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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, the founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, 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. And these collectively intelligent human groups are about to get much smarter.

Using dozens of striking examples and case studies, Malone shows how computers can help create more intelligent superminds simply by connecting humans to one another in a variety of rich, new ways. And although it will probably happen more gradually than many people expect, artificially intelligent computers will amplify the power of these superminds by doing increasingly complex kinds of thinking. Together, these changes will have far-reaching implications for everything from the way we buy groceries and plan business strategies to how we respond to climate change, and even for democracy itself. By understanding how these collectively intelligent groups work, we can learn how to harness their genius to achieve our human goals.

Drawing on cutting-edge science and insights from a remarkable range of disciplines, Superminds articulates a bold -- and utterly fascinating -- picture of the future that will change the ways you work and live, both with other people and with computers.
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The Civic Supermind
The city has always been a product of collective intelligence, a supermind in itself. Today, 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 the innovation economy 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. The innovative capacity of atomized but coordinated problem-solving for cities will be more powerful, by orders of magnitude, than individuals working alone. This is an approach to urban technology, already emerging, that harmonizes local specificity with global innovation capacity and economies of scale. It 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 a data set or an analysis always requires a leap of faith. Beyond an acceptance of margins of error and biases, all data-driven decisions necessitate what William James once called a “will to believe.” When it comes to data that impact or justify institutional decisions, there first needs to be a will to believe 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, this is a sad truth that we must contend with; but it may also sometimes be a symptom of data tunnel vision - of forgetting to attend to certain aspects of stakeholder engagement that involve the sometimes irrational, sometimes inefficient, but always human need for something more than facts to act from. 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 a journey of collecting stories of drive, determination and grit. Starting with the 15 person customer support team she managed, she asked questions about how they got there, how the company found them, or how they found the company. What she found were 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 and opened her eyes to the future of work and the power that managers have right now to influence it. In this short talk, she will share a preview of these stories. She will share common themes and some of the ah-ha moments that she had 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 these stories will inspire you and help you 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 need ever deeper connections to their surroundings. Traditional notions of full autonomy — vehicles or robots working entirely on their own, 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