Basically, smart machines are getting much better at interacting with the natural environment in all its complexity. And that suggests that
Skynet will soon kill us alla real transformative leap is somewhere over the horizon, maybe not this decade, but this generation.
But Brynjolfsson and McAfee have a new book — not yet out, but I have a manuscript — making this point with many examples and a lot of analysis.
There remain big questions about how the benefits of this technological surge, if it’s coming, will be distributed. But I think this kind of thing has to be taken into account when we try to imagine the future; I’m a great Gordon admirer, but his techniques necessarily involve extrapolating from the past, and aren’t well suited to picking up what could be a major inflection point.
Read Paul Krugman’s post for details on the Gordon reference. I’m looking forward to the new book from Brynjolfsson and McAfee.