Impact Lab


Subscribe Now to Our Free Email Newsletter

» Currently browsing: Historical Perspectives


50 years ago today, the internet was born in Room 3420

November 9th, 2019 at 3:28 am » Comments Off

50 years ago today, the internet was born in Room 3420  Here’s the story of the creation of ARPANET, the groundbreaking precursor to the internet—as told by the people who were there. When I visited UCLA’s Boelter Hall last Wednesday, I took the stairs to the third floor, looking for Room 3420. And then I […]



Why the Fourth Industrial Revolution could spell more jobs – not fewer

October 4th, 2019 at 12:30 am » Comments Off

Automated packaging at an Italian factory. If automation drives down prices, the result could be a net increase in jobs. Ever since Homo erectus carved a piece of stone into a tool, the welfare of humanity has been on the increase. This technological breakthrough led first to the hand axe, and eventually to the iPhone. […]



A fire lookout on what’s lost in a transition to technology

September 25th, 2019 at 12:33 pm » Comments Off

  A single tree burns in southwest New Mexico after a lightning strike. For more than 100 years, the U.S. Forest Service has been posting men and women atop mountains and trees, and in other hard-to-reach places, to wait and watch for smoke. Can you see it? The fire in the photo above? A single […]



What makes Silicon Valley different?

September 20th, 2019 at 9:30 am » Comments Off

The home in Menlo Park, California, where Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google in 1998. Paul Sakuma/AP Like Detroit with automobiles or Pittsburgh with steel, Silicon Valley is synonymous with technology. In her new book The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America, Margaret O’Mara casts a historian’s eye on the contradictions of […]



The new servant class

August 25th, 2019 at 10:52 am » Comments Off

“Wealth work” is one of America’s fastest-growing industries. That’s not entirely a good thing. In an age of persistently high inequality, work in high-cost metros catering to the whims of the wealthy—grooming them, stretching them, feeding them, driving them—has become one of the fastest-growing industries. The MIT economist David Autor calls it “wealth work.” Low-skill, […]



The Coming Era of AI enhanced Super Humans