A Major Revival in US Productivity?

Robert Gordon and others to the contrary, the Economist‘s Free Exchange blogger thinks machine learning technology may finally trigger a singularitysignificant boom in US productivity:

Initial gains from IT were simply too small to affect productivity statistics, because the affected part of the economy was simply too small. When the contribution became large enough to drive faster national productivity growth it was initially due to very rapid improvements within the IT sector itself. Then, by the early 2000s, productivity gains began to fan out to sectors and firms that merely relied on the new IT technologies.

It will take a while for recent innovations to retrace these steps. . . . As Google and other companies . . . improve on these technologies and find new ways to use them, the tech sector should experience greater productivity gains over a greater range of businesses, potentially nudging measured productivity upward. And then, one suspects, the “general purpose” phase of machine-intelligence-driven productivity will commence, partly as the tech companies themselves eat more of the economy, and partly as their applications are sold to or used by firms in other parts of the economy.

Stay tuned.  The full post is here.

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