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Automation As Colonization Wave

Why is automation/productivity growth so slow & “you can see the computer age everywhere but the statistics”, especially when AI has become so powerful? Because “the future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed”—inertia & path-dependence.

Existing companies & processes are so hardwired to use humans as the basic building block that they must be reconceived to exploit new possibilities. Otherwise, you get absurdities like robotic process automation⁠.

This ‘overhang’ also explains why startup ideas fail repeatedly before succeeding & crises can lead to abrupt increases in existing technologies: the “rising water” was held back by levees of local optimums.

This prodigious event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars requires time, deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the most distant stars—and yet they have done it themselves.