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Past Conferences

Conference Details - Agenda

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2014 The Second Machine Age Conference

September 10-11, 2014

Day 1: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

8:00 - 8:50

Registration and Light Breakfast

8:50 - 9:00

Welcome and Introduction

9:00 - 9:45

Keynote #1 - The Second Machine Age

Like steam power and electricity before it, the explosion of digitally enabled technologies is radically transforming the landscape of human endeavor. Astonishing progress in robotics, automation, and access to information presents major challenges for institutions from small businesses and communities to large corporations and governments, but it also creates opportunities to rethink how we live and work in profoundly positive ways.

Impact on the Workforce

9:45 - 10:30

Keynote #2: LinkedIn

10:30 - 11:00


11:00 - 11:30

Startups Driving Job Growth and the Dynamics of the Workforce

11:30 - 12:00

Polanyi's Paradox and the Shape of Employment Growth

12:00 - 1:00

Lunch and Networking

Impact of Innovation

1:00 - 1:45

Keynote #3: The Future of Innovation

1:45 - 2:15

Nowcasting and Placecasting Growth Entrepreneurship

Two novel methods help identify growth potential in firms that have met a simple but fundamental requirement for growth — incorporation. Placecasting tracks changing locational patterns of growth entrepreneurs over time, while Nowcasting develops an index of current growth entrepreneurship activity based on the number of incorporations comparable to past companies that showed high likelihood of achieving a growth outcome.

2:15 - 3:00

How Will Entrepreneurship Change?

Increasingly, recent graduates and other young people entering the workforce want to start companies of their own rather than find one to work for. As the economic and technological landscape continues to shift in the wake of the digital revolution, what capabilities must they cultivate? How will entrepreneurial activities change in response to the new business environment? And what can established companies learn from the next wave of entrepreneurial innovation?

3:00 - 3:15


Impact of Automation

3:15 - 4:00

One Robot for Every Task

The digitization of practically everything coupled with the mobile Internet, automation, and advanced robotics promises a future with democratized use of machines and wide-spread customization. Increasingly, cognitive machines and technologies for rapidly designing and fabricating new, more capable robots have the potential for broad-based impact, from manufacturing and construction to health-care, smart cities, transportation and other facets of everyday life.

4:00 - 4:30

Factories of the Near Future

Advances in hardware, computation, and sensing enable robots to perform an increasing percentage of traditionally manual tasks, yet often workers cannot be removed from the process entirely. Harnessing the relative strengths of workers and robots to optimize manufacturing processes for the near future requires adaptive work-sharing and scheduling algorithms to coordinate collaboration on two levels: one-to-one worker/robot teamwork and factory-level sequencing.

5:00 - 5:45

Keynote #4


Reception and Networking

* All schedule and speakers are subject to change without notice.

Day 2: Thursday, September 11, 2014

8:00 - 8:30

Registration and Light Breakfast

8:30 - 8:45

Welcome and Introduction

Impact of Instant Information

8:45 - 9:30

Keynote #5: Social Dynamics of Instant Information

Data access of unprecedented scope through global mobile and social networks is transforming societies. The potential benefits for better understanding nearly any aspect of our world — language, politics, economics, public health, etc., — are immense but so are the obstacles raised by concerns over privacy, anonymity, and ownership. Understanding the social dynamics of data sharing is imperative for fully and responsibly exploiting instant information.

9:30 - 10:00

The Science of Social Media Influence

Understanding peer influence in networks is critical to designing effective marketing and promoting positive social change, but several statistical challenges make it difficult to econometrically identify peer influence in networks. The results of some large-scale experiments investigating the social and structural moderators of peer influence in networks could enable more effective marketing strategies and public policy more broadly.

10:00 - 10:30

Big Data, Value, Complexity and Culture

Big data can be used for more than improving targeted marketing campaigns. Three big data visualization engines created by the MIT Media Lab's Macro Connections group, the Observatory of Economic Complexity, DataViva, and Pantheon, use big data to create comprehensive and compelling visualizations that improve our understanding of the development of economies and cultural production.

10:30 - 11:00


11:00 - 11:45

Keynote #6: The (Substantial and Positive) Digital Transformation of Society

Before the Internet, things moved in relatively slow and somewhat predictable ways. After the Internet, unpredictability reigned and everything was disrupted. In this After-Internet world, innovators are engineers and designers, and you don't need money or MBAs pre-launch. It is a world where the Internet is not just a technology but a philosophy of permission-less innovation. After-Internet success requires rethinking our approach to innovation, favoring practice over theory, compasses over maps, and risk over safety.
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11:45 - 12:30

Keynote #7: Initiative on the Digital Economy

The Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) is a major effort focused on the impact of digital technology on businesses, the economy, and society. Drawing on MIT Sloan’s strengths in technology and innovation, its internationally recognized faculty, and more than a decade of research and partnership with MIT Sloan’s Center for Digital Business, the IDE is analyzing the broad sociological changes following the advance and spread of digital technology.


Closing Comments



* All schedule and speakers are subject to change without notice.