Erik Brynjolfsson

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Foremost Authority on Technology’s Effect on Business Strategy, Productivity and Performance; Best-selling Author, “The Second Machine Age” and “Machine, Platform, Crowd”; Director, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy

Biography

As technology transforms, and takes on more jobs, what will it take for humans to survive – and grow? Race with the machines, urges Erik Brynjolfsson, renowned professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Digital technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, are at the center of a revolution that will be more extraordinary, more disruptive and more world-changing than any other period in history. Embrace the opportunity.

A global expert on the effects of information technology (IT) and AI on business strategy, productivity and performance, Professor Brynjolfsson sees a bright future where machines serve as powerful tools and partners. But he says we can only shape this future if we keep up with the pace of innovation. Through his work as director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Brynjolfsson is helping companies and economies decipher, prepare for and capitalize on the technological changes that will impact everything from employment and healthcare to education and socio-economic mobility.

These are themes Professor Brynjolfsson passionately and expertly explores in his research, teaching and lectures, helping his audiences envision how people and businesses will work, interact and prosper in this era of profound transformation. His writing digs in even deeper: Brynjolfsson is co-author of New York Times best-seller “The Second Machine Age” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2014) and “Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2017), and he co-chaired the recent report by the United States National Academies of Science on “Information Technologies and the Workforce.”

Professor Brynjolfsson’s recent work studies data-driven decision making, management practices that drive productivity, the pricing implications of internet commerce, and the role of intangible assets. He was among the first researchers to measure the productivity contributions of IT and the complementary role of organizational capital and other intangibles.

Brynjolfsson, the Schussel Family Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, has served on the faculties of Stanford and Harvard Universities, as well as the boards of Fortune 500 companies and start-ups. Brynjolfsson 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. One of the most cited researchers on IT and economics, his work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the John DC Little Award for best paper in marketing, the Herbert Simon Award for Information economics, and five patents.

Erik Brynjolfsson is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Videos

Media

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

Machine Learning Will Redesign, Not Replace, Work

June 26, 218

Wall Street Journal logo

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

January 3, 2018

What Can Machine Learning Do? Workforce Implications

December 22, 2017

AI's Implications for Productivity, Wages, and Employment

November 20, 2017

William Watson: Get Ready. Massive Gains from Artificial Intelligence Are About to Explode

November 21, 2017

The Robot Revolution Is Coming. Just Be Patient.

November 16, 2017

Wired logo

Worried About Robots Taking Your Job? Learn Spreadsheets

November 15, 2017

Huffington Post logo

MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge: $1 Million For Global Change-makers Revolutionizing The Future Of Work

October 19, 2017

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

October 7, 2017

What Parts Of The Workforce Might Be Safe From Robots? (Audio)

September 4, 2017

Five Questions for Erik Brynjolfsson

August 31, 2017

'Weird Things Keep Happening:' What You Need to Know About the Crowd and the Core (Audio)

July 27, 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

Harvard Business Review logo

The Business of Artificial Intelligence

July 2017

Harvard Business Review logo

Good Management Predicts a Firm’s Success Better Than IT, R&D, or Even Employee Skills

April 19, 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

Will Humans Go the Way of Horses?

August 2015

The Great Decoupling: An Interview with Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew

June 2015

Charting technology’s new directions: A conversation with MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson

May 2013

Jobs, Productivity and the Great Decoupling

December 11, 2012

Intro Video

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Machine, Platform, Crowd with Erik Brynjolfsson

A-Z Name

Brynjolfsson, Erik

Biography

As technology transforms, and takes on more jobs, what will it take for humans to survive – and grow? Race with the machines, urges Erik Brynjolfsson, renowned professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Digital technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, are at the center of a revolution that will be more extraordinary, more disruptive and more world-changing than any other period in history. Embrace the opportunity.

A global expert on the effects of information technology (IT) and AI on business strategy, productivity and performance, Professor Brynjolfsson sees a bright future where machines serve as powerful tools and partners. But he says we can only shape this future if we keep up with the pace of innovation. Through his work as director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Brynjolfsson is helping companies and economies decipher, prepare for and capitalize on the technological changes that will impact everything from employment and healthcare to education and socio-economic mobility.

These are themes Professor Brynjolfsson passionately and expertly explores in his research, teaching and lectures, helping his audiences envision how people and businesses will work, interact and prosper in this era of profound transformation. His writing digs in even deeper: Brynjolfsson is co-author of New York Times best-seller “The Second Machine Age” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2014) and “Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2017), and he co-chaired the recent report by the United States National Academies of Science on “Information Technologies and the Workforce.”

Professor Brynjolfsson’s recent work studies data-driven decision making, management practices that drive productivity, the pricing implications of internet commerce, and the role of intangible assets. He was among the first researchers to measure the productivity contributions of IT and the complementary role of organizational capital and other intangibles.

Brynjolfsson, the Schussel Family Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, has served on the faculties of Stanford and Harvard Universities, as well as the boards of Fortune 500 companies and start-ups. Brynjolfsson 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. One of the most cited researchers on IT and economics, his work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the John DC Little Award for best paper in marketing, the Herbert Simon Award for Information economics, and five patents.

Erik Brynjolfsson is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future

We are in the early stages of not one, but three fundamental revolutions, each driven by profound advances in technology. Machines are now transforming the role of human decision-making, digital platforms allow products and services of others to be sold and brokered, and there’s a proliferation of an almost-magical effectiveness for obtaining ideas from the general public – the crowd – rather than from the experts at the core of the business. Erik Brynjolfsson explains what has changed since the dawn of the digital age and how organizations can evolve with the times by rebalancing from mind toward machine, from product toward platform and from the core toward the crowd.

In this presentation, Brynjolfsson combines his earlier thesis on the advent of the second machine age with further research on the effects of digital platforms and a limitless abundance of data to paint a full picture of the “new economy,” and how to harness its power rather than be sunk by change.  He explains how the technologies that will evolve our abilities is already here and will radically accelerate in the next few years. But, just as businesses were slow to adapt to new technologies like electricity, many leaders today are trapped by outdated assumptions, processes and strategies.

Management in the Second Machine Age

If you were managing a business just over a century ago, you would have had to address 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 artificial intelligence (AI) and we, as a people, are entering the second phase of the second machine age.

According to Erik Brynjolfsson, the world’s foremost expert on how rapid advances in technology will impact businesses and the economy, machine learning (ML) has evolved to the point at which 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 all the developments of the past.

This talk builds on his best-selling book, “The Second Machine Age,” but also goes well beyond it, drawing on recent advances in machine learning. Brynjolfsson focuses on how entrepreneurs and business managers must address and react to this new wave of technology.

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

At many stages in human history, rapid and far-reaching technological change has prompted social upheaval and the need for an overhaul of political and social systems. We are now in the midst of one such stage, according to Erik Brynjolfsson. Machine learning has taken artificial intelligence (AI) to a new level, one in which machines can learn complicated tasks on their own rather than relying on human programmers. The impact on society has only just begun, with humans being displaced in industries across the board – even technology jobs are under threat due to devices’ ability to program themselves. The second wave of the second machine age, as Brynjolfsson calls it, poses a dilemma for policymakers: if the old model based on a general availability of work at all skill levels is quickly becoming antiquated, what will replace it?

There are, in fact, immense opportunities for human betterment inherent in this technological revolution. Policymakers must harness these positives while minimizing the negatives:

  • Governments and trade organizations must develop a different approach to managing unemployment that involves constant training and re-training
  • Healthcare reform must take advantage of advances in AI that cut costs and widen provisions
  • Education must be fundamentally transformed so that students are taught the human attributes that robots and computers can not easily replicate, namely creativity and interpersonal skills

Brynjolfsson outlines how people with influence must anticipate the oncoming challenges of AI. Given the fundamental changes already taking place, managing this revolution will be the most important political and social endeavors of the next century.

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