Algorithms and the Changing Frontier
58 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2014 Last revised: 6 Jun 2014
Date Written: October 1, 2013
We first summarize the dominant interpretations of the "frontier" in the United States and predecessor colonies over the past 400 years: agricultural (1610s-1880s), industrial (1890s-1930s), scientific (1940s-1980s), and algorithmic (1990s-present). We describe the difference between the algorithmic frontier and the scientific frontier. We then propose that the recent phenomenon referred to as "globalization" is actually better understood as the progression of the algorithmic frontier, as enabled by standards that in turn have facilitated the interoperability of firm-level production algorithms. We conclude by describing implications of the advance of the algorithmic frontier for scientific discovery and technological innovation.
Keywords: algorithms, discovery, globalization, innovation, interoperability, information and communications technology/ICT, International Standards Organization/ISO, production recipes, supply chains, standards
JEL Classification: D20, F60, L15, O31, O22, O33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation