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What if Above-Average is Over?
Directionally Correct Newsletter, The #1 People Analytics Substack
By: Cole Napper
What if above-average is over❓
The prominent economist, Tyler Cowan, once wrote a book titled “Average is Over”
His thesis was this:
As economic growth stagnates, society will be split into two groups – a small minority of highly educated people who are capable of working collaboratively with automated systems will become a wealthy aristocracy; the vast majority will earn little or nothing.
Very depressing. 😓
Similarly, O'Boyle & Aguinis wrote in their famous 2012 research “The Best and The Rest” that performance is not actually normally distributed; rather it is more likely to fit the power-law distribution (also known as an “80/20 Curve”). Meaning, the vast majority of productivity comes from a few extreme performers, rather than “the many” folks in the middle of a normal bell-shaped distribution.🔔
Both of these ideas were introduced before generative AI existed.
I can’t shake this feeling that perhaps Cowan’s thesis should be rephrased as “Above Average is Over”... 🤔
In some ways, generative AI can be a great equalizer in the sense that everyone who uses it can make tremendous leaps in productivity.
It also can be a great unequalizer… 🆘
How many people are not able or willing to pay $20 a month to run the latest models, or stay on the bleeding edge? Things are moving very quickly, even for the most “in the know” individuals.
In an age of content creation, creating your own personal brand, and a winner-takes-all economy, the impact of the power law distribution may become even more pronounced.
Is above-average still good enough? What do you think⁉
#peopleanalytics #powerlaw #aboveaverage
Link to Original LinkedIn Post