The Future Could Work, if We Let It

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One persistent criticism of the tech industry is that it no longer works on big ideas.

For all of Silicon Valley’s talk of changing the world, critics say, Google and Facebook mainly hire armies of coders to figure out how to serve you more relevant ads, while Apple and Amazon just want to keep selling you new stuff.

These are crude takes, but they get at the disillusionment with an industry whose recent innovations do not seem to have resulted in measurably more prosperous lives for most Americans. Yes, the phone you carry today is far more powerful than the one you had a decade ago. But if your wages haven’t climbed and your job is imperiled because of some of the very technologies in that phone, should you rejoice?

Matt Rogers and Stefan Heck say you should. Mr. Rogers and Mr. Heck are management consultants who have long studied how technology shapes business, and in a provocative new book they put forward the ultimate optimist’s case for why the tech industry might substantially improve most of our lives.

If you’re feeling down about the world, the book, “Resource Revolution: How to Capture the Biggest Business Opportunity in a Century,” is an antidote. Mr. Rogers and Mr. Heck outline how emerging advances — among them 3-D printing, autonomous vehicles, modular construction systems and home automation — might in time alter some of the world’s largest industries and bring prosperity to billions of people.

They put forward a rigorous argument bolstered by mountains of data and recent case studies. And once you start looking at Silicon Valley their way, your mind reels at the far-reaching potential of the innovations now spreading through society.

Read more . . .

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