Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Moore’s Law and labour productivity

For most of 2010-2019, articles have been claiming that Moore’s Law (on computer processor performance) is ending. Similarly, labour productivity has been declining since the mid 1970’s. The Dutch FT even wondered whether ICT is slowing down economic growth. Mid November 2019, the University of Michigan announced a new transistor design that aims to surpass Moore’s Law (eg, Engineering, U-M News).

The Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 has (had) three waves:

  1. Before 1800: human use of (iron, stone & wooden) tools (eg, wheel);
  2. 1800-1900: mechanisation by using (powered) machines (eg, automobile);
  3. 1900-2000: automation by using computers;
  4. 2000-2100: Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (eg, self-driving car).

Moore’s Law is crucial for enabling the 3rd wave of Artificial Intelligence & Robotics. Quite likely, there will be an immense productivity boost. On the other hand, there will be mass unemployment during the temporary mismatch between labour supply and labour demand. This mismatch will be in skills and in volume. Possibly, this mismatch will take decades to solve.

A part of the future volume mismatch will be solved by the ongoing global birth rate decline. The mismatch in skills is a different story. A recent Stanford analysis claims that “better-paid, better-educated workers face the most exposure” (eg, Brookings, Stanford University, my 1 December 2019 blog). 

Labour productivity and Moore’s Law will probably merge into a new (singularity) statistic. This will announce the “start” of the Technological singularity: “a hypothetical future point in time when technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.”

This technological singularity may seem far away but it is not. More and more, humans use technology for replacing failing body parts (eg, intraocular lenses, powered exoskeletons, prosthetic limbs). This phenomenon is known as transhumanism, or humanoid sapiens in my blogs. 

Wiki: “In his 2002 book Our Posthuman Future and in a 2004 Foreign Policy magazine article, political economist and philosopher Francis Fukuyama designates transhumanism as the world’s most dangerous idea because he believes that it may undermine the egalitarian ideals of democracy (in general) and liberal democracy (in particular) through a fundamental alteration of “human nature“”.

“Prosperity or egalitarianism — you have to choose. I favor freedom — you never achieve real equality anyway: you simply sacrifice prosperity for an illusion.” A quote by Mario Vargas Llosa, “a Peruvian writer, politician, journalist, essayist and college professor”.

Ayo Technology (2008) by Milow

artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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1 Comment

  1. Narayana Rao K.V.S.S.

    Rationally labor productivity per day should not go down either when all people in the population or working population is the denominator. If capital goes up in the economy, labor productivity has to go up rationally. If it is going down, it means we are making mistakes in capital creation. The capital is not productive to the extent we expected.


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