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How technology affects the economy

Gerald Been
minutes reading time
May 27, 2020

It is becoming poignantly clear in the current crisis that our economy depends on a wide range of factors. The driving force of data and the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence, among other things, make the playing field for economists complicated. Can we better map out these factors? We discuss it with Hans Stegeman of Triodos Investment Management.

As Head of Investment Analysis and Economics, Stegeman observes the influence of innovations up close and can tell how market movements are estimated. In the conversation, he discusses how investors assess new technologies. Do people see the usefulness of it, does the technology have a social significance? Many of these questions are essential to predict the impact on our economy.

This is necessary because in many areas technology determines the course of our society. Among other things with influences on the return on labour, our prosperity and general life expectancy. That is why it is important to look at the possible implications of a development from different perspectives. By focusing only on the economic aspect, it is difficult to estimate how broad the consequences can be.

Take, for example, a steam engine; at the time no one expected this technology to herald the start of a new era. In the first applications, the design of a coach was still very much adhered to. Eventually, when creating the train, wagons were placed behind it only after a few iterations. People are simply not able to immediately see all the possibilities of a new technology. 

Looking at current developments, Stegeman indicates that new "steam engines" are approaching. He suspects that we can expect this with electrification and the deployment of data and AI. Especially the latest techniques will permanently change our contemporary way of working: standardized and repetitive actions can be automated. However, it will not immediately cause a lot of unemployment, jobs like cleaning houses or cutting hairstyles are not yet ready for automation. New jobs will be created in synergy with our changing society.

Do you want to listen to the whole podcast with Hans Stegeman? Then click here.

Gerald Been
Managing Partner
Gerald is at the helm of Node1. With his strong vision, analytical view and technological expertise, he knows how to discover and refute the bottleneck in every project. A project is only successful when both measurable and tangible improvements have been made.

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