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Conference Details - Agenda

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2018 MIT Information and Communication Technologies Conference

April 11-12, 2018

Day 2: Thursday, April 12, 2018


Registration and Breakfast


Welcome Back

Session 3: The Future of Work


Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together
If you're like most people, you probably believe that humans are the most intelligent animals on our planet. But there's another kind of entity that can be far smarter: groups of people. In this talk, Thomas Malone shows how groups of people working together in superminds -- like hierarchies, markets, democracies, and communities -- have been responsible for almost all human achievements in business, government, science, and beyond. Malone also shows how computers can help create more intelligent superminds simply by connecting humans to one another in a variety of ways. Artificially intelligent computers will also amplify the power of these superminds by doing increasingly complex kinds of thinking. By understanding how these collectively intelligent groups work, we can learn how to harness their genius to achieve our human goals.
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The Civic Supermind
The innovation economy has profoundly transformed politics, economics, and society, yet its effects have only just begun to manifest in the physical space of cities. Although innovation holds the promise of addressing many challenges of a globalized, urbanized, and climate-changed planet, the present trends in city-technology and city-making demonstrate how this can also threaten regulation and policy, exacerbate economic inequality, and fray the social fabric of place. Matthew Claudel explores these opportunities and frictions. Atomization, distributed networks, and real-time platform markets have opened new territory for urban technology and city-making – what could be thought of as The Civic Supermind. This is an approach to urban technology that encompasses place-based modes of social organization; innovation in policy, regulation, and codes; and the creation of new place-based capital structures. It connects technology to people in place.
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Networking Break


Civic Faith and Meaningful Inefficiencies
Trusting any data set or analysis requires a leap of faith. Beyond an acceptance of margins of error and biases, all data-driven decisions necessitate a will to believe. When it comes to data that impacts or justifies institutional decisions, this belief must exist not only in the institution's ability to be honest and rigorous with data, but in the very authority of data itself to tell us something meaningful about the world. In an era of “alternative facts” and fear-based advocacy, we must contend with this; but it may also sometimes be a symptom of data tunnel vision. How can we be better at designing the conditions for people to develop faith in our (and their) ability to do good things with data? And how can purposefully-deployed inefficiencies improve the resilience of human systems?
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Go See: Looking for Future Talent in Your Current Workforce
Five years ago, Sharon Goh started collecting stories of drive, determination, and grit, beginning with the 15-person customer support team she managed. She asked questions about how they got there and found stories of loss, pain, fear, joy, and success. These were amazing stories that needed to be told and that deeply impacted her as an executive, opening her eyes to the future of work and the power that managers have to influence it. In this talk, she will share a preview of these stories, including common themes and some of the ah-ha moments during this process. Can you drive change starting from the ground up? How do you listen and how do you prepare today for what is coming tomorrow? Her hope is to inspire individuals to rethink the future of work.
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People, Robots, and the Work of the Future
As autonomous systems move out of the research laboratory into operational environments, they require ever deeper connections to their surroundings. Traditional notions of full autonomy have led to “clockwork” approaches where robots must be isolated from their human surroundings. Instead, we need precise, robust relationships with people and infrastructure. This situated autonomy appears in driverless cars' dependence on human-built infrastructure, the need for new systems of unmanned traffic management in the air, and the increasing importance of collaborative robotics in factories. How can we best design such systems to inhabit and enhance the human world? In this talk, David Mindell sketches a number of these emerging scenarios, traces new technologies to address the problems they raise, and envisions new approaches to human and robotic interaction that helps people and robots work together safely and collaboratively.
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Adjournment with Boxed Lunch