The new challenges of the technological era

From technology to surveillance, to the power of giant tech. A series of videos from the GROWINPRO/OECD conference. With the Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz

What is the impact of the digital transformation on the production and on the distribution of value? The first GROWINPRO annual conference, jointly organised with the OECD and held on January 27 and 28, provided analysis and policy recommendations to tackle the social consequences of the digital revolution.

During the conference academics, practitioners, and high-level policy representatives delved into a wide array of aspects of the current technological paradigm, from the analysis of productivity to the global value chain and the pattern pf employment.

Giovanni Dosi (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and deputy coordinator of the GROWINPRO project) set the scene arguing that the processes of innovation and diffusion of what we call “intelligent automation” are likely to deeply affect the patterns of distribution of income and power, especially with respect to employment, income distribution, working conditions and labour relations.

The Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz – member of the GROWINPRO advisory board – addressed participants with a keynote speech on the social consequences of the digital revolution – “Bridging or expanding divides: value creation and distribution in the digital era”.

“This time may be different”, warned Stiglitz. “In the past innovation created machines that were stronger than humans, and that that could process information better. What is new about artificial intelligence is that we have created innovation that can learn”. Before the arrival of the new paradigm, innovation drove the demand for labour with the result of rising wages. “That innovation has created a more egalitarian society from which we all benefitted”, said Stiglitz: “But this time is different, innovation may be labour and resource-saving, and there may be more inequality in our society”.

A special session of the conference was dedicated to the exploration of policy tools that governments need in order to tackle the challenges brought about by the technological change. The panel, chaired by Chiara Criscuolo (OECD economist), included Fiona Scott Morton (Yale School of Management), Pierre Régibeau (chief economist at DG Competition), and Giovanni Dosi (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies).

Watch here Giovanni Dosi’s speech

Watch here Joseph Stiglitz’s speech

Watch here the policy round table