There is immense hyperbole about recent developments in artificial intelligence, especially Large Language Models like ChatGPT. Observers are missing two very important things. Every wave of technological innovation has been unleashed by something costly becoming cheap enough to waste. Software production has been too complex and expensive for too long, which has caused us to underproduce software for decades, resulting in immense, society-wide technical debt. This technical debt is about to contract in a dramatic, economy-wide fashion as the cost and complexity of software production collapses, releasing a wave of innovation What if the cost of software production is following similar curves, perhaps even steeper curves, and is on its way to falling to something like zero?
- Date Posted:
- March 20, 2023
Since 2010 the foreign sales of listed American and European companies have grown by a meager 2% per year, down from 8% in the 2000s and 10% in the 1990s. Look across all industries, and China is responsible for less than one-eighth of Western firms’ foreign revenues, according to Morgan Stanley, an investment bank—a much smaller share than American and European sales across the Atlantic or to the rest of the emerging world. Only 8% of European companies’ total revenues come from China. For their American counterparts, the figure is 4%. According to bea figures, American multinationals’ sales in China were flat between 2017 and 2020. In India they grew by 6% a year in the same period. Western multinationals are, then, becoming somewhat less Chinese. Between 1990 and 2021 the average return on equity of American and European listed companies with less than $1bn in sales fell from 8% to 4%. That for firms with revenues of $10bn or more rose from 12% to 18%. And being big is easier if you are international. In 2021 American and European listed companies with $10bn-plus in revenue generated 43% of their sales abroad on average, compared with just 32% for those with sales below $1bn. Global reach is, in other words, more important than ever.