What Will Productivity Be Like In 100 Years?
Thirty years ago, personal productivity looked really different than it does right now. Office communication happened on paper memos, computers were massive and limited in functionality, and the Rolodex was king. If you weren’t at your desk, you probably weren’t working—you might have a car phone or a pager, but it’s a far cry from taking conference calls in Ubers, or managing your inbox from an airplane, or quickly resolving a situation in Singapore from your phone between passing the salt at the dinner table.
If you look at the tangled and endlessly growing jungle of apps, automations, digital collaboration tools that allow us to work more and faster than ever, you might think that our collective productivity must be better now than ever.
But you would be wrong.
In economic terms, productivity describes the relationship of inputs (labor and capital) to outputs (revenue, GDP, etc.). Basically: for what you put in, how much are you getting out. 1
And here’s the surprising news: despite all Productivity in the U.S economy (and other advanced nations has fallen significantly since 2010, and has been declining overall for the past three decades.