as well start living in the dark ages.

Sorry, but when someone applies an economic theory to a situation to forecast an outcome, and the outcome is pretty much correct, then that person is probably correct. YOU need to change your perspective.

We see this a lot more now then ever. The republican echo machine gets turned up louder and louder every time someone can show that a social policy works. Look at the 2012 election. The statistic from actual experts all showed it wasn't going to really be a close race. And when the actual experts where correct, all the people who were loud to be heard, but not actual experts, were stunned. Did they say 'maybe I was wrong?' no. The turned up their echo chamber even louder letting the same experts make all kinds of stupid reason why they where wrong, how it wasn't there fault, and the republican media just agreed.

tT's a fucking disgrace. You are better then that, please apply rational and critical thinking.

Re:Paul Krugman (3, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399909)

I don't have a problem with the fact that his views differ from mine. I have a problem with dishonesty of a Nobel prize winning economist who misuses his column to push his own political agenda. It's easy to google many instances of deliberate twisting of facts and outright lies ("ACA will decrease rather than increase the deficit"), all without exemption leaning in the same political direction. If he was on MSNBC or Fox News it would be no problem. It is the pretense that his writing is a serious economic analysis distilled for popular reading rather than obvious and automatic pushing of a political agenda regardless of the facts that bothers me.

Re:Paul Krugman (5, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399997)

who misuses his column to push his own political agenda.

He writes a column in the Opinion Pages of the New York Times. Pray tell how exactly he's misusing them by pushing his own political preferences in the opinion section?

Your comment would have some validity if he were writing in the Science or Economics section, but he ain't. And this is even before we go into the fact that most of his political opinions are the logical consequence of his economic beliefs to the best of his academic ability.

As the GP said, you are really taking issue with his opinions not matching yours and simply trying to disguise them as a high level objection on non-existent grounds.

Re:Paul Krugman (-1, Troll)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400175)

his political opinions are the logical consequence of his economic beliefs to the best of his academic ability.
 
Thanks for that, I needed a laugh. If supporting the housing bubble that created the worst recession since the 20s represents the best of his academic ability than the Nobel prize committee made a pretty big mistake. Not to mention defending Obamacare as a cost saving program, openly lying about Ryan's voucher program ("it will kill people"), deliberate lies about "growing" income inequality even though he knows that it is not growing but staying the same or even shrinking, etc etc. He has zero credibility left except perhaps with deluded dailykos crowd.

Re:Paul Krugman (5, Informative)

Alomex (148003) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400305)

Not to mention defending Obamacare as a cost saving program,

Which it is. There is nothing as inefficient as the current system we have. We pay twice as much as any other country in the world for no better outcome.

openly lying about Ryan's voucher program

The only person lying about Ryan's program was Ryan, since it wasn't even a program. There were unspecified massive cuts in his program, the equivalent of the slashdot 1)... 2)... 3)??? 4) Profit!

Surprisingly the press fell for it much as you did too, with no one questioning what exactly step 3) would consist of. Krugman speculated that it would consist of massive cuts to social programs and thus indeed kill people, if we were to take Ryan at his word.

He has zero credibility left except perhaps with deluded dailykos crowd.

He provides confidential advice to governments all over the world, has a column in one of the most prestigious newspapers in the world, is a professor in one of the best universities in the country and is the winner of the Nobel prize of economics. Yeap, I can see the zero credibility all over the place.

deluded dailykos crowd.

You are projecting here. You might disagree with everything he says, but the dude has credibility up the wazoo.

For example, I think Alan Greenspan. is a hack and at least 50% responsible for the current mess we are in (Bush being the other 50%) but I have no problem admitting that the guy's opinion still carries a lot of weight in many circles. More than I wish it did, but that's tangential to the point.

You on the other hand don't seem to be able to make the simple distinction between what you wish the world was and what it is. Hence you delude yourself into believing that Krugman is irrelevant.

Re:Paul Krugman (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400159)

What part of "Opinion Pages" is difficult for you to understand? Fucking retard.

the ppACA is not as good as it can be but parts of (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400211)

the PPACA is not as good as it can be but parts of it do fix big issues and other parts do start the move of Health Care being tied to your job to it being on it's own.

and it's better then the mitt plan that is basically have a pre-existing condition then your doctor is ER and they will bill you and try to get as much as they can.

Re:Paul Krugman (2, Informative)

samkass (174571) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400269)

I don't have a problem with the fact that his views differ from mine. I have a problem with dishonesty of a Nobel prize winning economist who misuses his column to push his own political agenda. It's easy to google many instances of deliberate twisting of facts and outright lies ("ACA will decrease rather than increase the deficit"), all without exemption leaning in the same political direction. If he was on MSNBC or Fox News it would be no problem. It is the pretense that his writing is a serious economic analysis distilled for popular reading rather than obvious and automatic pushing of a political agenda regardless of the facts that bothers me.

If you weren't completely wrong you'd have a point. His economic analysis is actually pretty spot-on, happens to agree pretty closely with the Democrats, and you just disagree with it. It's basic on sound economic theory (which differs from yours). And the ACA does decrease the deficit compared to the previous status quo.

What is the Matrix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399675)

Neo_

I would argue (5, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399681)

that IR 4 is robotics. Not that robotics are a continuation of IT.

Robots building robots. (2)

khasim (1285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400173)

I agree. I think that the next "Industrial Revolution" will be robotic factories producing robots for other tasks/industries.

Now, will the robotic-built robots be single purpose or general purpose? I don't know. But general purpose robots would lead (I believe) to another "hacker" revolution. The same as the general purpose computer did.

PC = PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399689)

personal computing => personal robotics

That's what's happening next.

I consider personal robotics to include 3D printing.

Re:PC => PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399779)

subject should read PC=>PR, but slashcode lost the >.

Lack of understanding (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399697)

He is wrong. He has a lack of understanding of technology. We will see things like computers that are wearable in headset form and which can read our minds. We will eventually have something like telepathy, where the wearable computer can read your thoughts and transmit them to other people without need for converting them to text or voice. We will see augmented reality, which the people at slashdot may be familiar with but most people probably will not. Augmented reality will let us leave virtual notes on top of buildings. We will all have cars that drive themselves.

In terms of technology, we're just beginning to see what is coming.

Idiocy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399705)

The computer/web revolution wasn't a huge deal compared to what mobile is doing. And mobile hasn't even begun to be heard from.

We're throwing the Internets, in portable form, into the hands of everyone, whether they want it or not.

Shit's gonna be huge.

Robot Repairman (1)

npridgeon (784063) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399725)

Times change. Yeah, it sucks when nobody needs a chimney sweep or a set of encyclopedias. For those of us flexible enough to try a different career, there will always be opportunities to succeed. Robot repairman maybe?

I bet we have 10 more years left in the cell phone/computer era.

Re:Robot Repairman (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399999)

You don't need robot repair men, Robots can fix robots. You just need to build the first one from scratch, then you've put yourself out of a job.

Re:Robot Repairman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400257)

For those of us flexible enough to try a different career, there will always be opportunities to succeed. Robot repairman maybe?

This is only true if you believe that the human race is capable of continuous unfettered growth.

Furthermore, why would highly advanced robots not be able to repair each other? Some of the advanced manufacturing plants already have robots doing basic repairs. Soon enough they'll be able to do all of the repairs themselves, and if even rudimentary AI is ever achieved they will be superior to us in practically every way.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399733)

Given how ridiculous Krugman's ideas on economic theory are why should we pay any more attention to his opinions in a field he knows even less about?

hmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399753)

All of those other revolutions experienced a plateau of sorts after they reached their respective technological maturity. Those other revolutions weren't geometrically improving their efficiency or drastically changing in their application towards the latter half of their life cycles.

As a result, I'm pretty sure if you were to speak to any specialist in their respective fields during the ends of those time periods that they would have felt comfortable predicting where their technology would stand 30 or 40 years out. Can anyone reasonably do that with respect to computers and what they will have to offer 3 or 4 decades from now?

Not really (5, Interesting)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399757)

The only the silicon part of the revolution is slowing down. The software revolution has barely begun, especially after being set back ten years or so during the Microsoft dark ages. What the future holds can scarcely be imagined today. Think of it this way: we already have more processing available on a single, $50, add in card than a modest sized mammalian brain. It isn't our hardware that sucks, it's our algorithms.

Re:Not really (5, Insightful)

linatux (63153) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399883)

I think our algorithms have sucked, but it hasn't mattered much until recently.
Now we are able to make vast amounts of data available easily, so it matters a lot more.

Processing power still has a long way to go, but figuring out HOW to make use of the data is currently more important than the speed at which we can do it.

Re:Not really (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399885)

Well we are approaching are limits for transistors per nm, probably another 20 years or so and we'll be at the end of that. We'll end up going in a seperate direction, quantum computers are nice but expensive. I have a strong feeling that computing will split in two directions. Quantum for government/business/industrial use, and optronic for personal use. The second being that it'll cover the whole lightweight energy efficient mode.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400067)

Quantum computers aren't really directly comparable to modern electronic computers. If they work, they will be very useful for a tiny selection of tasks. They would be co-processors like modern graphics cards, possibly with similar uses of building supercomputers out of a ton of them, but it is very unlikely they will ever be usable as a replacement for normal computers. It would just be silly when it is much, much easier to make a much, much faster electronic computer.

Re:Not really (4, Insightful)

forkazoo (138186) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399923)

It's not clear that software is heating up as much as you propose. Most systems depend on vast foundation libraries, and commercial viability frequently depends on vast developer ecosystems. It is getting harder and harder over time to launch novel software stacks. As new computer programs depend on ever larger and more stable platforms, inertia naturally means that the rate of "real" change is less now than it was earlier in the evolution of computer programs.

I think it's perfectly fair to say that the computer revolution is slowing down. Even as people remain hard at work, and some metrics continue to climb as fast as ever, the different between a 16 KB home computer and a 16 MB home computer is extraordinary. The difference between a 16 MB system and a 16 GB system is really much smaller, even though the systems are separated by a factor of 1000x (for the sake of a simple argument, assume compute performance and storage capacity scale at a rate roughly equal to main memory.) A 16 MB 686 running Windows 95 has windows, icons, color graphics, a mouse. A 16 GB Sandy Bridge running Windows 7 has windows, icons, color graphics, a mouse. A user teleported some years in the future would have no problem accepting the faster system. A 16 KB system has a keyboard, text mode, built in BASIC, incredibly primitive graphics with limited colors. Moving from that to the 16 MB one would be a revelation.

We've seen massive consolidation of operating systems since the 80's. IT at this point is relatively stable and mature. Though, I don't agree that there were several completely distinct revolutions. I would argue that Facebook is part of the same revolution as the telegraph and radio. Likewise, computers are largely a technology of reliable small scale finely detailed manufacturing which started quite some time ago.

Re:Not really (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400107)

I don't entirely disagree with your premise, but I think you underestimate the value of having a lot of code sitting around: try actually writing a program on the 16 MB home computer. It's going to be better than on the 16 KB one, but it's still going to be pretty slow and laborious compared to writing a script in Python with libraries for everything already written for you. It should be a lot easier than it is, but it's a lot better than it used to be.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400273)

It may depend on what you are looking at for software, because some things (like IBM's Watson or even Wolfram Alpha) may not come along as often, but they have the potential to be as disruptive or more than some of the earlier software stacks.

Of course, this may be a separate part of the revolution (big data), but I can't help being optimistic when I think what truly organized and large amounts of data could do to a number of vital industries such as medicine.

Re:Not really (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400279)

especially after being set back ten years or so during the Microsoft dark ages.
 
Total bullshit. If what was possible would have exceeded Microsoft than it would have happened in spite of Microsoft. I'm so sick of hearing this excuse from what are normally Linsux fanbois. You guys just can't stand the fact that the average user doesn't want to dicker with their machine for 6 hours a week just to keep things running as expected.

Gordon's Paper Question (4, Informative)

sien (35268) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399769)

Gordon's Paper has been thoroughly investigated [thebreakthrough.org] by Roger Pielke Jnr at the Breakthrough Institute.

Gordon's smoothing of growth fails to show the variability and creates a picture of trends that are not really there. A quote from the article linked above:

In short, there is no evidence of a stair step reduction in the growth rate of US per capita GDP in either dataset. The US BEA and Census data shows essentially no change (a linear trend, blue line, shows a statistically insignificant downward tick) whereas the Maddison data shows a bit of an increase (red line). The data is sensitive to the time period chosen – for instance, from 1970 the BEA/Census data shows an increase in the annual rate of per capita GDP growth. I can find no evidence of a post-1950 secular decline in per capita economic growth in the United States, and in fact, there is evidence that growth rates have accelerated a bit from 1970.

Just scratching the Surface.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399771)

Seriously, Microsoft said this was gorilla glass. WTF?

Depends on how you group things (2)

joeflies (529536) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399783)

I think the products listed are generalized in a way to make the arguement. In the first wave, he lists (energy source, technology), aka (steam, locamotive). The second wave is (electricity and petroleum, and technologies and industries enabled). The third breaks the naming methodology and list just technologies. Of course certain forms of technologies are reaching the end of their economic impact. Another way to have stated the third wave is not in terms of products, but the technology that enabled the products. Have we exhausted the economic impact of the transistor? Even with the existing items. Electricity, petroleum and steam are nowhere near the end of their impact, so I find it hard to even state that phase 1 and phase 2 are over. In fact, when you add the problems of mainstream coal, nuclear and economic viability of solar, you could say that petroleum remains one of the most crucial factors to economic growth, and that's stage 2 according to the article.

Yup. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399795)

Self driving cars? What's next, self driving delivery trucks and 18 wheelers? Why pull over after XX hours for rest, if the truck can drive itself 7x24?

McDonald's? How about drive-throughs with face recognition system that can know what you've ordered previously?

What are all the unemployed going to do? If you can't contribute in a way that isn't labor intensive, you're going to be screwed.

Re:Yup. (1, Troll)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400029)

Soylent Green.

Re:Yup. (2)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400169)

To quote a very old British Telecom advert: "People will always need plates".

To suggest that automation is the end of the line for human input is ridiculous. If anything, there are MORE jobs per person now than there ever have been. In fact, the US makes a substantial proportion of its GDP from products made from within prison walls - which tells you a lot about manual labour, and why the US likes to lock people up more than just about any country in the world.

The jobs will change, of course, but when the horse-drawn taxicabs of London were replaced with the internal combustion engine, there were less stable-boys but a lot more drivers, cleaners, repairers, tool-makers etc. to go with that.

And, because of the way tax and the human mind works, the government will create a job for you or secure your job against automation for a LONG time yet. They don't want you out-of-work, or bored because robots are doing everything for you leaving you to "play" all day long.

If I was to call out the names of all the people - actual people - involved in the production, billing, delivery, installation and maintenance of even a simple office, I'd still be here tomorrow. That *wasn't* true a hundred years ago or longer.

The more we create things, the more people are needed to design them, litigate them, design the machines that produce them, assemble and operate and maintain and supervise the machines that use them, provide quality control, testing, fill out the paperwork, manage the orders, ship out the product, deliver it, assemble it, install it, train people on it, handle complaints from it, etc.

If anything, we'll hit a point where we *have* to automate because there are too many humans in the loop and that means we can't do things fast enough, and we'll be hindered - not by the unions and the unemployed - but by the number of employed. Hell, it's already nearly impossible to deliver a parcel during the day any more - the stay-at-home mother is no longer prevalant in society, and now schools even have to provide day-care and evening-care for families who have to go to work (which means more people work in those schools, too!).

An unemployed person is likely to get rarer long before it becomes the norm. It's hovering at around 4% in the UK at the moment, which is a fairly ordinary, stable country. That's nowhere *near* the highest and not far from the lowest it's ever been.

And no matter what gadget comes along, until we have complete independence on earning money because of the facilities available to all (when unemployment will no longer matter, anyway), there will always be someone needed to design it, build it, ship it, clean it, or even just test it. And most jobs in the world are actually "menial" jobs that require no skill (hell, that's one of the prime reasons that people come off benefits in my country - they say the jobs they are FORCED to go into after X amount of time on state benefits are too menial given their qualifications).

For every computer putting a man out of a job, that computer generates 5-10 jobs elsewhere, even if it's only the guy who cleans it and the guy who sells him the special cleaner to do that job with.

IPv((n-1)*2) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399817)

IR #3 += IPv4
IR #4 += IPv6
IR #n += IPv((n-1)*2)

My career is predicated upon human weakness.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399821)

...so I have job security.

erroneus' craving 4 pizza never comes to a close (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399831)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) the FatASS on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig's an obese swine with no dick!

Re:erroneus' craving 4 pizza never comes to a clos (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399847)

LOL, no shit. Saw the lengths erroneus goes to for it too http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3341329&cid=42396495 [slashdot.org]

Ob... (1)

cuncator (906265) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399837)

I, for one, welcome our new robotic overlords.

Sorry, someone had to say it.

Just begininng (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399851)

I can't figure out what Gordon is arguing, what Krugman is arguing and what ninguna is arguing. So I can't say who is right.

However, the very young tablet market, where apps which take advantage are still immature, and the growing excitement about developing new tablets and apps for them [1] and the Raspberry Pi along with copycat boards are showing there is a lot of energy still in the sector and very likely that energy will generate some major economic effects. It's like the Desktop "PC" ( microcomputer) and servers made up the third industrial revolution and the "SoC" is making up the fourth.

[1] Kind of reminds my of the pre PC microcomputer days.

Re:Just begininng (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399981)

I can't figure out what Gordon is arguing, what Krugman is arguing...

They are arguing about continued change from IT (is it over?). The bit about robots was mostly tongue in cheek, as most people might pick up from the "Skynet decides to kill us all" quote.

...and what ninguna is arguing

He's trying to turn Krugman's quip into a /. story.

Re:Just begininng (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400127)

I mean I can't distinguish what each person was claiming.

bad bad droids (1)

drankr (2796221) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399867)

I didn't know Krugman did clickbait. Anyway yeah robots will put us all out of work. I vote we start smashing up the looms right now while there's still time to prevent this bleak future from ever happening. Science, technology and progress are all scary after all.

Run its course? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399889)

That is ridiculous. It hasn't even begun.

While the other revolutions made the bodies of humans unnecessary as a source of brute power, we still had to be there to control the machines.
But unless we, at some point, stops or changes the evolution of software and computing, computers will gradually replace our minds until there is basically no use for them either.
At that point, we will be in the fairly strange position of where the only decision that we actually NEED to make will be those that we choose are important.
The problem also is that the computers will not ask us if something important has to be decided because they will be more apt to make that decision themselves than us. Unless we, completely artificially and not to the benefit of all, says that we should decide something.

I mean, there are not that many hurdles left. And they don't look that big either.
I think that it end will turn out to be pretty easy to construct a computer that is smarter than a human.

RTFA ... I'm not sure the poster did. (4, Informative)

jabberwock (10206) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399911)

The poster can't read, or summarize.

Here's the link to Krugman's column: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/26/is-growth-over/ [nytimes.com]

And this means that in a sense we are moving toward something like my intelligent-robots world; many, many tasks are becoming machine-friendly. This in turn means that Gordon is probably wrong about diminishing returns to technology.

Ah, you ask, but what about the people? Very good question. Smart machines may make higher GDP possible, but also reduce the demand for people — including smart people. So we could be looking at a society that grows ever richer, but in which all the gains in wealth accrue to whoever owns the robots.

And then eventually Skynet decides to kill us all, but that’s another story.

Anyway, interesting stuff to speculate about — and not irrelevant to policy, either, since so much of the debate over entitlements is about what is supposed to happen decades from now.

Another crap article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399917)

written by cowardly people that don't have a spine.

IR #1 (steam, railroads) from 1750 to 1830.
IR #2 (electricity, internal combustion engine, running water, indoor toilets, communications, entertainment, chemicals, petroleum) from 1870 to 1900.
IR #3 (computers, the web, mobile phones) from 1960 to present.

The reason IR#1 and #3 are paltry in comparison to #3 is because #1 is before American independence and the only true and original free democracy. #I3 was always going to be tame now that America is run by fascists.

#IR2 covers the full spectrum of American independence. Actually smart phones are there to take back personal computers from the home as you won't need them when you have no home of your own.

Re:Another crap article (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400143)

Internal combustion engine: European invention.
Indoor toilet: European invention
Wireless communication: European invention

As for the others, I can;t be bothered googling them all.

Re:Another crap article (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400163)

And by the way, the American Independence happened in 1776 during IR1. nearly 100 years before the 30 year long IR2.

lol @ TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399939)

the article is way off, youre totally right. I'd like to add that the majority of the population of the world doesnt use technology the way we do in the developed world. when the rest of the world makes progress like us then we'll really see the changes. 10 years max.

Re:lol @ TFA (0)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400167)

The rest of the world? They're living on french peanut butter handouts. 10 years is a little optimistic.

Global Social Welfare Impost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399949)

The purpose of robots is to put humans out of work. Any disease outbreak will alert the suspicious. The thought will be "the surplus population is being culled to prevent the demand for a global social welfare impost". That impost would be to support people who would be rendered unemployable by reason of machines replacing humans in the workforce. How would it be calculated? The same artificial intelligence that is used to put people out of work can be used for that. What would be the optimal rate? The Laffer curve would serve as an example.

Inasmuch as the government has the legitimate monopoly on violence, it also has the legitimate monopoly on money laundering. It's called redisitribution of wealth.

Already Happening (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399955)

As a physician, I see the future, and it's increasingly moving away from me and towards the computer. There will still be a role for us, but it will be in the areas where big data doesn't come up the obvious answer. As humans, we suck at reliably following algorithms. For a lot of medical conditions, following an algorithm reliably will give much better results than the haphazard method in which it is practiced now. Let the computer do that and let us practice the art of medicine where we don't know the correct answer yet.

1900 to 1960 was stagnant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399959)

We went from not being able to fly at all to supersonic jets. Two world wars and no innovation? Food preservation and preparation underwent their greatest changes over that period.

Who is "Gordon"? (1)

adnonsense (826530) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399963)

Gordon Moore? Gordon Brown? Gordon Ramsey? Gordon the Green Engine? Any chance of a clue for those of us who don't mix in Paul's social circles?

Re:Who is "Gordon"? (2)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400091)

He's that dude with the tire iron, everybody knows that.

Re:Who is "Gordon"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400367)

Gordon Ramsey ......

"You call that a shrinking transistor? It's FUCKING COLD YOU FUCKING DONKEY."

Programmer's will be the worst hit (1, Interesting)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399969)

Human labor is cheap, feed them a few scraps and they will work just to survive. It's those whose living depends on ephermal things like "intellectual property" for survival who will suffer the most.

Krugman is a walking Greenfieldism (-1, Troll)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399971)

Krugman: "I point to {insert example of successful capitalism I don't like} and I point to my Nobel Prize. That is all."
Rational people: *facepalm*

Re:Krugman is a walking Greenfieldism (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400025)

You have either never read Krugman and are making stuff up, or you have and are deliberately lying. That is all.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42399989)

So steam/railroad innovation ended in 1830? He missed the fact that railroads got safer, faster, more efficient and helped open/industrialize entire continents. IR#2 ended in 1900, again see these technologies are still spreading in parts of the world they have barely touched. So IR#3 is over? If the other 2 are to be examples we've yet begun to take these technologies to places and build things we haven't even imagined.

Not run its course - barely started (3, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400015)

The industrial revolution is driven by man's ability to harness energy. So far that's all been fossil fuel and has limited what we can do - and how fast we can do it.

That phase of the industrial revolution is still going strong and has nothing to do with electronics, electricity or computers. Those developments are a completely different strand of development, and (themselves) have barely started, either.

The next phase of human-kinds development is when we break out, past the limitations (both of availability and rate of generation) of fossil fuels into a new era where there is MORE energy available to each human. Probably several times more energy.

However, if you really want to talk about computers, then we're still in the pre-condensing boiler stage. We can make computing devices that seem pretty powerful (because we have nothing better to compare them with), but they're not particularly powerful, complex or scalable. Also, it's debatable whether there is anything on the horizon (quantum, possibly - but it seems to be a hellishly complicated way to do things and needs a lot of supporting structure, compared to, say, the human brain) to take us to the next phase.

So, no. We have NOT come to the end of IR3, we're still firmly stuck in the first industrial revolution, probably for another 50 - 100 years until we get our asses into gear and get past fossil fuels. Computing also seems firmly stuck on the bottom rung, with no promising technologies to move up, past the limitations of current semiconductor processors and logic-gate based architectures.

IR Dates all Wrong (5, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400049)

Let's see, he cuts off IR#1 at 1830, which pretty much misses the entire steamship revolution and the invention of so many consumer goods of the 19th century, not to mention, the facilitation of mass immigration to the USA by all those steamships, the openning of the west due to practical railroads.

Then, he cuts off the next IR at 1900, and thus misses aircraft, the widespread adoption of the telephone and radio, and consumer appliances.

And then, having decided that aircraft, telephones, radio and steamships were useless, he says that the next 60 years of IT will mean absolutely nothing.

I would be inclined to think he is totally wrong.

No work==good (4, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400051)

will robots put laborers and even the educated out of work?"

Let me remind people here that this is, in the long run, a good thing (TM). Machines putting people out of work enabled us to have, in the long run, the 40hr work week and a society where people are majoritarily middle class.

Short term it can be a disaster though. For example the 2nd industrial revolution caused massive unemployment in industrial England and leadto asinine ideologies such as fascism, luddism and socialism elsewhere. These ideologies were misguided attempts to compensate for this momentous labour force disruption by addressing the wrong aspects of the industrial revolution (democracy, machines and capital respectively).

Re:No work==good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400275)

As long as people need to work and there is artificial scarcity, automation is a threat to jobs. It wasn't supposed to be this way - robots were supposed to be the cheap slaves that allowed the rest of us to enjoy our leisure time and pursue higher goals than just putting food on the table.

We're clinging to an outmoded capitalist system that has outlived its usefulness. What will come after will probably not be decided by us, but by our robot overlords!

Steam? Railroads? (5, Funny)

skine (1524819) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400149)

So IR#1 = Steam, Railroads

IR#3 = Buying Railroad Tycoon on Steam.

Krugman (1, Informative)

Tailhook (98486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400201)

I forget more about the computer revolution every time I sneeze than Krugman will ever know. It's just beginning. Live 10 more years and a computer will drive you anywhere in North America and hump you on the way. We're about to wipe out 'higher' education as we've known it for centuries. Piers Morgan may not get voted off the island via Whitehouse petition [politico.com] but the fact that were having a global debate with Internet petitions [prisonplanet.com] to our respective governments isn't funny. We're still puttering along with a couple megabits of capacity in most of the Western world. Gibibit+ will enable use cases we haven't even suspected yet. The second or third next atavist-stan we get ourselves mired in will be fought in-part with armed autonomous bipedal robots. Media is being fundamentally changed [slashdot.org] on a daily basis. The interval between now and when Krugman's paper goes Newsweek [thedailybeast.com] and becomes a glorified blog is probably a lot shorter than the remainder of Krugman's career as a columnist.

Krugman needs to stick to his welfare state statism.

"It still turned me down! WTF!?!?!" (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400209)

The next revolution is construction at the atomic level without needing buttloads of chemistry to create things in a roundabout way.

The number of new materials we cannot even guess at will make life better and longer, and should also facilitate manipulators on a scale to patch and repair cells. It will also aid DNA experimenting to program life, and provide delivery of specialized DNA injections to particular cells.

Plus you'll finally get that hyper-lifelike robot to fuck, thouh human behavior (not counting remote control) is still a little off.

it feels like it's coming to an end (1)

Vince6791 (2639183) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400227)

Computer Desktops were relatively new in the 80's and popularized in the 90's and I was just fascinated by them but I stopped in the middle of last decade and i was just satisfied with the multicore chips by intel and amd. I don't think it's worth sacrificing the earth or our health over these new junky technology products like the ipad, iphone, or any pc tablet like the windows surface for that matter it's just too damn much. China is a complete polluted shit hole because of this. I think we are all getting ourselves mentally tired with all these technology distractions. One day the tech bobble will burst or an emf bomb.

Underlying tech vs. utilization (1)

Dave Emami (237460) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400253)

What Krugman is missing, I think, is the distinction between progress in the technical items themselves, vs. finding out what can be done with them, especially finding out what can be done with them once they're ubiquitous. We can't really know until a generation has grown up with them. Those of us here on Slashdot, nerds though we be, aren't steeped in them the way the kids being born now will be, for the very reason that the stuff is special to us. That's not to minimize what we can accomplish with it, but the coming generation of kids will never know what it's like not to have network access, not to have ready access to processing power, not to be constantly in touch with everyone they know. They will be able to find things to do with it that don't occur to us, because the underlying technology will be mundane to them. We've got at least twenty years until this revolution is over.

Consider one example of the "what can be done once a technology is ubiquitous" thing: FedEx. It and its competitors have significantly changed the businesses in the developed world operate, but when it was founded, all the technology that it was based on was well-established -- small jet cargo aircraft and wide geographical coverage of airports that can operate them.

Is the computer revolution just getting started? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400297)

No.

IR #3 is actually IR #2, but a different "I". (4, Informative)

conspirator23 (207097) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400313)

The development of modern computing and telecommunications is not an industrial revolution of the type characterized by IR #1 and IR #2, and this is where Gordon's assumptions falter and Krugman's skepticism gains traction.

The "I" in this case refers to Information not Industry, and it is the 2nd one. The 1st one was the development of the printing press. From this standpoint, IR #1 (the printing press and movable type) took centuries for it's impact to be fully realized. The depth and breadth of it's influence on western civilization is difficult to measure in "simple" macroeconomic terms. Likewise, IR #2 (the electronic digitization of information) is a revolution that is so fundamental in nature that I don't believe it lends itself to being mapped as cleanly as Gordon implies.

Krugman starts the conversation in a couple of good spots: robotics and it's impact on GDP, and the potential of Big Data to drive decision making. What about desktop manufacturing (aka 3D printing)? MOOC? Genomics? Realtime translation?

In fact the more that I think about it, the more I think that Gordon has successfully found an important trend, but has the wrong story to explain it. The first two Industrial revolutions owe their economic impacts to advances in our energy metabolism as a species. Gordon's IR#1 was about the conversion of hydrocarbons into mechanical energy using steam. Gordon's IR#2 was about the conversion of hydrocarbons into electricity using steam turbines, and into mechanical energy using internal combustion. Economic benefits from the digital revolution has much more to do with efficiency and productivity, and almost nothing to do with finding new sources of energy to exploit. Indeed we're using more energy than ever to push information around, but each joule expended has had a significant ROI from an economic standpoint. Consider Just In Time [wikipedia.org] production techniques, which are dependent on the ability to rapidly gather and disseminate information up and down the manufacturing supply chain. There's not a whole hell of a lot more efficiency that we're going to wring out of JIT. In fact, Japan's Tsunami disaster demonstrated that we are now SO optimized from an industrial standpoint that natural disasters in one part of the world can have nearly immediate impacts across the global economy. In other words, we have reached the point of diminishing returns on the productivity gains that digital information can provide to the industrial economy.

So Gordon is wrong, but about the right things.

yes, the owners of robots will be rich (1)

terec (2797475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42400355)

Ah, you ask, but what about the people? Very good question. Smart machines may make higher GDP possible, but also reduce the demand for people — including smart people. So we could be looking at a society that grows ever richer, but in which all the gains in wealth accrue to whoever owns the robots.

Indeed, the gains in wealth accrue to whoever owns the robots, and that will be everybody. The reason you don't have a robot at home is because they are expensive, but in a world in which smart machines can build lots of things for very little money, they can build robots for very little money, and everybody will have them.

Does that sound like scifi? Actually, you can already have a 3D printer at home and manufacture more 3D printers with it. There are some electronic parts and motors you still need to order, but those are cheap generic components.

keep Gordon away from the Anti-Mass Spectrometer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400357)

keep Gordon away from the Anti-Mass Spectrometer

Technology will create jobs, not destroy them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42400369)

As long as the field of economics has existed, people have predicted that improved technology/efficiency would destroy jobs, and every single time those people have been proven wrong. Yeah, some typewriter mechanics lost jobs with the personal computer, but just look at the entire industries that personal computers have spawned.

To flip the argument, if employment _didn't_ come from increased efficiency, why bother with trucks? Why not just carry materials around on our backs?

Also, Paul Krugman is a total idiot-- he's been wrong about absolutely _everything_ in the past.

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