Outside the Box: These bold new technologies seem more life-changing than they really are

Last of a four-part series on the faith many investors are placing in technology stocks — and how they could be disappointed.

The burgeoning fourth industrial revolution, featuring big data, robotics, 3D printing, and new ways to combat disease, isn’t likely to have the powerful impact as the three that came before it.

The impact of any period of sustained period of innovation on economic activity depends on the degree of the change, the effect on growth and productivity, its longevity, dispersion, and evolution. For example, this current, third industrial revolution (beginning in 1960) has focused on computing and telecommunications. The first industrial revolution, between 1750 and 1830, focused on coal, steam engines, railroads and textiles.

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