Two MIT Sloan School of Management Experts, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Release THE SECOND MACHINE AGE

Two MIT Sloan School of Management experts are releasing a new book and launching an MIT Sloan initiative on the digital economy. Their goals are to better understand the changes brought by recent rapid progress in artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing, and other digital domains, to shape understanding about technology's benefits, and to advance the conversation about how these advances can create shared prosperity.

"If we step up to the challenge, technology could improve the state of humanity in ways that were unimaginable as recently as just a few years ago," said MIT Sloan Prof. Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Center for Digital Business. "But that future is not just going to unfold automatically. There are scenarios where we achieve great things and others where the outcomes are not so great. It's on all of us to decide what the future will be."

In The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (W. W. Norton & Company), their deeply researched book that is being released Jan. 20, Brynjolfsson and MIT Center for Digital Business Associate Director Andrew McAfee describe the exciting developments and vast opportunities created by the exponential growth of technology. They then suggest short-term and longer term policies aimed at maximizing the benefits while minimizing some of technology's potentially negative impacts, such as downward pressure on jobs and wages. The potential "bounty" from technology is unprecedented in human history, they write, but "inequality and its consequences [could] impede technological progress, keeping us from enjoying all the potential benefits of the new machine age."

"We are optimists but we are not utopians," says McAfee. "The second machine age is profoundly good news but it comes with serious challenges. It was very important for us not to dismiss those concerns or to simply go along with the view that technology alone will take care of everything."

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