Me and Paul Krugman don’t agree on everything, but the idea that He Who Owns the Bots Owns the Economy is where both of our heads are at.
Krugman challenges the conclusions of Bob Gordon’s much-debated “End of Growth” theory with the idea that GDP growth can be whatever we want it to be in the robo-future.
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.
The next big tech revolution will mean plenty of bots. Not like Rosie from the Jetsons or C3PO from Star Wars, I’m not talking about droids or anthropomorphized tin people. Have a look at the way Elon Musk is churning out Tesla Model S cars to get an idea of where we’re going. Tesla’s “auto workers” don’t take many smoke breaks or require health and dental.
So what’s the answer for humans to prosper as this age comes upon us? Invest. Own the robots.
There aren’t any ways into the trend yet for stock investors, but there will be. So pay attention.
Inside Tesla – Model S Body Center (Vimeo)