"Occupations that use computers grow faster, not slower. This is true even for highly routine and mid-wage occupations. Estimates reject computers as a source of significant net technological unemployment or job polarization. But computerized occupations substitute for other occupations, shifting employment and requiring new skills. Because new skills are costly to learn, computer use is associated with substantially greater within-occupation wage inequality."
At Harvard Business Review: "Economic inequality has become a prominent issue in this year’s U.S. presidential election...By many measures, the gap between high earners and low earners has widened substantially. But is this all the result of nefarious influence-peddling by the 1%? In fact, new research shows that a substantial part of the growth in this wage gap can be attributed to computer technology.
At The Atlantic.com: Automation isn’t just for blue-collar workers anymore. Computers are now taking over tasks performed by professional workers, raising fears of massive unemployment...But these fears are misplaced—what’s happening with automation is not so simple or obvious. It turns out that workers will have greater employment opportunities if their occupation undergoes some degree of computer automation. As long as they can learn to use the new tools, automation will be their friend.
At Harvard Business Review: "Today’s great paradox is that we feel the impact of technology everywhere – in our cars, our phones, the supermarket, the doctor’s office – but not in our paychecks. We work differently, communicate with each other differently, create differently, and entertain ourselves differently, all thanks to new technology. Yet since the beginning of the personal computer revolution three decades ago, the median wage has remained stagnant."
James Bessen in Foreign Affairs
Politics is about balancing competing interests. Opposing factions battle one another but ultimately compromise, each getting something it wants. In recent decades, however, start-ups have consistently lost out. Whereas established interests have the money and lobbying power to buy political influence, newer firms offer only the promise of future profits. As Jim Cooper, a Democratic congressman from Tennessee, has framed the problem, “The future has no lobbyists.”
James Bessen in Harvard Business Review Blog:
“Why are skills sometimes hard to measure and to manage? Because new technologies frequently require specific new skills that schools don’t teach and that labor markets don’t supply. Since information technologies have radically changed much work over the last couple of decades, employers have had persistent difficulty finding workers who can make the most of these new technologies.”
EconTalk on Learning by Doing
Financial Times, working with robots
Wall Street Journal, "The Future is here; it just needs a big push"
NY Times on computer automation and here; also US News
The New Yorker, "College Calculus"
Senator Hatch citing research on patent reform: