... American and European companies into relocating their manufacturing operations.
This combination of multinationals' corporate greed and Chinese guile caused millions of US and European jobs to move to China, and manufacturing became the underpinning of China’s growth and prosperity.
But rising labor costs, concerns over government-sponsored intellectual property theft ... and production time-lags are already causing companies such as Dow Chemicals, Caterpillar, General Electric, and Ford to start moving some manufacturing processes back to the US.
Google recently announced that its Nexus Q streaming media player would be made in the US, thereby putting pressure on Apple to start following suit.
But political pressure and rising costs aren’t what’s going to rapidly change the equation. The disruption will come from a set of technologies that are advancing at exponential rates and converging.
These technologies include robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and nanotechnology. These have been moving slowly so far, but are now beginning to advance exponentially, reflecting the growth trajectory of computing overall.
Computing has advanced to the point at which the smartphones we carry in our pockets have more processing power than the super computers of the ’60s — and how the internet, which also has its origins in the ’60s, went on an exponential growth path some fifteen years ago and rapidly changed the way we work, shop, and communicate.
That’s what lies ahead for these new technologies.
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