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August 30, 2007

« Inequality and Productivity | Main | A Nation of Immigrants »

So, where does all that different firm productivity come from?  Why, from technology of course.  (It is the "canned" answer, but it does explain at least part of the difference.)  Both, me and my dissertation would argue that other innovations, including management skill, also plays an important role.

However, Stuart Elliot of the National Research Council’s Center for Education offers an interesting take on where the application of all this new technology is going to lead us....

To the displacement (nice way to say elimination) of 60% (yep, SIX-OH percent) of the current U.S. workforce (or at least the jobs they are doing).  In Projecting the Impact of Computers on Work in 2030, Elliot organized data on 93 of the 96 groups of occupations used in the Department of Labor’s Standard Occupational Classification system (information was not available for military-specific occupations). For each of these occupational groups, values were then provided on a seven-point scale for four types of skills: language, reasoning, vision and movement.

Using information about current artificial intelligence research and postulating on the exponential increase of computational processing power in the future, Elliot paints a picture of the functionality of computers in language, reasoning, vision and movement skills by 2030. As computers are able to complete certain tasks faster and more cheaply than humans, those tasks may shift from human performance to computer performance. For example, the study predicts that 90 percent of current office and administrative support occupations will be displaced by technology in this period. But not all occupations are expected to fair the same. Legal occupations, including lawyers, are only predicted to see 6 percent of their jobs displaced.

posted by Kevin Stolarick

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Comments

Michael Bernstein

ObNitPick: "fare the same".

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