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IDE Leaders Speak Out at Davos 2020

January 23, 2020

E&A wef

MIT IDE co-founders, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, participated in several panel discussions and interviews at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as did  IDE co-lead Sandy Pentland.

In a year when the main headlines dominating the week were the perils of climate change, declining democracy, and capitalism in crisis, MIT leaders jumped into the fray. Brynjolfsson and McAfee (in photo above) spoke with Yahoo! Finance about what it will take for the U.S. to hold onto its leadership in AI against rivals such as China. Both pointed out how inextricably linked AI and other technologies are with immigration policies and government investment. In particular, they decried the immigration limits on scholars allowed to come to the U.S., and they emphasized need to amp up basic research funding here in the States.

“The key is to not lose the position that we have,” said McAfee. “When the world’s most intelligent, ambitious, and tenacious people in this field want to come to America to build their lives and careers and we put this Kafka-esque barriers in their place… if our president is on board, let’s get these people here.” Read more and watch the video here.

Among the highlights:

  • McAfee also took part in a lively discussion on Debunking the Limits to Growth, a premise of his recently released new book, More From Less. Discussion leader, Professor Mariana Mazzucato, of theUniverity College London,  contrasted McAfee’s pro-capitalism, pro-technology stance with that of  Robert Habeck, Chair of the German Green Party. Watch the full video here.
Andrew McAfee (above and below) at the WEF panel discussion.

  • Earlier in the week, McAfee participated in a panel sponsored by Accenture on Technology, Business, and Society in the 4th Industrial Revolution. McAfee was joined by Alan Murray, President and CEO of Fortune, and Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer of Marriott International. The session was moderated by Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Accenture. Watch the video here. 
  • He spread his message about using innovation to address environmental woes and spur growth at a session sponsored by Deutsche Bank. Watch the conversation here.
  • Additionally, as part of the MIT Connection Science Summit, Sandy Pentland hosted Imagination in Action  on January 21  exploring how to extend human intelligence to support a sustainable future. Tata Consultancy Services, MIT Connection Science, Forbes, and Global Citizen gathered a selection of the foremost thinkers and innovators at Davos to exchange perspectives and offer solutions on how to unleash our collective intelligence through the growing power of technology. Read more about the Summit here.
  • The event also partnered with Global Citizen, an international advocacy organisation with a mission to fight for equality, tackle climate change and end extreme poverty by 2030.  Learn more about Global Citizen, Teneo and Global Goal Live HERE.


Watch for more updates.