Where is technology taking the economy?

Publicerat 7 November 2017

Everybody interested in, and concerned about, the now ongoing digital revolution and its impact on business, on the economy and on society should read the article; Where is technology taking the economy? The article is written by Professor W. Brian Arthur and is published in the McKinsey Quarterly October 2017.

Skärmavbild 2017-10-27 kl. 09.23.49The credibility of the article is supported by how nicely it connects to “Part I – How
technology drives economic and social transformations”
in Robert D. Atkinson´s 2004 book “The Past and Future of America´s Economy / Long Waves of Innovation that Power Cycles ofGrowth”. A book that is instrumental in order to understand the mega impacts of disruptive technology systems in general and the digital revolution in particular. For this reason is that book since a decade required reading at the Executive Program in Industrial Management at KTH EXECUTIVE SCHOOL.

Despite the limited size of the article, Professor Arthur succeeds in vividly providing the reader with:

  • A brief historic overview of the emergence of the technology systems forming the platform for the digital revolution, starting to take off in the 1970s.
  • A description of the very important shift from internal to external intelligence and how this changes business.
  • A reflection on the topic of “technological unemployment” and the new jobs to come as well as on the new era, the distributive era, where the problem not is about access to jobs but rather about access to what is produced.
  • A description of some of the new rules, new realities and new dilemmas that must be addressed with large changes and adjustments in one way or other. Professor Arthur ends the article in an optimistic mode by saying; “The needed adjustments will be large and will take decades. But we will make them, we always do.”

What also strikes me is how professor Arthur provides the reader with a useful structure of, as well as a beneficial distance to, the digital revolution we are in the midst of. The non-dogmatic reflective approach, spiced with short examples, adds to the readability of this article – even for those readers who don´t fully agree. Read it!

/Anders Holmström
Director Industrial KTH Executive School