Thursday, March 22, 2012

This is not my father’s Kuznets Curve

I was surprised to read this:

Futurist John Smart, president and founder of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, recalled an insight of economist Simon Kuznets about evolution of technology effects known as the Kuznets curve: “First-generation tech usually causes ‘net negative’ social effects; second-generation ‘net neutral’ effects; by the third generation of tech—once the tech is smart enough, and we've got the interface right, and it begins to reinforce the best behaviors—we finally get to ‘net positive’ effects,” he noted.

The Kuznets Curve and its close cousin the environmental Kuznets Curve, usually says that as a country grows, inequality (environmental pollution) will first increase and then decrease. I suppose that in layman’s terms all its really saying is that things will get worse before they get better which is what John Smart might be trying to say.

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