In the age of expanding automation, companies must redefine work – Irving Wladawsky-Berger

MIT Sloan Visiting Lecturer Irving Wladawsky-Berger

MIT Sloan Visiting Lecturer Irving Wladawsky-Berger

From The Wall Street Journal 

Over the past few years, a number of papersreports and books have addressed the future of work, and, more specifically, the impact of artificial intelligence, robotics and other advanced technologies on processes that once fell within the human domain. For the most part, they view AI as mostly augmenting rather than replacing human capabilities, automating the more routine parts of a job and increasing the productivity and quality of workers. Overall, few jobs will be entirely automated, but automation will likely transform the vast majority of occupations.

Case closed, right? Not quite. Given these predictions about the changing nature of work, what should companies do? How should firms prepare for a brave new world where we can expect major economic dislocations along with the creation of new jobs, new business models and whole new industries, and where many people will be working alongside smart machines in whole new ways?

“Underneath the understandable anxiety about the future of work lies a significant missed opportunity,” wrote John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Maggie Wooll in a new report from the Deloitte Center for the Edge, Redefine Work: The untapped opportunity for expanding value. “That opportunity is to return to the most basic question of all: What is work? If we come up with a creative answer to that, we have the potential to create significant new value for the enterprise. And paradoxically, these gains will likely come less from all the new technology than from the human workforce you already have today.”

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Tech innovators open the digital economy to job seekers, financially underserved – Irving Wladawsky-Berger

MIT Sloan Visiting Lecturer Irving Wladawsky-Berger

MIT Sloan Visiting Lecturer Irving Wladawsky-Berger

From The Wall Street Journal

The future of work is a prime interest of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, started in 2013 by researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andy McAfee. To help come up with answers to questions about the impact of automation on jobs and the effects of digital innovation, the group launched the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge last year, inviting organizations around the world to compete in the realm of improving the economic opportunities of middle- and base-level workers.

 More than $1 million in prizes went to winners of the 2017 competition in Boston last month in four categories: Job creation and income growth, skills development and matching, technology access, and financial inclusion. Awards were funded with support from Google.org, The Joyce Foundation, software firm ISN, and ISN President and CEO Joseph Eastin.

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The outsourced mind – Renée Richardson Gosline

MIT Sloan Prof. Renée Richardson Gosline

From TEDx Talks

We can’t remember any numbers without our cell phones and have difficulty driving without Waze. We increasingly rely on technology to perform basic cognitive tasks, and this choice is becoming more automatic and less conscious. We assume technology improves our choices. But does it?

A series of experiments will be used to examine the topic, leaving the viewer with the question: when do I assume greater rationality from technology, and how does that affect my expectations about my own behavior?

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx.

Renée Richardson Gosline is a Senior Lecturer and Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

The jobs that AI can’t replace — Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

MIT Sloan’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

From BBC

Current advances in robots and other digital technologies are stirring up anxiety among workers and in the media. There is a great deal of fear, for example, that robots will not only destroy existing jobs, but also be better at most or all of the tasks required in the future.

Our research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has shown that that’s at best a half-truth. While it is true that robots are getting very good at a whole bunch of jobs and tasks, there are still many categories in which humans perform better.

And, perhaps more importantly, robots and other forms of automation can aid in the creation of new and better jobs for humans. As a result, while we do expect that some jobs will disappear, other jobs will be created and some existing jobs will become more valuable.

For example, machines are currently dominating the jobs in routine information processing. “Computer,” after all, used to be an actual job title of a person who sat and added long rows of numbers. Now it is, well, an actual computer.

On the other hand, jobs such as data scientist didn’t used to exist, but because computers have made enormous data sets analyzable, we now have new jobs for people to interpret these huge pools of information. In the tumult of our economy, even as old tasks get automated away, along with demand for their corresponding skills, the economy continues to create new jobs and industries.

Read the full post at the BBC.

The authors also appeared on the BBC’s “Panorama” for a segment titled “Could A Robot Do My Job.”  See the program here.

Erik Brynjolfsson is the Schussel Family Professor of Management Science, a Professor of Information Technology, and the Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy at the MIT Sloan School of Management. 

Andrew McAfee is the Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business.

MIT Sloan CrowdChat: “Second Machine Age” chat with Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee, Co-Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy

Andrew McAfee, MIT Sloan ’88, ’89, LGO ’90 and Co-Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy, fielded questions in a one-hour AMA-style (ask me anything) Q&A on the “Second Machine Age.” The online conversation was co-hosted by the upcoming Digital Economy Conference in London, where he and Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT Sloan will facilitate a series of discussions that highlight MIT’s role in both understanding and shaping our increasingly digital economy. The conference will be Live Streamed beginning at 6:30 am to 1 pm EDT, Friday, April 10. To watch be sure to bookmark this page.   Read More »