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Aspen Institute Report Portrays Future Global Economy Reshaped by Rapid Technological Innovation, Networking and Automation

'Power-Curve Society' examines rising economic inequality, challenges to existing institutions and conceptions of value, and an imminent "personal data revolution"

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program today released a report that offers a sweeping look at how technological innovation is restructuring productivity and lays out the social and economic impact resulting from these changes. "Power-Curve Society: The Future of Innovation, Opportunity and Social Equity in the Emerging Networked Economy," written by David Bollier, addresses the growing concern about the technological displacement of jobs, stagnant middle class income, and wealth disparities in an emerging "winner-take-all" economy. It also examines cutting-edge innovations in personal data ecosystems which could potentially unlock a revolutionary wave of individual economic empowerment. Read it at On Twitter: use #powercurve and follow @aspencs.

The report derives from the Aspen Institute's Communications and Society Program's 21st annual Roundtable on Information Technology, held in Aspen last August. It includes insights from MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, Cisco's Padmasree Warrior, MIT Economists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, CEO Michael Fertik, and Khan Academy President and CEO Shantanu Sinha, among many others.

"Power-Curve Society" considers the broad implications of a globally networked economy that allows greater ease of transactions but relies less on human workers to carry them out. In this emerging technologically accelerated economy, wealth increasingly concentrates in the hands of a few rather than spreading itself out across the larger population (i.e., the traditional "bell curve" of normal distributions). The Report explores the mechanisms of this phenomenon and its suspected role in "hollowing out" the American middle class. It also questions contemporary measurements of equality, well-being and value in the digital age; and it surveys the ways that cloud computing, Big Data and collaboration are redefining work and commerce.

Along with examining the historical relationship between innovation and productivity, "Power-Curve Society" assesses the increasing speed by which new technologies are outpacing social and institutional capabilities. It then presents groundbreaking new frameworks for rethinking entrenched notions of jobs, learning, skills, entrepreneurship and public policy to better brace everyone, rich and poor, for the unrelenting future.

"This report lays out some of the gravest issues that face us," said Charlie Firestone, Executive Director of the Communications and Society Program, "and the solutions and insights gathered by David Bollier come from some of the brightest minds leading the charge."

"Power-Curve Society: The Future of Innovation, Opportunity and Social Equity in the Emerging Networked Economy" is the result of a three-day Aspen Institute dialogue that convened venture capitalists, economists, management gurus, technologists, and innovators in business, education, philanthropy and government to address the topic. Dialogue participants who shared their insights in this report include John Seely Brown, Co-Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge; Erik Brynjolfsson, Director, MIT Center for Digital Business; Zoe Baird Budinger, President, Markle Foundation; Michael Fertik, Founder and CEO,; Shane Green, President and CEO,; Julius Genachowski, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission; Reed Hundt,  Former Chairman, Federal Communications Commission; Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab; Leila Janah, Founder and CEO, Samasource; James Manyika, Director, McKinsey Global Institute; Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist, MIT Center for Digital Business; Shantanu Sinha, President and CEO, Khan Academy; Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Cisco Systems; and others. Charlie Firestone, Executive Director, Communications and Society Program, moderated the Roundtable. A complete list of participants is in the Report. Read it at

About The Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program serves as a non-partisan venue for global leaders and experts to exchange insights on the societal impact of advances in digital technology and network communications. It also creates a multidisciplinary space in the communications policy-making world where veteran and emerging decision-makers can explore new concepts and develop new policy networks. Its annual Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology examines the implications of emerging information technologies on societies, governments, communities, and individuals, and the new leadership roles that are required. Learn more at and follow the Communications and Society Program on Twitter @aspencs

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

SOURCE The Aspen Institute

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