The MIT Europe Conference 2021 is one of the most forward-thinking business events in Europe, giving decision makers, entrepreneurs, executives and start-ups the opportunity to gain fresh insights into what's coming next and how the future of work will look like. Listen to some of the most influential voices around the world share their concepts about the latest ideation, transformation, and innovation that’s happening in the new world of work.
About WKO (www.wko.at)
The key competence of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, WKO, is the official representation of business interests at federal, EU and international levels, as well as foreign trade. WKO represents a total of over 500,000 Austrian businesses and supports them with a vast amount of services in Austria and abroad.
Internationally, WKO provides its members with comprehensive information and services with a global network of more than 110 Austrian Trade Commissions. Labeled Advantage Austria, these offices provide a broad range of intelligence and business development services for both Austrian companies and their international business partners. In over 70 countries more than 800 employees can assist in locating Austrian suppliers and bringing business contacts together by organizing over 1,200 events annually. In addition, Advantage Austria’s services include providing in-depth information on Austria as a business location and assistance in entering the Austrian market.
Harald Mahrer (born 1973) is President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and was appointed President of the Austrian National Bank (Oesterreichische Nationalbank) in September 2018. He was Austrian Federal Minister for Education, Science and Business until December 2017. Prior to that, he was State Secretary in the same department from September 1st 2014. As graduate of the Vienna University of Economics and Business, he gained political experience as chairperson of the Austrian National Union of Students and subsequently completed a Doctorate in Social and Economic Science. After several years as a research assistant focussing on information systems and digital businesses he founded Austria’s first incubator and his first company, legend consulting. He then took over as managing partner of Austria’s leading PR & strategic communications agency, Pleon Publico. For more than 15 years, he has been an active business angel and promoted startups in different industries. From 2011 to 2015, he was also President of the Julius Raab Foundation – one of Austria’s leading think tanks. He founded the Austrian Association of Philanthropic Foundations, worked intensively in the area of disruptive innovation, corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, and individual freedom and establishing new strategic priorities for the development of Austria and Europe.
Margarete Schramböck was born 1970 in Tyrol, Austria. She studied Business Administration at the University of Economics and Business in Vienna (WU), where she obtained her Doctorate in Social and Economic Sciences in 1997.
Before Ms Schramböck started her career in 2002 as CEO of NextiraOne, an IT communications company based in Paris, she was occupying a management position at Alcatel. From December 2008 to December 2011 she became Managing Director of NextiraOne Germany. In 2014 Ms Schramböck began working as CEO of Dimension Data Austria, which is a globally leading provider of network and communications technologies and IT services, in particular in the fields of network and computer centres, cloud services, IT security, voice and video communications as well as application integration. Between 2016 and 2017 she was CEO of A1 Telekom Austria.
On 18 December 2017 Margarete Schramböck was appointed Federal Minister of Science, Research and Economy and from 8 January 2018 to 3 June 2019 she was Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs.
Ms Schramböck remains deeply attached to her Alma Mater and is a member of the WU's Center of Excellence. In 2017 she was elected both Tyrolean of the Year and University of Economics and Business in Vienna WU Manager of 2017.
Margarete was a Member of the National Council from 23 October 2019 to 7 January 2020.
Margarete Schramböck was appointed as Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs on 7 January 2020.
Karl Koster is the Executive Director of MIT Corporate Relations. MIT Corporate Relations includes the MIT Industrial Liaison Program and MIT Startup Exchange.
In that capacity, Koster and his staff work with the leadership of MIT and senior corporate executives to design and implement strategies for fostering corporate partnerships with the Institute. Koster and his team have also worked to identify and design a number of major international programs for MIT, which have been characterized by the establishment of strong, programmatic linkages among universities, industry, and governments. Most recently these efforts have been extended to engage the surrounding innovation ecosystem, including its vibrant startup and small company community, into MIT's global corporate and university networks.
Koster is also the Director of Alliance Management in the Office of Strategic Alliances and Technology Transfer (OSATT). OSATT was launched in Fall 2019 as part of a plan to reinvent MIT’s research administration infrastructure. OSATT develops agreements that facilitate MIT projects, programs and consortia with industrial, nonprofit, and international sponsors, partners and collaborators.
He is past chairman of the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP), an organization that seeks to enhance the value of collaborative partnerships between universities and corporations.
He graduated from Brown University with a BA in geology and economics, and received an MS from MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to returning to MIT, Koster worked as a management consultant in Europe, Latin America, and the United States on projects for private and public sector organizations.
Randall S. Wright is a program director with MIT's Industrial Liaison Program. He manages the interface between the managements of companies, headquartered in the United States and Europe, and the senior administration and faculty of MIT.
As a program director for MIT, he convenes teams of researchers and faculty members to provide on-going emerging technology intelligence and strategic advice for the world's leading technology companies. He is a sought-after speaker, delivering keynote speeches focused on emerging technology opportunities and challenges, and counter-intuitive insights in executive panels and discussions. Randall draws on extensive experience advising executives on a range of emerging technology areas including digital transformation, big data, robotics, green buildings, water efficiency, energy storage, biofuels, advanced materials, and manufacturing. He provides navigation and recommendations on the emerging technologies and adoption landscapes critical to future business growth, as well as creation, development, and execution of programs of research between industry and MIT.
Randall has been bestowed by Federal President of Austria Dr. Heinz Fischer with the decoration Cross of Honor in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria for his "outstanding contribution to the development of relations between Austria and MIT".
Prior to MIT, Randall was a marketing manager for Pfizer, Inc., a major U.S. pharmaceuticals company. He was also a strategic planning analyst for Pennzoil Company--a Fortune 500 oil and natural resources company. Randall is an invited lecturer at Northeastern University's Executive M.B.A. Program where he lectures on innovation and corporate strategy. His column Innovation Counterculture looks at ideas and perspectives on strategy, organization, and thinking to help executives connect to the world of innovation outside their organizations and he is published regularly in Research-Technology Management, the award-winning journal of the Industrial Research Institute.
David Autor is Ford Professor in the MIT Department of Economics, co-director of the NBER Labor Studies Program, and co-leader of both the MIT Work of the Future Task Force and the JPAL Work of the Future experimental initiative. His scholarship explores the labor-market impacts of technological change and globalization on job polarization, skill demands, earnings levels and inequality, and electoral outcomes.
Autor has received numerous awards for both his scholarship—the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Sherwin Rosen Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of Labor Economics, and the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2019—and for his teaching, including the MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellowship. Most recently, Autor received the Heinz 25th Special Recognition Award from the Heinz Family Foundation for his work “transforming our understanding of how globalization and technological change are impacting jobs and earning prospects for American workers”.
In 2017, Autor was recognized by Bloomberg as one of the 50 people who defined global business. In a 2019 article, the Economist magazine labeled him as “The academic voice of the American worker.” Later that same year, and with (at least) equal justification, he was christened “Twerpy MIT Economist” by John Oliver of Last Week Tonight in a segment on automation and employment.
Autor is an elected Fellow of the Econometrics Society, the Society of Labor Economists, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Faculty Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. He is co-director of the NBER Labor Studies Program, Co-Director of the MIT School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative, and Scientific Advisor to the NBER Disability Research Center.
His teaching awards include the MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellowship for contributions to undergraduate education, the James A. and Ruth Levitan Award for excellence in teaching, the Undergraduate Economic Association Teaching Award, and the Faculty Appreciation Award from the MIT TPP program.
Autor earned a BA in Psychology from Tufts University and a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1999. Prior to graduate study, he spent three years directing computer skills education for economically disadvantaged children and adults in San Francisco and South Africa. Autor is the captain of the MIT Economics hockey team, which is reputed to be one of the most highly cited teams in the MIT intramural league.
Prior to the onset of the COVID crisis, the industrialized world was undergoing rapid employment growth, so much so that The Economist magazine declared in May 2019, “Most of the rich world is enjoying a jobs boom of unprecedented scope”. Despite these encouraging trends, a cross-national Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2018 found that majorities of citizens in advanced and emerging economies anticipated that robots and computers would probably or definitely take over many jobs, exacerbating inequality, and making it more difficult to find work. The COVID crisis has upended these predictions, bringing to an end the longest economic expansion in U.S. history and causing a worldwide spike in unemployment. Ironically, technological advances generally, and automation specifically, had almost nothing to do with this reversal of fortune. Should we now stop worrying about technological unemployment and focus instead on conventional threats? Or are all prior bets simply off?
Julie Shah is an Associate Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and leads the Interactive Robotics Group of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Shah received her SB (2004) and SM (2006) from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, and her PhD (2010) in Autonomous Systems from MIT. Before joining the faculty, she worked at Boeing Research and Technology on robotics applications for aerospace manufacturing. She has developed innovative methods for enabling fluid human-robot teamwork in time-critical, safety-critical domains, ranging from manufacturing to surgery to space exploration. Her group draws on expertise in artificial intelligence, human factors, and systems engineering to develop interactive robots that emulate the qualities of effective human team members to improve the efficiency of human-robot teamwork. In 2014, Shah was recognized with an NSF CAREER award for her work on “Human-aware Autonomy for Team-oriented Environments," and by the MIT Technology Review TR35 list as one of the world’s top innovators under the age of 35. Her work on industrial human-robot collaboration was also recognized by the Technology Review as one of the 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2013, and she has received international recognition in the form of best paper awards and nominations from the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, the International Symposium on Robotics, and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
As Covid-19 has made it necessary for people to keep their distance from each other, robots are stepping in to fill essential roles, such as sanitizing warehouses and hospitals, ferrying test samples to laboratories, and serving as telemedicine avatars. There are signs that people may be increasingly receptive to robotic help, preferring, at least hypothetically, to be picked up by a self-driving taxi or have their food delivered via robot, to reduce their risk of catching the virus.
As more intelligent, independent machines make their way into the public sphere, engineer Julie Shah is urging designers to rethink not just how robots fit in with society, but also how society can change to accommodate these new, “working” robots.
Principal Research Scientist
MIT Sloan School of Management
Andrew McAfee studies the ways that information technology (IT) affects businesses and business as a whole. His research investigates how IT changes the way companies perform, organize themselves, and compete. At a higher level, his work also investigates how computerization affects competition, society, the economy, and the workforce.
He and Erik Brynjolfsson are co-authors of the ebook Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy. The book brings together a range of data, examples, and research to show that the average US worker is being left behind by advances in technology.
He coined the phrase “Enterprise 2.0” in a spring 2006 Sloan Management Review article to describe the use of Web 2.0 tools and approaches by businesses. He also began blogging at that time, both about Enterprise 2.0 and about his other research. McAfee’s blog is widely read, becoming at times one of the 10,000 most popular in the world (according to Technorati). He also maintains a Facebook profile and Twitter account.
In addition to the blog that is part of this site, McAfee also writes a blog as part of harvardbusiness.org’s “HBR Voices.” His posts are also regularly reprinted at forbes.com.
McAfee’s book on Enterprise 2.0 was published in November 2009 by Harvard Business School Press.
In the July / August 2008 issue of Harvard Business Review McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson published “Investing in the IT that Makes a Competitive Difference,” a summary of their research investigating IT’s links to changes in competition. This work was the first to reveal that competition began to heat up in the US in the mid 1990s – to become faster paced, more turbulent, and more winner-take-all – and that this acceleration was greater in industries that spent more on IT. This research continues, and continues to highlight that technology appears to be significantly reshaping the landscape of competition.
McAfee is the author or co-author of more than 100 articles, case studies and other materials for students and teachers of technology. This work has convinced him that modern information technology is the most powerful tool available to business leaders, yet also the most misunderstood and under-appreciated resource at their disposal.
He has written columns for the Washington Post, the Financial Times, and Canadian Manager, and been a guest on the Charlie Rose show.
In 2008 McAfee was named by the editors of the technical publishing house Ziff-Davis number 38 in their list of the “100 Most Influential People in IT.” He was also named by Baseline magazine to a separate, unranked list of the 50 most influential people in business IT that year. In 2009 he was the only non-executive in the Everything Channel’s group of the 100 most influential executives in the technology industry.
He speaks frequently to both academic and industry audiences, and has taught in executive education programs around the world.
McAfee is currently a principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business in the MIT Sloan School of Management. He was previously a professor at Harvard Business School and a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
He received his Doctorate from Harvard Business School, and completed two Master of Science and two Bachelor of Science degrees at MIT.
Dorothee Ritz has been General Manager of Microsoft in Austria since July 2015 and in her role wants to actively shape the digital transformation process in Austria. Ritz has been working for Microsoft in various managing positions since 2004. Before joining Microsoft in Austria, she led the Microsoft International Business Strategy for the president of Microsoft International, who is responsible for Microsoft’s business outside of the U.S. Previously, she had been part of the German leadership team as a General Manager for Consumer & Online as well as Advertising & Online. Some of her major successes at Microsoft include the implementation of a strategy for the mobile first, cloud first world as well as driving solutions for the challenges of the digital transformation. Ritz was also responsible for expanding the business of MSN, Hotmail, the successful launches of Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9. Before joining Microsoft in Germany, Dorothee Ritz was a co-founding member of the German Xchanging Gmbh and worked for Bertelsmann AG in the Online Services & New Media sector. She was also part of the founding team of AOL Europe and part of the AOL management team in Australia. Dorothee Ritz is married with two children and beside her job, is also actively engaged for the German child aid organization Plan International Germany. She has a master’s degree in European Community Law of the University of London and a Doctor’s degree in Law with an emphasis in online law.
Master Builder & Civil Engineer Hubert Rhomberg is Managing Director of Rhomberg Holding GmbH and - now in the fourth generation - in charge of the internationally active Rhomberg Group, which has its headquarters in Bregenz, Austria. The Rhomberg Group employs over 3,000 people across three continents and is a leader in sustainable construction and mobility. Following his holistic approach, the three divisions Construction, Railway Technology and Resources have not only established sustainability as a principle but continue to set new industry standards.
After graduating in engineering at Vienna University of Technology Hubert Rhomberg worked for the construction company Strabag in Linz and Vienna for three years before, in 1998, joining his family's company in his role as Manager of the Civil Engineering department and in charge of developing the Railway Technology division. In addition, he supplemented his practical entrepreneurial knowledge by taking a postgraduate course in Company Management at the well known University of St. Gallen.
Hubert Rhomberg extends his range of activities by actively promoting research projects (BRIX, House of the Future, LifeCycleTower) and giving public lectures on the subjects Resource Productivity, Mobility and Sustainable Company Management. In 2015 he published his book “Bauen 4.0 – From the Ego to the Lego principle”.
Daniela Rus is the Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and deputy dean of research for the Schwarzman College of Computing. She brings deep expertise in robotics, artificial intelligence, data science and computation. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer, and the Association for Computing Machinery. She is also a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Career award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation fellowship. Rus earned her PhD in computer science from Cornell University.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most important technologies in the world today. The United States and China compete for dominance in its development. CEOs believe it will significantly change the way they do business. And it has helped companies such as Facebook, Google, and Apple to become among the largest in the world. But how will this technology affect work in the future? Will it lead to a permanent underclass of people who are no longer employable because their jobs are being done by computers? Will super-intelligent computers someday take over the world, finding little use for the humans who created them? Or will robotic servants usher in a golden age of human leisure and prosperity?
Sanjay Sarma is the Fred Fort Flowers (1941) and Daniel Fort Flowers (1941) Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. He is the first Dean of Digital Learning at MIT. He co-founded the Auto-ID Center at MIT and developed many of the key technologies behind the EPC suite of RFID standards now used worldwide. He was also the the founder and CTO of OATSystems, which was acquired by Checkpoint Systems (NYSE: CKP) in 2008. He serves on the boards of GS1, EPCglobal and several startup companies including Senaya and ESSESS.
Dr. Sarma received his Bachelors from the Indian Institute of Technology, his Masters from Carnegie Mellon University and his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. Sarma also worked at Schlumberger Oilfield Services in Aberdeen, UK, and at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories in Berkeley, California. He has authored over 75 academic papers in computational geometry, sensing, RFID, automation and CAD, and is the recipient of numerous awards for teaching and research including the MacVicar Fellowship, the Business Week eBiz Award and Informationweek's Innovators and Influencers Award. He advises several national governments and global companies.
What are the lessons from learning science and new technologies that could make online education, including workforce training, more effective? Our current workforce education system faces many gaps, from underinvestment to a deep disconnect between the still-separate worlds of work and learning. However, new models for workforce education delivery are developing to help fill these gaps. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has underscored the need for a better workforce education system to create better quality jobs. To meet the needed scale, online education, which has been growing in recent years, could be a key tool. But online education is a very different medium than the traditional classroom, and there are lessons from learning science only now being understood that will apply to it in different ways. For online workforce education to work and to scale, it will have to be a better system, incorporating learning lessons and advanced technologies to optimize the new medium.
Katja Schechter is an Urban Scientist at OECD and MIT and recent Finalist at Fast Company Award 2018 World Changing Ideas with the project ADB Pedicab - Buddha Pedal Power.
She works as an Urban Scientist at OECD in Paris, as a researcher at MIT Media Lab and as a speaker and consultant across Asia, Europe and the US. With homes in Vienna, Paris and Boston, she is a global urban nomad, bringing together people and bridging cultures - in science, finance and arts.
Mary Anne Ocampo is a Lecturer of Urban Design in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She practices as an urban designer and Principal at Sasaki Associates, a multidisciplinary firm with an integrated planning and design philosophy. She works on international and domestic institutional and urban projects, leading teams with strategic planning and a commitment to design excellence. Shifting across scales and contexts, Mary Anne’s recent work includes: a research and development district in Malaysia, an urban design vision for the Texas State Capitol District in Austin, and an institutional master plan for Northwestern University.
Mary Anne’s research focuses on urban resilience in socio-economically, and environmentally, vulnerable contexts. At MIT, she and her co-instructor were awarded the MISTI Global Seed Grant to study informal settlements exposed to flooding in Metro Manila with the World Bank in a Citywide Development Approach planning initiative. As the primary investigator of this research, Mary Anne initiated a design studio that explored resiliency strategies that reduce vulnerability to flooding and urban development pressures.
Mary Anne holds a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University, a Master of Architecture from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kentucky. In the past, she has held teaching appointments at Syracuse University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Cornell University. She serves on the board for the Hideo Sasaki Foundation, is a member of the Society of College and University Planning, an associate member of the American Institute of Architects, a member of Boston Society of Architects, and is an affiliated faculty member with the Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT. Mary Anne’s design work has been recognized with awards from the American Planning Association, Society of College and University Planning, Boston Society of Architecture, and the Boston Society of Landscape Architecture. She has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for her contributions to urban design thinking as a recipient of the 2016 National Associates Award, the highest honor given to individual associate AIA members.
Grover Hermann Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Cognitive Neuroscience
Director, Martinos Imaging Center
MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research
McGovern Investigator John Gabrieli directs the research and administrative activities of the center, providing executive-level leadership and oversight to the center’s operations. Gabrieli, who is also a professor in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, is interested in the neural basis of memory, thought and emotion in the human brain, and he also seeks to understand the brain abnormalities that underlie neurological and psychiatric disease.
Traditional approaches to understanding skills and abilities in people (people science) do not satisfy the needs of the modern employer in regard to job fit, soft skills, fairness, and flexibility. The foundations of a new people science builds on advancements in fields like cognitive science and neuroscience that can be used to understand individual differences among humans. Best practices should govern the application of the new people science theories to real-world employment contexts. An example comes from one how one platform company has used the new people science to create hiring models for five high-growth roles. These insights need to be made actionable in the context of retraining employees for the future of work.
Deb Roy is Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT where he directs the MIT Center for Constructive Communication and is Executive Director of the MIT Media Lab. He leads research in applied machine learning and human-machine interaction with applications in designing systems for learning and constructive dialogue, and for mapping and analyzing large scale media ecosystems.
Roy is also co-founder and Chair of Cortico, a nonprofit social venture that is developing and operating the Local Voices Network to foster constructive public conversations across political and cultural divides. Roy was co-founder and CEO of Bluefin Labs, a media analytics company that analyzed the interactions between television and social media at scale. Bluefin was acquired by Twitter in 2013, Twitter’s largest acquisition of the time. From 2013-2017 Roy served as Twitter’s Chief Media Scientist.
An author of over 160 academic papers, his popular TED talk Birth of a Word presents his research on his son’s language development that led to new ideas in media analytics. A native of Canada, Roy received his Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Waterloo and PhD in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT.
Political, media and technological forces have driven us into isolated, like-minded camps hostile toward outside views and ripe for the spread of misinformation, mischaracterization of others, hateful discourse, and even violence. The loudest, most extreme voices now dominate the public sphere, stifling communication that might bridge ever-widening and increasingly dangerous divides. The MIT Center for Constructive Communication is bringing together researchers in AI, computational social science, digital interactive design, and learning technologies with software engineers, journalists, artists, public health experts, and community organizers to explore and address the effects of deepening societal fragmentation in America.
Led by Professor Deb Roy and based at the Media Lab, the Center will leverage data-driven analytics to better understand current social and mass media ecosystems and design new tools and communication networks capable of bridging social, cultural, and political divides.