The Second Machine Age

The theme of the 2014 MIT CIO Symposium is inspired by The Second Machine Age by MIT Sloan's Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

This New York Times Best Seller, within three weeks of its release, makes it clear that a revolution is under way.

In recent years, Google's autonomous cars have logged thousands of miles on American highways, and IBM's Watson trounced the best human Jeopardy! players. Digital technologies – with hardware, software, and networks at their core – will in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply enormous data sets to transform retailing, and accomplish many tasks once considered uniquely human.

Second Machine Age book cover

In The Second Machine Age, Brynjolfsson and McAfee – two MIT Sloan thinkers at the forefront of their field – reveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy. As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, we will realize immense bounty in the form of dazzling personal technology, advanced infrastructure, and near-boundless access to the cultural items that enrich our lives.

Amid this bounty will also be wrenching change. Professionals of all kinds – from CIOs to truck drivers – will be forever upended. Companies will be forced to transform or die. Recent economic indicators reflect this shift – fewer people are working, and wages are falling even as productivity and profits soar.

Drawing on years of research at MIT Sloan, and experiencing firsthand the latest trends, Brynjolfsson and McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity. These include designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, revamping education (including in-company education) so that it better prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape.

A fundamentally optimistic book, The Second Machine Age will alter how we think about issues of technological, societal, and economic progress. The MIT Sloan CIO Symposium is proud to feature Erik and Andy on our agenda, and a book signing will take place during the Reception/Innovation Showcase at the end of the day.