Erik Brynjolfsson

Bestselling Author and Director at MIT

“Technology is not destiny. We shape our destiny!”

Erik Brynjolfsson is Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Professor at MIT Sloan School, and Research Associate at NBER. His research examines the effects of information technologies on business strategy, productivity and performance, digital commerce, and intangible assets. At MIT, he teaches courses on the Economics of Information and the Analytics Lab.

Brynjolfsson was among the first researchers to measure the productivity contributions of IT and the complementary role of organizational capital and other intangibles. His research provided the first quantification of the value of online product variety, often known as the “Long Tail,” and developed pricing and bundling models for information goods.

Author or co-editor of several books including NYTimes best-seller The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, Brynjolfsson holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Harvard University and a PhD from MIT. His papers can be found at http://digital.mit.edu/erik

Session Info

Tuesday, May 23 5:15 pm – 6:00 pm

The Second Wave of the Second Machine Age

The first wave of the second machine age automates and augments mental tasks that humans can understand well enough to turn into code. In the second wave, machines are learning how to do tasks on their own, without explicit instructions. This is creating a multi-trillion dollar opportunity. But the benefits are very uneven, with many companies worse off than they were before. In particular, a growing number of winner-take-all markets are dominated by superstar companies while incumbents are challenged to change or die. What’s more, technological advances have created a paradox of growing total wealth, but stagnant median income, undermining our society’s social contract. The implications of the next wave will depend not only the nature of the technology, but also on our management decisions, our policy choices and ultimately, our values.

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