“The Second Machine Age” Is Out of Our Hands, and Will Soon Be in Yours (I Hope)

December 18, 2013

Erik Brynjolfsson and I found that we weren’t nearly done thinking and writing about technological progress and what it means for businesses, economies, and societies after Race Against the Machine, so we wrote another book. This one’s called The Second Machine Age, because that’s what we believe we’re heading into. The first machine age was brought […]

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At Last, Some Good Employment News

December 11, 2013

The November jobs report from the BLS was the most encouraging in a long time, because all three indicators of employment that I look at headed in the right direction. The employment rate (which is 100-the unemployment rate), the labor force participation rate (the percentage of adults who are in the labor force instead of […]

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Tonight: the First Debate of the Second Machine Age

December 5, 2013

I just learned that I’ll be on PBS NewsHour tonight (Thursday, December 5 at 6 pm EST) talking about technological progress and its economic implications. This is great, because these are exactly the topics I’ve been spending a lot of time on, and the subjects of The Second Machine Age, the book Erik Brynjolfsson and I […]

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I Co-Wrote a Book. You’ll be Hearing About It…

November 27, 2013

Over the past seemingly forever Erik Brynjolfsson and I wrote The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. Norton is bringing it out in late January of 2014. All authors are contractually obligated to say the following, but that doesn’t make it less true: I’m really excited about this […]

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Big Data Reveal Three Surprising Facts About Chinese Censorship

November 26, 2013

I went to a stellar presentation last week by Gary King, a political scientist at Harvard and director of the school’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science. He talked about research he’s been conducting with Jennifer Pan and Margaret Roberts about the nature and practice of censorship in China today. This work got started when King’s […]

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In Memoriam: Chris Argyris

November 19, 2013

“When a sage dies all are his kin and should mourn the passing.” – The Talmud One day in about 2007, Chris Argyris walked into my office at Harvard Business School, where I was teaching at the time. On seeing him, I assumed got lost as he was looking for some other famous faculty member […]

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How to Talk to Your Keynote Speaker

November 15, 2013

I do a lot of speaking at conferences these days. A common format is a 45 minute presentation, followed by 15 minutes of questions from the audience, followed by a break. With this flow, it’s natural for the speaker to come offstage and talk to people during the break. And I’ll speak for keynoters everywhere […]

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Let’s Stop Kidding Ourselves and Start Innovating in Education

October 23, 2013

A new study is out from the OECD about worker skills in many countries, and it ain’t pretty for the US. It examined literacy, numeracy, and problem solving skills among adults. Compared to other countries we’re not doing well in any of these, and as the New York Times summarizes: Americans were comparatively weak-to-poor in […]

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Confirmed: Business Investment in Gear is Higher Than Ever

October 4, 2013

In an earlier post I showed data indicating that US corporate investment in gear — in equipment and software – was at an all-time high, contrary to some reports to the contrary. I acknowledged, though, that the data from my digital RA FRED only went back as far as 1995 so I couldn’t conclusively say […]

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The Virtuous Cycle of Existing Theory and Big Data

October 3, 2013

In recent decades a ton of research has led to the conclusion that while some aspects of our personalities change over time, others are remarkably stable. There are now pretty accurate (we think) pencil-and-paper tests you can take that will give an accurate measure of how extraverted you are, how neurotic, and so on. I […]

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