You make less money than you used to. Blame your iPhone.
For years, economists have been puzzling over why, despite unprecedented technological innovation since the dawn of the Internet, productivity is flat. Really, nobody seems to know why! Look no further than this week's news to find a consensus opinion that the just-around-the-corner cure for lagging productivity numbers is—wait for it—more technological innovation.
Productivity is a curiously-named economic measure that essentially boils down to "amount of money you generate for your employer over time." And because the promise of most technology is to enable people to do work faster, we should expect technology's useful impact to be measurable, even with an (oversimplified) equation like Labor + Technology = Productivity.
But something has clearly gone wrong. If we work backwards, we already know productivity is flat. And we are equally certain that technology has improved over the last twenty years. That leaves just one variable for which a negative value could explain the productivity gap: maybe we're literally doing less useful work every day. Reflecting on my own experience, I'd go a step further and ask, what if recent technological advances are actually decreasing our productivity?