Opinion – IMF Working Paper: U.S. Total Factor Productivity Slowdown: Evidence from the U.S. States – John Gelmini

English: Productivity comparison for the membe...

English: Productivity comparison for the member states of the OECD. Productivity is Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per hour worked, as measured in US dollars. Lines for the OECD average and the Euro-zone average shown for comparison. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I share most of Dr Alf’s prognosis.

This is important research and it tells us that education matters more than ever for the future job prospects of the young, whether they are in America or elsewhere.

The study is, of course, looking at the period from 2000 up to the present day and because it is looking at worker productivity and education on a historical basis it has not focussed on AI, robotics, automation, augmented intelligence,  cybernetics, nanotechnology and 3D printing all of which are at a tipping point stage.

By 2019, just 3 years from now, AI will have caught up with human intelligence, and the Google dream of placing an expert system onto a chip and injecting it into the human brain will have either come true or be very much closer. For this, we have the prediction of Ray Kurzweil, Google’s CTO and Chief Futurist, who is also a leading proponent of the Transhumanist Movement.

A firm in California is already printing houses and already it has three Chinese competitors.

Traditional builders, decorators, painters, carpenters and trades people will not be needed in this Brave New World, and since most of them were incapable of attaining further education, they are going to have to become craftsmen, learn a new profession or become marginalised.

Pareto’s 80/20 rule is brutal in its application and cannot be bucked.

This means that the vast majority of people will not be able, unless they are given a lot of help and augmented intelligence, to keep up with what is going on. This will, of course, provide major news challenges for social policies.

The Chinese leadership grasped this essential truth years ago, which is why through their “Go out /bring back in” program, they are getting people to leave China and start businesses in developing countries whilst keeping their best and brightest at home after a dual university education (one in China and the other in a Western university).

Now is a time for waking-up and reinvention, otherwise the future will neither be “Bright nor orange”.

John Gelmini