Paul Krugman: Life-Changing Tech Revolution Coming

Wednesday, 13 Feb 2013 08:03 AM

By Michael Kling

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Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman says we’re about to experience a technological revolution that will change our economy.

“Just now it looks like technologies that are really going to change our economy are breaking upon us,” he told Business Insider.

The coming revolution, he said, would have a greater impact than Internet-based advances that have changed how data is exchanged but did not affect how physical materials or people are moved.

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.

“So far the information technology revolution doesn’t hold a candle to previous technology revolutions,” Krugman, a columnist for The New York Times, told Business Insider.

“The really big revolutions were the ones that took place largely towards the end of the 19 century that actually powered growth for a long time after that.”

Krugman cited the example of driverless cars, which, moving in platoons down the highway, could slash commuting times and cause productivity to explode. Driverless cars, he said, are “almost upon us.”

And that’s not the only technological revolution that’s brewing.

“The truth of the matter is that nobody knows,” about the future, Krugman said, reciting the Yogi Berra saying: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Still, he sees “a pretty decent chance” of another wave of technological innovation. “We are actually making some really significant forward movement on stuff that seemed really stalled.”

Although Google hopes to introduce driverless cars to the public in three to five years, regulators and insurance companies aren’t sure they’ll be in use that soon, Bloomberg reports.

Self-driving vehicles “are a long way off,” Dave Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told Bloomberg.

Google has self-driving test cars on roads in Nevada, California and Florida and continues to work on the software. The challenge is making sure the software is reliable and is programmed to respond to many different situations, Anthony Levandowski, Google’s product manager for the technology, told Bloomberg.

“We’re really focusing on building in the reliability so we can trust and understand the system will perform safely in all conditions,” he said. “How can you trust the system? How do you know how it can perform? How do you design it with proper processes in order to understand and minimize failure? How do you bake into a car redundant braking?”

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.

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