Irving Wladawsky-Berger

How Covid Is Reordering the Global Economy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Issues 242

The Intangible Asset Revolution

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

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The Social Network Is the Computer

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“Human beings have always been a social species,” writes MIT professor Sinan Aral in the opening paragraph of The Hype Machine , his recently published book. “We’ve been communicating, cooperating, and coordinating with one another since we were hunting and gathering.”

Trends That Will Likely Shape a Highly Uncertain Year

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

A few weeks ago The Economist published The World in 2021 , it’s 35th annual look at the economic, political, social and cultural trends that will likely shape the coming year.

Trends 175

What Is Objective Reality?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

I learned about The Constitution of Knowledge , - a 2018 National Affairs essay by author and journalist Jonathan Rauch , - from a recent OpEd by NY Times columnist David Brooks.

Issues 205

How to Emerge Stronger in the Post-Pandemic New Normal

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“What now?,” asked a recent McKinsey article on the implications of Covid for business. “Over the past six months, they have reorganized supply chains, set up remote operations, and made tough financial decisions.

How To 211

Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

On November 18, the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future released its final report , The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines.

Data 215

The Evolution of American Capitalism - Tweaks, Reforms, or Wholesale Change?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“American capitalism has evolved time and again, and we may be poised for another such shift,” said a recent McKinsey article, Rethinking the future of American capitalism , by James Manyika , Gary Pinkus , and Monique Tuin. “Capitalism has contributed to significant gains in economic growth and prosperity throughout its history.

Change 167

What Is the Social Responsibility of Business?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

On September 13, 1970, the NY Times Magazine published an essay by University of Chicago economist and 1976 Nobel Prize recipient Milton Friedman - “ The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits. ” Friedman’s essay turned out to be one of the most influential ever published in the world of business.

Issues 182

AI Technologies Are Fundamentally Changing How Work Gets Done

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

After decades of promise and hype, artificial intelligence is finally becoming one of the most important technologies of our era. AI technologies, like machine learning, are clearly having a major impact on the very nature of work.

Why 70 Percent of Digital Transformations Fail

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“Companies either transform or die in industrial revolutions,” writes former P&G executive Tony Saldanha in his recently published book Why Digital Transformations Fail. “Digital transformation is our current generation’s attempt to transform in the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

After Years of Promise and Hype, Is AI Once More Failing to Deliver?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Data 175

May the Network Force Be With You

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

May the Force Be With You has become part of popular culture since the words were first uttered in the 1977 Star Wars film.

The Real Business of Blockchain

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Are We Becoming a Decadent, Stagnating Society?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Earlier this year I read a very interesting essay, “ The Age of Decadence ”, by NY Times columnist Ross Douthat. The essay is adapted from his recently published book The Decadent Society - How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success.

America’s Obsession with Economic Efficiency

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The belief that efficiency is fundamental to competitive advantage has turned management into a science, whose objective is the elimination of waste, - whether of time, materials, or capital, - wrote Roger Martin in “ The High Price of Efficiency ,” a January 2019 article in the Harvard Business Review.

Class 157

How Will the Pandemic Reshape Labor Markets?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Issues 166

User-Based Free Innovation

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The AI Factory: A New Kind of Digital Operating Model

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Data 157

Reflections on the Later Stages of Our Careers

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

I recently read “ Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think ,” an essay in The Atlantic by social scientist and author Arthur C. Brooks. Brooks essay is a personal reflection on professional careers.

Reconnecting Society and Reopening the Economy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

A few months ago, MIT Connection Science held it’s annual Sponsors’ Meeting online. The virtual meeting included a number of very interesting presentations.

The State of AI Adoption - High Performers Show the Way

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

For the past few years, the McKinsey Global Institute has been conducting a yearly survey to assess the state of AI adoption. Its 2017 survey of over 3,000 AI-aware executive found that outside the technology sector, AI adoption was at an early, often experimental stage. Only 20% of respondents used any AI-related technology in a core part to their business.

The Pace of Creative Destruction is Accelerating

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“A gale force warning to leaders: at the current churn rate, about half of S&P 500 companies will be replaced over the next ten years,” is one of the key insights from the 2018 Corporate Longevity Forecast.

The Urgent Need to Strengthen the Nation’s Resilience

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Following World War II and the onset of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the US undertook a series of measures to strengthen the resilience of the country. These included a significant expansion of government support for scientific research in universities and R&D labs, leading to product innovations from the private sector and better weapons from the defense industry, - and making the US the most prosperous and secure nation in the world.

Price 168

Building a More Resilient, Data-Driven Economy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“With each major crisis, be it war, pandemic, or major new technology, there has been a need to reinvent the relationships between individuals, businesses, and government,” wrote MIT professor Alex “Sandy Pentland in the first chapter of Building the New Economy. Pentland cites two major historical examples.

Data 161

How Will Covid-19 Transform Urban Life?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

In Why America’s Richest Cities Keep Getting Richer , a 2017 article in The Atlantic , urban studies professor and author Richard Florida wrote: “The most important and innovative industries and the most talented, most ambitious, and wealthiest people are converging as never before in a relative handful of leading superstar cities that are knowledge and tech hubs.

System 156

How to Survive and Thrive in a World of Disruption

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Looking back upon my long career , it’s frankly sobering how many once powerful IT companies are no longer around or are shadows of their former selves, e,g, Digital , Wang , Sun Microsystems , BlackBerry. The forces of disruption might have been more powerful in the fast-changing IT industry, but no industry has been immune.

How To 190

An Increasingly Digital “New Normal”

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

About a dozen years ago, I attended a conference where I was interviewed on stage by then WSJ technology columnist Walter Mossberg. He started out by asking me about IBM’s near-death experience in the early 1990s, and the subsequent technical and cultural transformation that made it possible for IBM to reinvent itself and survive, while many other IT companies didn’t make it.

Data 160

The Long-Term Impact of Early-Career Setbacks

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Fail fast, fail often is one of Silicon Valley’s best known mantras. Is there something to this belief that if you’re not failing fast and often you may be stuck in a stagnating endeavor?

Data 145

Blockchain and Public Health Solutions

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) is a global think tank dedicated to the strategic implications of blockchain technologies to business, government and society. On March 26, I participated in a virtual roundtable convened by the BRI to discuss the potential use of blockchain technologies for public health solutions. The roundtable’s findings and recommendations were released in early April in Blockchain Solutions in Pandemics : A Call for Innovation and Transformation in Public Health.

Getting Through Highly Uncertain Times - Some Lessons Learned

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

What does it take to get through highly uncertain times, like the ones we’re in the middle of as we confront the Covid-19 pandemic? Like most of us, I’ve lived through times of high uncertainty in both my personal and professional lives. On the personal front, my main observation is that most of us are much more resilient than we realize. I leave it to psychologists and other experts to offer advice on what it takes to get through such times.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Social Distancing Policies

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

One of the most interesting projects in the MIT Connection Science group I ’ m affiliated with is The Atlas of Inequality. The project, - led by visiting professor Esteban Moro and professor Alex ‘ Sandy ’ Pentland - uses aggregated anonymous geolocation data from digital devices to estimate where different groups of people in US cities spend their time. Over time, the project will be expanded to cities around the world.

The 2019 Artificial Intelligence Index

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

AI has emerged as the defining technology of our era, as transformative over time as the steam engine, electricity, and the Internet. While still in its early stages, AI is already reshaping the economy, society, our personal lives and the very nature of work, with much more to come as the technology and applications mature, including the scientific research necessary to anticipate and fight future pandemics. But, what’s the current state of AI and where is it heading?

Data 162

Conceptualizing AI in Human Terms is Misleading and Potentially Harmful

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“We speak of machines that think , learn , and infer.

Data 171

The Public Face of Science - Implications of the Covid Crisis

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The Public Face of Science was launched four years ago by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to better understand the complex relationship between scientists and the American public. The initiative has now published three reports. The first, Perceptions of Science in America , was published in 2018. It found that a majority of Americans have expressed a great deal of confidence in the scientific community, a confidence which has remained stable over the past thirty years.

Report 114

Honest Conversations - The Key to a Winning Transformational Strategy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“Nearly every organization - whether private, social, or governmental - is grappling with huge strategic challenges, often with a need to reimagine its very purpose, identity, strategy, business model, and structure,” writes Harvard emeritus professor Michael Beer in his recently published book Fit for Competition. “Most of these efforts to transform will fail. And in most cases, they miss the mark not because the new strategy is flawed, but because the organization can’t carry it out.”.

The State of AI in the Enterprise

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

A few months ago, Babson College professor Tom Davenport gave a talk on the state of AI in the enterprise at the annual conference of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy. His talk was based on two recent US surveys conducted by Deloitte, the first one in 2017 followed by a second in 2018. Davenport was a co-author of both reports. The 2017 survey was focused on the responses of 250 US executives who were leading the applications of AI in their companies.

Survey 187

Why “The Techlash” Is a Threat to Growth and Progress

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

A few months ago, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) published A Policymaker’s Guide to the “Techlash” - What It Is and Why It’s a Threat to Growth and Progress. “Does information technology (IT) solve problems and make our lives easier, allowing us to do more with less?,” asks the ITIF report. “Or does it introduce additional complexity to our lives, isolate us from each other, threaten privacy, destroy jobs, and generate an array of other harms?”.

Report 146

The Long-Term Future of Work and Education: Three Potential Scenarios

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“Experts differ widely in their predictions about how technological innovation will change the labor market, but they all see a need for changes in education,” write British professors Ewart Keep and Phillip Brown in a recently published article, Rethinking the Race Between Education and Technology. While experts don’t generally agree on much, they’re pretty much of one mind when it comes to the growing importance of skills and education in our 21st century digital economy.

What History Tells Us About the Accelerating AI Revolution

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

A few weeks before our lives were turned upside down by Covid-19, I read Technology at Work v4.0 , the fourth report in the Technology at Work Series developed by Citigroup in collaboration with Oxford University. The report includes an excellent chapter on What History Tells Us About the Coming AI Revolution by Oxford professor Carl Benedikt Frey based on his 2019 book The Technology Trap.

Using Agile Processes to Develop AI-Based Solutions

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

In the waterfall development model , a project is broken down into a set of sequential phases, - e.g., conception, analysis, design, construction, testing, deployment, maintenance, - each dependent on the completion of the previous phase. Such a model is most appropriate for complex engineering projects, like bridges, airplanes and computer hardware.

Scenario Planning - Formulating Strategy in the Face of High Uncertainty

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“How can we formulate strategy in the face of uncertainty?,” asks Learning from the Future , a recent Harvard Business Review article by Peter Scoblic , in its opening sentence. Answering this question has never felt more urgent as leaders prepare for the future. “Even before the Covid-19 crisis, rapid technological change, growing economic interdependence, and mounting political instability had conspired to make the future increasingly murky.” Uncertainty was already all-encompassing.

Why Some AI Efforts Succeed While Many Fail

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Winning with AI , - a 2019 report based on a survey jointly conducted by the MIT Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group , - found that 90% of respondents agree that AI represents a business opportunity for their company. The global survey attracted over 2,500 respondents from 29 industries and 97 countries, and conducted interviews with 17 executives leaders of AI initiatives in large organizations.

Survey 155