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Analytics & Data IoE Manufacturing

Techonomic Top 5: Predicting War with Data, Biological Manufacturing, the IOE Economy, and more

Every week we spotlight techonomic happenings on the Web and beyond, picking people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech’s ever-growing role in business and society. Here’s what’s got our attention.   More

Business Digital

Will the Internet of Things Undermine Capitalism?

Jeremy Rifkin writes in the New York Times about the future of the collaborative, sharing, free economy, making some original new points. Most notably, he argues that because the Internet of Things will radically accelerate the growth of sharing and efficiency, it will implicitly lead to a reduction in capitalism itself and a further rise in the importance of non-profit institutions. The rise of "free goods," tackled directly at Techonomy 2012 by MIT economist Erik Brynolffson, is in Rifkin's opinion now going to extend well beyond the digital and virtual (where things like Gmail, this website, and innumerable other free opportunities are available). Rifkin argues that capitalism, while it has a future, will become a "niche" part of the economy. Philanthropy and NGOs may become much more central to all of our notions of social leadership and economic health.   More

Business Digital

The Anti-Techonomic View: Economic Growth Is Over

The Techonomic view of how continued rapid technological innovation will transform society and industries is expressed on these pages every day. MIT economist Erik Brynjolfsson is among those who say "our best days are still ahead of us." Northwestern macroeconomist Robert Gordon might be the anti-Techonomist.   More

Digital Opinion

Who Says the Internet Isn’t Making Life Better?

A standard trope these days is that we in the middle class have been slogging through a couple of decades of woe. Wages are stagnant. Our standard of living isn’t improving. The grand forces of our time—the Internet and globalization—are failing to better our lives, and may be making things worse. The numbers prove it. But here’s the problem: the traditional numbers used by the government and economists measure the wrong stuff for the twenty-first century.   More

Energy & Green Tech Jobs Manufacturing

Deloitte’s Chris Park: 3D Printing for Cleaner and Leaner U.S. Manufacturing

Revitalizing manufacturing is essential to U.S. economic recovery, but it’s not clear yet how this new phase might look. One thing is certain: it won’t look anything thing like manufacturing did 15 or even 5 years ago. PARC CEO Stephen Hoover has spoken at Techonomy events about how innovations like 3D printing and crowdsourcing can drive a paradigm shift in manufacturing. But can a new American manufacturing approach also be eco-friendly? Techonomy spoke with Chris Park, a principal at Deloitte who helps clients with their environmental, social, and sustainability performance, about how next-generation manufacturing technology could reduce environmental impact and bring jobs back to the U.S.   More

Manufacturing

Can Robots Be Job Creators?

In their recent comments on "60 Minutes," and at the Techonomy 2012 conference, MIT economists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfssonn may have given the impression that robots are poised to swipe the jobs of U.S. workers. As reported in The New York Times, robotics experts assembled at the Automate 2013 trade show in Chicago offered a different outlook. Henrik I. Christensen, Chair of Robotics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said that while he agrees that automation could make certain types of jobs obsolete, it will also create new, higher-paying jobs. The International Federation of Robotics reinforced this argument with the release of findings from a report that predicts the robotics industry will help create 1.9 million to 3.5 million jobs by 2020.   More

Manufacturing Video

Why Robots Might Boost Industry While Killing Jobs

Globalization is an easy culprit for the recent wave of U.S. unemployment, with domestic jobs shipped overseas to be replaced by cheap labor, often without adverse impact on the quality of a company's products or services. Apple is just one high-profile example of this trend. But automation and robotics may be contributing even more to our stubborn unemployment figures. Paradoxically, robots could also help bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. The Jan. 13 broadcast of 60 Minutes featured several Techonomists to help explain how this might happen.   More

Business Jobs Techonomy Tucson Video

Erik Brynjolfsson Argues that Tech is Major Driver of Economic Growth

In this session from Techonomy 2011, in Tuscon, Ariz., Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the Center for Digital Business at MIT, argues that technology is a major driver of economic growth and productivity. Any lag in productivity, he says, is due to our inability to keep up with the changes in technology. This is Brynjolfsson's argument in a debate with Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University.   More