Posted by: qmaxim | January 10, 2014

US sun is not setting

Last week Vivek Wadhwa, a leading technology futurist wrote a blog – ‘They’re Wrong: The Sun is Rising, Not Setting on America’. This received  huge  response from netizens.
I also commented, my comments appear below.

There is no doubt that US is uniquely positioned to develop and  lead  innovation in the coming years.

Assuming some of the technologies mentioned gain traction  there will be several consequences.

–          As the manufacturing systems gain in smartness and become more automated  there will be two class of workers. First  class would be unskilled laborers. They will be in majority as the skills required to run operations will see a steady decline. Second class of workers would be highly skilled engineers and technicians needed to build, program and  maintain these smart machines.
Life  for the  first class of workers will get tougher day by day & income  will steadily decline.  There will be shortage of second class workers and their income will see a sharp spurt. Due to this  shortage, many aspects will get outsourced to other countries. Some of these trends are already being seen.

–          Not all the manufacturing is likely to shift back to US. Manufacturing which is  low tech., high on carbon foot print or labor intensive  will continue to be made in countries such as  China, India, Indonesia. These constitute large part of manufacturing economy.

–          Availability low cost natural gas in the US is also  likely  lead to increased growth of  chemical industries for which natural gas is a feedstock. There is more value addition in utilizing natural gas for this purpose as compared to  electricity generation.

–          Due to US becoming nearly self sufficient in oil  in the next few years, there will be less and less support in the Congress & the public for military interventions in places like the Middle East.

–          As the number of connected devices increases greatly due to technologies such as internet of things &  and due to ubiquitous nature of these technologies,  concern about the privacy is going to see a sharp increase.

Finally, due to bitterly divided US congress,   there is no guarantee that legislation  required to make some of  these technologies bear fruit may get passed  soon.

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