Digital Revolution's Winners And Losers
Highly skilled workers and tech-savvy business superstars stand to thrive in the digital economy, while those lacking high-tech skills risk falling further behind.
That's the theory of Erik Brynjolfsson, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Digital Business and author of "Race Against The Machine," which lays out the implications of those trends for workers and businesses.
Speaking at the InformationWeek 500 conference in September, Brynjolfsson said the average worker is worse off today than 10 years ago -- as reflected in the lack of growth of median income -- despite increases in business productivity and personal wealth.
While gross domestic product and average income have risen, not all workers have benefited, Brynjolfsson said. He called the situation "the great paradox of our generation." "Digital technologies have potential for great benefits, but there's no economic law that says everyone's going to share equally," he said. "There are going to be winners, and there are going to be losers."
Brynjolfsson expects the trends behind this digital revolution to continue: "The next 10 years are going to be even more disruptive."
The same forces that threaten the livelihood of low-skilled workers make it a good time to be an entrepreneur, Brynjolfsson said. Longer term, the educational system must change in ways that give students the new skills they need to participate in the global economy.
In the video below, Brynjolfsson discusses these and other trends.
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John Foley is editor of InformationWeek Government.