Will the Rate of Technological Progress Continue to Accelerate?

My brother, an economist at the University of Chicago, during a recent presentation at Utah State University on risk and uncertainty, quoted two scholars about the future of technology:

First, Joel Mokyr (2013), economic historian at Northwestern University who specializes in technology:

There are a myriad of reasons why the future should bring more technological progress than ever before – perhaps the most important being that technological innovation itself creates questions and problems that need to be fixed through further technological progress.

Second, Robert Gordon (2016), an economist, also at Northwestern University:

…the rise and fall of growth are inevitable when we recognize that progress occurs more rapidly in some time periods than others…The 1870-1970 century was unique: Many of these inventions could only happen once, and others reached natural limits.

I don’t understand Gordon’s point.  I will have to read some of his work.  I don’t understand what is magic about 1970.  And there is certainly an excellent case for arguing an ongoing accelerating rate of technological progress.

I’m in Mokyr’s camp.  And the world needs to better prepare for a future that brings “more technological progress than ever before.”  To answer the question in the title:  HELL YES.

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