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Thriving Amid the Disruption of AI and Machine Learning

February 14, 2017

MIT AI & ML CONF AD website with link

Clearly, AI and machine learning are no longer on the distant horizon: they are changing the landscape of labor and business today. From Ford to H&R Block, speech recognition to call centers, machine learning is emerging as a disrupter in areas such as healthcare, energy and facilities management, and back-office processing.

With this as a backdrop, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy is hosting the AI and Machine Learning Conference on March 8, to highlight these emerging technologies and to demonstrate their business potential. The Disruption Timeline Conference will bring together leaders from industry, academia, and government at MIT to discuss the status and trajectory of AI and machine learning, and to explore what the future may hold in the coming decade.

We’ll also consider critical economic policies, strategies and ideas that can help shape your business planning. Among the scheduled speakers are: Jason Furman, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; Manuela M. Veloso, Head of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University; Gill Pratt, CEO, Toyota Research Institute, and Elliot Turner, a Director for the Watson Platform, IBM.

IDE experts have noted for some time that advances in AI technologies and automation are quickly moving into many fields that seemed immune to this shift, such as law, healthcare, and journalism. How can CIOs reap the rewards and use AI to add business value? What is practical and what is hype?

“Machines are getting a lot better at many of things,” IDE Director, Erik Brynjolfsson said. “This is a challenge we’re going to have to face,” but it doesn’t have to be a frightening or a threat to jobs. In Brynjolfsson’s view, “the future is not pre-ordained by machines, it’s created by humans,” and we will ultimately decide how it’s used. “Technology is a tool and we can use it in many different ways,” he adds. We can use technology not only to create prosperity, but shared prosperity.

The March 8 conference is designed to be highly interactive, combining short presentations, moderated panels, and extended Q&A sessions, so that attendees can learn from the experiences of their peers. A panel that uniquely addresses AI innovation and entrepreneurship (see the full agenda here), has been added, as well.

AI and machine-learning technologies “are already being deployed widely and are spreading into more non high-tech sectors,” said Christie Ko, Associate Director of the IDE and organizer of the event. “We will approach the challenges ahead from a pragmatic perspective, changing the conversation to include not just academics and AI experts, but a broader set of company executives, policy makers, and non-profit leaders. Our goal is to help a greater percentage of the population benefit economically from these technologies now and in the future.”