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Why productivity growth has stalled since 2005 — and isn’t about to improve soon




Not long ago it seemed as if the future was going to get better and better — not long ago at all.

For me the high point was around 2005, 15 years ago.

I don’t know if you can remember how you felt at the time, but for me the surge in living standards, driven by an ever-building surge in output per working hour (“productivity”), suggested things were building on themselves: each new innovation was making use of the ones that had come before to the point where….

Ray Kurzweil, now the director of research at Google, summed it up in a book released in 2005 itself, titled The Singularity Is Near.

Singularity was “a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be…

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