I’ll have more complete thoughts later, but at least initially:
–Cowen’s premise is The Great Stagnation wont subsequently be followed by a future technical revolution (like the Cognitive Society [pdf] that I have recently pushed in my work with the National Science Foundation). I don’t necessarily buy that. The fact that so many billionaires are putting their money (and big money) on space exploration may be a hint to a future less austere than the one Tyler puts forward in the book.
–I learned a huge amount about chess and computer programs that play chess. The notion of human-computer teaming (freestyle chess competitions) is definitely part of the Cognitive Society idea and I think Cowen is spot on.
–I think Tyler is wrong about science–at least the life sciences which I know something about: we are becoming ever less stove-piped. The big discoveries are being made across disciplines. Further, with regards to a payoff for lowering health-care costs, a cure for Alzheimer’s disease alone, would put a significant dent into that piece of the budget pie. Because of my own involvement with what’s going on in molecular neuroscience, I see that day coming–I don’t assume the status quo for years to come.
That said, Average is Over is Tyler’s best book that I’ve read to date. It’s an excellent read.