Lots of thoughtful commentary by Art Kavanagh in his recent post, Tech’s unfulfilled promises — well worth putting some time aside to read.
Another of my unprovable suspicions is that, if information technology has made work more productive for anybody, it has done so largely for those whose occupation is the production of yet more information technology. This thought struck me when I was trying to anticipate the objections that readers of this post might raise. Rightly or wrongly, I imagined the objectors as people who themselves work in tech. They’re the ones who see the benefits — to their own lives. For most of the rest of us, the effect of the great advances of recent decades has been felt mainly in the fields of entertainment and leisure: fast gaming machines, streaming audio and video, distracting and addictive social media, same-day delivery of our impulse purchases and sleek, powerful computers that we carry around in our pockets and use to help the likes of Uber, AirBnB and food delivery companies to destroy established businesses and replace them with a void. Tech has, overwhelmingly, given us circuses rather than bread.
This isn’t a new phenomenon, of course. New technologies have almost always been pushed at the public with a view to enriching those doing the pushing. Moving from atoms to bits has just made it a lot easier and more profitable.