On April 10, 2015, the MIT Digital Economy Conference: The Second Machine Age, led by Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy, and Andrew McAfee, co-director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy, featured a series of discussions that highlight MIT’s role in both understanding and shaping our increasingly digital world.
Erik Brynjolfsson is the Schussel Family Professor of Management Science, a Professor of Information Technology, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Andrew McAfee is the Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business.
When blockbuster drugs hit the market, they make big news and big profits. But for every blockbuster drug launched, there are an awful lot of disappointments.
A good example is Vertex’s launch of the Hepatitis C drug Incivek. It was extremely successful in its first year on the market and heralded in a new era of Hepatitis C therapies. However, that meant competition. It wasn’t too long before newer and better treatments like Gilead’s Sovaldi and AbbVie’s Viekira Pak essentially replaced it in the market. Last spring, Vertex announced that not only is it no longer investing in research or developing new Hepatitis C drugs, it was withdrawing Incivek from the market.
Even when we see tremendous therapeutic progress with a drug potentially worth billions, there is the risk that it will be overtaken by the next generation of drugs. There is no sure thing.
When we set out to find a visionary and thinker in the financial sector to add to our collection of interviews, Kristin Forbes’ name was suggested to us by other economists, as well as from other women her age in finance, the arts and by those equally formally educated, who have opted to stay at home and raise kids. It was one of the first times that such a varied range of people suggested someone to us.
We began to research her. We were intrigued that the Bank of England had selected this American economist to join their Monetary Policy Committee as one of two external members. And we were curious about hearing from someone who was in the White House during President Bush’s years, a controversial President, and who watched the collapse of the financial markets that has brought forth finger pointing and reform. But what interested us most was that this MIT Professor was one of the earliest thinkers to focus on financial contagions. I sat down with Kristin to discuss contagions, the current thinking on energy, inflation and economic growth.
The prevailing notion about obesity is that if we just work out harder and eat a little bit better, then perhaps the obesity trend will subside in a few years. However, the key to really making a difference is food – the number of calories we eat is the most important factor in obesity. But changing the way people eat will take a very long time.
Things like individual routines, menus, food access and affordability, and cultural practices all influence how we live and eat. All of these things can influence the energy imbalance gap (EIG). The EIG is essentially how many calories you consume versus how many calories you burn in a day. It controls the speed of change in body mass and is at the core of understanding obesity.
When considering where to go on an MBA Technology Trek, Seattle was a no-brainer.
It wasn’t just that the city is home to some of the world’s leading technology companies, but Seattle has successfully created a technology innovation ecosystem — one that spawned many of the past few year’s largest tech IPOs. It is the philosophy of not resting on one’s laurels that has created longevity in Seattle’s companies, and provided important lessons for MBA students. My goal on a recent MIT Sloan Technology Trek was to understand the strategies, cultures, and goals that have propelled Seattle companies’ long-term success.