India! I dare you to be rich

The robotic economy and the economic impact of robotics #2

As Yahoo announces its 1 TERRABYTE of free cloud computing space for EVERYONE on earth (and this is only 2013), this issue of the impact of the robotic economy (robotic age) has become more urgent.

In 2012, the first computer that crossed the human brain's processing capacity (16 petaflops) was built.

By 2019, Kurzweil is predicting a $1,000 computer that will match the processing power of the human brain.  But the bigger issue is that within 20 years the fastest computer will be thousands of times "smarter" than humans. By 2055 a $1,000 computer will match the processing power of ALL human brains on Earth. I agree broadly with Kurzweil.

What this means is the pace of human progress is going to accelerate at a most unbelievable rate from now. This will be accompanied by the largest job-shedding episode in human history. Job creation will also occur, but will not keep pace with job-shedding. Much of this net loss of jobs will likely be permanent. I'm reviewing the literature and trying to use my economic instincts, but a tentative view is that at some point computers will design most future improvements as they become capable of self-learning.

While I continue with my reading/compilation of data (I'm going to directly 'publish' a draft 'book' called "The Robotic Age") I invite you to listen to this wonderful talk by Andrew McAfee (also do read his wonderful book: Race Against the Machine).

I have much to agree, and much to disagree with Andrew. Not being an economist he over-emphases technology and fails to appreciate the significance of underlying institutional arrangements.

I also optimistic about the future but there are VERY SIGNIFICANT issues that need to be articulated and understood, and many policy concepts to be clarified. Given the sad and sorry state of mankind today, there is no particular reason to believe that humans will become better at policy making in the future.


After some thinking, I've come to a view that the Robotic Age does not require a new economics. It require MORE of good economics.

A book project: The Glorious Abundance and Creativity of the Robotic Age

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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