Summary of Confessions of an AI Optimist

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Predictions about the future of work can be alarming. Yet not everybody buys into the doomsday scenarios that innovator Elon Musk and others have popularized. MIT scientist and author Andrew McAfee, who studies the impact of new technologies, shares a rosier view in his latest book Machine, Platform, Crowd – co-written with technologist Erik Brynjolfsson. The book informs this pithy, expert interview with Boston Consulting Group managing director Massimo Russo. getAbstract suggests this talk to everybody interested in the coming “automated economy.”

In this summary, you will learn

  • How AI will impact the world of work, 
  • What AI technology potentially can and can’t do, and
  • Why human imagination will be crucial in realizing the benefits of AI. 

About the Speaker

Andrew McAfee is the co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and the co-author of Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future. 



As today’s companies train their algorithms, they face the risk that skewed or bad data will lead to inferior AI systems. This problem isn’t new. The “garbage-in, garbage-out risk” emerged with the notion of calculating devices. However, the autonomy of artificial intelligence amplifies the threat. Programmers don’t control the system.

Though AI will transform many professions, medicine and health care will remain “human-centric” for the foreseeable future. These activities require social skills. Thus, although AI-powered tools will soon...

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