The critical question for policymakers and business executives is to what extent the latest generation of technologies is going to transform our economies and societies.
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The talk was that automation was going to imperil the jobs of millions of workers, leading to an "industrial revolution of unmitigated cruelty".As John Markoff says in his 2015 book Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots, fears of automation have been a cyclical phenomenon for more than 70 years – as have the excessive, near religious promises for the transformative powers of new technologies.A report last year by the US Technology CEO Council had few doubts the latest technologies were a game changer. They estimated that the effects of the information revolution had transformed just 30 per cent of the US private-sector economy, and that applying such technologies to the rest of the private sector would boost the size of the US economy by $2.7tn by 2031 .Yandex studied seven years of smelting data and used a real-time machine-learning system to calculate the optimal "recipe" of ingredients to produce the best steel with the least energy.Sometimes the accumulation of such incremental improvements can lead to fundamental change.
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