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MARK P. MILLS, a physicist, is a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, a faculty fellow at Northwestern University, and partner in Montrose Lane, an energy-tech venture fund. He is author of Digital Cathedrals (2020) and Work in the Age of Robots (2018), and he is the co-author of The Bottomless Well (2006). He served as chairman and CTO of ICx Technologies, helping take it public in 2007. Earlier, Mills co-authored a successful tech investment newsletter, the Huber-Mills Digital Power Report, and prior to that he served in the Reagan White House Science Office and worked for a number of firms in the commercial nuclear industry. He began his career as an experimental physicist and development engineer in microprocessors and fiber optics at the dawn of the semiconductor revolution, earning several patents while working at Bell Northern Research (Canada’s Bell Labs) and at RCA’s microprocessor factory in New Jersey. He holds a BSc, Honours, in physics from Queen’s University, Canada.
It’s true that we’ve wrung much of the magic out of technologies that fueled the last, long boom. But the next great convergence will ignite in the 2020s. And this time, unlike any previous historical moment, we have the Cloud that amplifies that fusion. The next long boom starts now.
Are robots finally replacing humans? Does the emerging age of artificial intelligence and automation mean we will soon see “peak jobs” and the need for a Universal Basic Income to support a widening swath of hapless citizens unsuited for employment in a future “knowledge” workforce? Productivity—reducing labor-hours per unit of product or service—has been the hallmark of progress for centuries.