Some good questions, by the Berkeley economist Brad DeLong:
Let me simply assert that a fruitful way to analyze the social and
economic impact of every technological revolution that has taken place
over the past two and a half centuries is to seek the answers to four
different questions, and then to draw out the implications of those
- What commodities–what goods and services–become extraordinarily cheap as a result of the technological revolution?
- What human activities–what jobs and skills–become key bottlenecks, and thus become remarkably valuable and well-paid?
- What risks blindside the society as the technology spreads?
- What risks do people guard against that turn out not to be risks at all?
Of course it is relatively straightforward to do looking backwards. The interesting bit is attempting to do it looking forwards – and that entails answering an earlier question – what is the next technological revolution to which these questions should be applied?