Erik Brynjolfsson

Inquire About This Speaker

Foremost Authority on Technology’s Effect on Business Strategy, Productivity, Performance, Digital Commerce and Intangible Assets; New York Times Bestselling Co-Author, “The Second Machine Age” and “Machine, Platform, Crowd;” Professor and Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI); Director, Stanford Digital Economy Lab; Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR)

Biography

As technology continues to transform jobs, and replace some of them, what will it take for people to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic era? New York Times bestselling author Erik Brynjolfsson, the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and Senior Fellow at Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), urges companies not to fight technology, but to race with the machines.

Brynjolfsson’s research examines the effects of information technologies on business strategy, productivity, performance, digital commerce, and intangible assets. He says digital technologies, particularly AI and machine learning, are igniting a business revolution that will be more disruptive and world-changing than any other period in history. He urges leaders to view this as an opportunity, not an obstacle. Since companies will still need people with creative, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, he offers decision makers a roadmap to restructuring the right way. As a consultant, educator and author, he helps organizations sort out which tasks are better assigned to machines and which to humans, so they can strategically plan forward before laying off the wrong people.

“COVID has accelerated a shift to remote work – about 50% of Americans are now working remotely – but also a shift to automation and machine learning. It has compressed a decade’s worth of business transformation into ten weeks,” says Brynjolfsson, one of the most cited researchers on IT and economics. “Companies are laying off trillions of dollars’ worth of human capital, and they’re not doing it with a vision of where they’re going to be on the other side. The pandemic is an acid test for good management.”

Through his work as Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, Brynjolfsson helps companies and economies decipher, prepare for and capitalize on the technological changes that will impact everything from employment and health care to education and socio-economic mobility. His two New York Times bestselling books, co-authored with Andrew McAfee, capture his innovative approach to leveraging technology for long-term business benefits: “Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future” (2018) and “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies” (2016).

“My research has enabled me to understand how these awe-inspiring technologies are transforming the economy and how they’re going to change work, employment and innovation,” Brynjolfsson said. “As organizations are doing a tremendous amount of restructuring because of COVID, I advise them on how to do it the smart way so they will come out stronger on the other side of the pandemic.”

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Erik Brynjolfsson is the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), and Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. He also is the Ralph Landau Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Professor by Courtesy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Department of Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Prior to joining Stanford, Brynjolfsson was Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University in applied mathematics and decision sciences and earned his doctorate in managerial economics from MIT. He holds five patents.

Erik Brynjolfsson is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Videos

Media

How to Prepare for the AI Productivity Boom

July 12, 2021

The Coming Productivity Boom

June 10, 2021

Wall Street Journal logo

Businesses Take a Hurry-Up-and-Wait Approach to AI

March 31, 2021

AI and Automation are Creating a Hybrid Workforce

October 31, 2020

Working with Robots in a Post-Pandemic World

September 16, 2020

CNBC logo

Why Amazon Warehouses and Tesla Auto Plants Will Not Go 100% Robot Any Time Soon (Video)

September 16, 2020

Is Remote Work Here to Stay?

June 30, 2020

How Work Will Change Following the Pandemic

June 24, 2020

Companies Are Firing the Wrong People

April 14, 2020

American Enterprise Institute logo

How Will Technological Change Affect the Economy?

February 27, 2020

MIT Professors Sound Alarm on US Falling Behind on AI

January 22, 2020

How Should We Measure the Digital Economy?

November-December 2019

Will AI Stimulate The Cooling Economy? Not Any Time Soon

October 30, 2019

Wired logo

The Robots Want To Steal (The Boring Parts Of) Your Job

April 22, 2019

Baystate Business: Schmidt and Moynihan (Audio)

November 12, 2018

Wall Street Journal

Awaiting the AI-Enabled Revolution, Experts Put in a Good Word for Humans

November 12, 2018

CNBC logo

Cybersecurity Isn't Being Taken Seriously Enough: MIT Professor

October 9, 2018

Washington Post logo

Artificial Intelligence Can Transform the Economy

September 18, 2018

How Machine Learning Can Break Down Language and Trade Barriers

September 12, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Will Replace Tasks, Not Jobs

August 14, 2018

Financial Times logo

Machine Learning Will Be the Engine of Global Growth ($)

July 26, 2018

Wall Street Journal logo

To Scale AI, Rethink Business Processes: MIT’s Brynjolfsson

January 3, 2018

The Robot Revolution Is Coming. Just Be Patient.

November 16, 2017

Wired logo

Worried About Robots Taking Your Job? Learn Spreadsheets

November 15, 2017

How AI is Redefining the Relationship Between the Human Mind and the Machine

October 7, 2017

Minds and Machines

July 26, 2017

How AI Is Already Changing Business (Audio)

July 20, 2017

What's Driving The Machine Learning Explosion?

July 18, 2017

The Economist logo

What Will Business Technology Look Like Tomorrow?

July 13, 2017

The Business of Artificial Intelligence

July 2017

The Rise of Data-Driven Decision Making Is Real but Uneven

February 3, 2017

Where Computers Defeat Humans, and Where They Can’t

March 16, 2016

Why The Middle Class Is Shrinking

November 5, 2015

The Digitization of Just About Everything

September 1, 2015

The Great Decoupling: An Interview with Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

June 2015

A-Z Name

Brynjolfsson, Erik

Biography

As technology continues to transform jobs, and replace some of them, what will it take for people to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic era? New York Times bestselling author Erik Brynjolfsson, the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and Senior Fellow at Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), urges companies not to fight technology, but to race with the machines.

Brynjolfsson’s research examines the effects of information technologies on business strategy, productivity, performance, digital commerce, and intangible assets. He says digital technologies, particularly AI and machine learning, are igniting a business revolution that will be more disruptive and world-changing than any other period in history. He urges leaders to view this as an opportunity, not an obstacle. Since companies will still need people with creative, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, he offers decision makers a roadmap to restructuring the right way. As a consultant, educator and author, he helps organizations sort out which tasks are better assigned to machines and which to humans, so they can strategically plan forward before laying off the wrong people.

“COVID has accelerated a shift to remote work – about 50% of Americans are now working remotely – but also a shift to automation and machine learning. It has compressed a decade’s worth of business transformation into ten weeks,” says Brynjolfsson, one of the most cited researchers on IT and economics. “Companies are laying off trillions of dollars’ worth of human capital, and they’re not doing it with a vision of where they’re going to be on the other side. The pandemic is an acid test for good management.”

Through his work as Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, Brynjolfsson helps companies and economies decipher, prepare for and capitalize on the technological changes that will impact everything from employment and health care to education and socio-economic mobility. His two New York Times bestselling books, co-authored with Andrew McAfee, capture his innovative approach to leveraging technology for long-term business benefits: “Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future” (2018) and “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies” (2016).

“My research has enabled me to understand how these awe-inspiring technologies are transforming the economy and how they’re going to change work, employment and innovation,” Brynjolfsson said. “As organizations are doing a tremendous amount of restructuring because of COVID, I advise them on how to do it the smart way so they will come out stronger on the other side of the pandemic.”

###

Erik Brynjolfsson is the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), and Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. He also is the Ralph Landau Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Professor by Courtesy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Department of Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Prior to joining Stanford, Brynjolfsson was Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University in applied mathematics and decision sciences and earned his doctorate in managerial economics from MIT. He holds five patents.

Erik Brynjolfsson is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

Organizational Restructuring for a Post-COVID Economy

As executives face difficult decisions around restructuring their workforces in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will they choose more machines over humans? And what will be the long-term effect on employment, business and overall prosperity? Stanford University Professor Erik Brynjolfsson advises leaders on how to restructure the right way by answering an important question: Which tasks are better assigned to machines and which to humans? Companies will still need people with creative, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, in areas where humans perform better than machines. The pandemic is an acid test for good management, says Brynjolfsson. We need to quickly figure out whether it’s humanly possible to do essential tasks without having people commute to the office. In this talk, he offers organizations a road map for making decisions around technology and determining which human skills will be needed to complement new ways of working. Done right, today’s challenges can be an opportunity for business reinvention and rebirth.

How Technology Is Reshaping the Economy, Society and the Future of Work

Machine learning has taken AI to a new level, one in which machines can learn to perform complicated tasks on their own rather than rely on human programmers. The impact on society has only just begun, with humans being displaced in many industries – more rapidly now that the pandemic has unexpectedly compressed 10 years of transformation into 10 weeks. Stanford University Professor Erik Brynjolfsson teaches business leaders how to adapt to this revolution so they can prepare for the oncoming changes AI will bring. In this talk, he explains the importance of discarding outdated mindsets about remote work – these days, 50% of employees work off-site compared to 15% at the start of 2020. Brynjolfsson believes many changes in the structure of work will remain in place when the pandemic ends and managing those changes will be among the most important business, political and social endeavors of the next century.

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future

Amid the global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in the early stages of not one, but three, fundamental revolutions, each driven by profound advances in technology. Machines are transforming the role of human decision making; digital platforms are allowing a wider range of products and services to be sold and brokered to global audiences; and crowdsourcing is having an almost magical effect on the exchange of ideas, opening the door to new levels of inclusion, diversity of thinking and innovation. Stanford University Professor Erik Brynjolfsson explains what has changed since the dawn of the digital age and how organizations can evolve with the times by strategically balancing human work with machine work and moving from products to platforms. In this presentation, based on his best-selling book “Machine, Platform, Crowd,” Brynjolfsson combines his earlier thesis on the advent of the second machine age with further research on the effects of digital platforms to paint a full picture of the “new economy” and how to harness its power rather than be defeated by change. He explains how technologies poised to evolve our abilities are already here and outlines what we can expect in the near future as the pace of digital change accelerates.

Management in the Second Machine Age

If you were managing a business just over a century ago, you would have had to face the fact that a wave of technological change was about to transform the way you did everything. The internal combustion engine would rearrange every aspect of society and long-term plans that ignored this development would become worthless. Today’s business managers find themselves in the same predicament, except the new technology is AI and we are entering the second phase of the second machine age. In this talk, Stanford University Professor Erik Brynjolfsson, the world’s foremost expert on how rapid advances in technology will impact businesses and the economy, explains how machine learning has evolved to a point where intelligent agents, autonomous robots and other devices can learn to do things on their own, with little or no need for human programming. This will have radical consequences as advancements in AI over the next decade will far exceed the developments of the past. This discussion builds on Brynjolfsson’s best-selling book, “The Second Machine Age,” but goes well beyond it, drawing on recent advances in machine learning. He focuses on how decision makers must address and react to this new wave of technology.

How Digital Technologies Are Transforming the Economy

Unlike the previous generation of IT that required humans to create code, machine learning is designed to learn patterns specifically from examples. This has opened up a broad new frontier of applications and economic possibilities that are, as yet, largely undeveloped. In this discussion, Stanford University Professor Erik Brynjolfsson explains how AI is one of the most important technological advances of our era, and how recent progress around AI and machine learning has dramatically increased predictive powers in many areas, including speech recognition, image recognition and credit scoring. For business and government leaders looking to stay ahead of the technological curve, Brynjolfsson recommends strategies for boosting productivity and growth in the midst of a gig economy dominated by remote workers.

Media

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Books & Research

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Recommendations

Praise for “Machine, Platform, Crowd”

“A book for managers whose companies sit well back from the edge and who would like a digestible introduction to technology trends that may not have reached their doorstep―yet.”

— Wall Street Journal

“The story is warmly and richly told.… This book is in many senses a primer, a thorough grounding for the digital warrior in the driving forces of the 21st-century economy.”

— Times Higher Education

“Even Silicon Valley is surprised by the speed and scope of change today. The best way to stay on top of it is to understand the principles that will endure even as so much gets disrupted. This book is the best explanation of those principles out there.”

— Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and former executive chairman of Alphabet Inc.

“The digital revolution we’re entering can be unsettling, but McAfee and Brynjolfsson show how these incredibly powerful technologies will make our choices more important than ever. Machine | Platform | Crowd is a road map for leaders to make wise choices as they navigate this new world.”

— Arianna Huffington, former president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, author of Thrive and The Sleep Revolution

“On their own, AI, platforms, and crowds are all transformative forces. That they’re evolving in parallel means we’re beginning to experience a new era of networked disruption, where productive but disorienting change becomes the status quo. For citizens, entrepreneurs, companies, and governments who want to successfully navigate this new world, the first step lies in finding reliable and prescient guides. Andrew and Erik are two of the best.”

— Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock Partners and co-founder of LinkedIn

“The authors aptly illustrate how the extraordinary progress of technology is reshaping our lives, and they share powerful ideas relevant to world leaders.… The book is a must-read for policymakers who seek a road map for how to combine the strengths of humanity and technology to build a better future for their citizens.”

— Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund

“The authors explain the whys and hows soberly, answering just about every question on AI you could ask: which channels it will colonise next, whether we’ll still need physical products in a virtual world and how Bitcoin will change commerce, among others. Throughout, they are eloquent and informed. They don’t think humans will be obsolete, but they also don’t pretend the solutions are simple.”

— People Management

“Written… with real human intelligence, concern, feeling, and values. [Machine | Platform | Crowd] is a big, intense, always interesting, and almost intimidating book―and well worth the effort.”

— Dylan Schleicher, Porchlight Book Company (formerly 800-CEO-READ)

“[McAfee and Brynjolfsson] have done us all a great service in explaining some of the powerful trends that will shape our future.”

— Mark Cliffe, chief economist of the ING Group

“McAfee and Brynjolfsson are thoughtful observers of the emerging technological revolution which they described in their earlier The Second Machine Age.… They write clearly and are at their most devastating in analyzing how the various elements of the new age combine, wiping out large sectors of media, retail and music industries as they have gone.”

— Roger Smith, New Law Journal

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