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Erik Brynjolfsson      

Foremost Authority on Generative AI & the Future of Work; Director of the Stanford University Digital Economy Lab

Erik Brynjolfsson is the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), and Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. He also is the Ralph Landau Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Professor by Courtesy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Department of Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

One of the most-cited authors on the economics of information, Brynjolfsson was among the first researchers to measure productivity contributions of IT and the complementary role of organizational capital and other intangibles. He has done pioneering research on digital commerce, the Long Tail, bundling and pricing models, intangible assets and the effects of IT on business strategy, productivity and performance.

Brynjolfsson speaks globally and is the author of nine books including, with co-author Andrew McAfee, best-seller "The Second Machine Age: Work, "Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies," and "Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future" as well as over 100 academic articles and five patents. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Harvard University in applied mathematics and decision sciences and a PhD from MIT in managerial economics.

Speech Topics

How Digital Technologies Are Transforming the Economy

Unlike the previous generation of IT that required humans to create code, machine learning is designed to learn patterns specifically from examples. This has opened up a broad new frontier of applications and economic possibilities that are, as yet, largely undeveloped. In this discussion, Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, explains how AI is one of the most important technological advances of our era, and how recent progress around AI and machine learning has dramatically increased predictive powers in many areas, including speech recognition, image recognition and credit scoring. For business and government leaders looking to stay ahead of the technological curve, Brynjolfsson recommends strategies for boosting productivity and growth in the midst of a gig economy dominated by remote workers.

Management in the Second Machine Age

If you were managing a business just over a century ago, you would have had to face 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 AI and we are entering the second phase of the second machine age. In this talk, Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab and the world’s foremost expert on how rapid advances in technology will impact businesses and the economy, explains how machine learning has evolved to a point where 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 developments of the past. This discussion builds on Brynjolfsson’s best-selling book, “The Second Machine Age,” but goes well beyond it, drawing on recent advances in machine learning. He focuses on how decision makers must address and react to this new wave of technology.

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future

We are in the early stages of not one, but three, fundamental revolutions driven by profound advances in technology. Machines are transforming the role of human decision making; digital platforms are allowing a wider range of products and services to be sold and brokered to global audiences; and crowdsourcing is having an almost magical effect on the exchange of ideas, opening the door to new levels of inclusion, diversity of thinking and innovation. Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab Erik Brynjolfsson explains what has changed since the dawn of the digital age and how organizations can evolve with the times by strategically balancing human work with machine work and moving from products to platforms. In this presentation, based on his best-selling book “Machine, Platform, Crowd,” Brynjolfsson combines his earlier thesis on the advent of the second machine age with further research on the effects of digital platforms to paint a full picture of the “new economy” and how to harness its power rather than be defeated by change. He explains how technologies poised to evolve our abilities are already here and outlines what we can soon expect as the pace of digital change accelerates.

Reevaluate Your Company’s True Contributions to the GDP

Emerging technology touches every aspect of the world economy. But, according to director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, Erik Brynjolfsson, a pioneer in new ways of measuring the value of goods, services and worker skills to provide metrics for the economic contributions of countries, companies, and individuals, a lot of value is going unmeasured. In this eye-opening presentation, he makes the case for replacing the traditional measurement of gross domestic product (GDP). Traditionally, GDP is based on goods and services that are bought and sold within the economy. But, Brynjolfsson explains, those measures don’t take into account many aspects of the digital economy that have no price such as attending a Zoom meeting and using free apps on a smartphone. He outlines the novel concept of GDP-B, or gross domestic product, plus a measurement of the benefits of something that doesn’t have a direct cost. Audiences will learn about the tool developed by Brynjolfsson’s Stanford team to measure which parts of their company’s product line create value and which don’t, separate from what customers are paying for, enabling leaders to understand the full value of their contributions to the economy.

The Future of Work with AI Demands Reorganization, Not Replacement

More than half of the workforce will be impacted by emerging technology, especially artificial intelligence (AI). But, according to Erik Brynjolfsson, senior fellow at the Stanford University Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, the future of work should be one of reorganization, not replacement. In this revealing presentation, Brynjolfsson explains that while new AI systems – especially generative AI programs like ChatGPT and DALL-E that create novel text and images – will have wide ranging impacts on every industry, mass layoffs shouldn’t be the result. He’ll show that reorganizing tasks over replacing human workers will need to be a priority since companies will still gain value from people with creative, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, which can lead to much more productivity. Leaders will gain a roadmap to optimal restructuring, allowing them to see emerging technology and digital transformation as an opportunity, not an obstacle.


Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT — Tech News and Analysis
Erik Brynjolfsson, director for Digital Business at MIT Sloan School of Management .

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