The Bactra Review   The Weightless World
When a commodity is easily produced and distributed in large quantities, it becomes very cheap, i.e., its value declines; and this is precisely what is happening to information. Worse: information-processing getting exponentially cheaper over time, due (among other things) to Moore's Law. It becomes cost-effective to replace larger and larger categories of human information-processors with machines, even if it has to be done in a brute-force-and-massive-ignorance way. Electronic ``computing machines'' were invented to do precisely this, to replace human ``computers'' in doing numerical calculations; they were so effective that the profession has completely disappeared. The tasks of manipulating data-bases and texts, both of which people are quite bad at, were the next ones to fall. These three remain the real killer apps of computation, but of course more and more skills are getting automated every year; think of animation and type-setting. If this trend continues, human symbol-processing will become as archaic as hand-weaving, and human symbol-processors, whether in Manhattan or Bangalore, as employable as weavers. Coyle quotes this (entirely correct) argument of Krugman's, but doesn't take it up.