July 16, 2019
Washington Post reporter Martin Weil spotlights the work of Prof. Fernando Corbató, who “drastically expanded the usefulness of the computer and put its benefits at the reach of all.” Weil notes that Corbató, who died on July 12, “fostered the digital revolution by developing shared computer operating systems and also put his stamp on daily life by introducing the computer password.”
Profs. Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Dufo speak with Vox reporter Dylan Matthews about their book, “Good Economics for Hard Times.” Matthews notes that the book “tackles issues in both poor and rich countries, setting its sights on big-ticket macro issues: the impact of immigration, automation, and trade on workers; the rise of nativism and xenophobia; and universal basic income.”
Writing for The New York Times, principal research scientist Andrew McAfee explores how new digital technologies have enabled Americans to decrease total use of many critical materials while still maintaining economic growth. McAfee notes that technological progress “can allow us to get ‘more from less’ and better navigate a world of dwindling natural resources.”
Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future, speaks with Kaveh Waddell and Alison Syder of Axios about the potential impact of automation. "If we stay on the trajectory we're on currently, we're going to have greater income inequality, less social mobility, greater political unrest and greater income insecurity," says Reynolds.
MIT and IBM researchers have developed a new dataset aimed at improving how AI systems identify objects, reports Kaveh Waddell and Alison Snyder for Axios. "We don’t want them to only recognize what is very common," says principal research scientist Boris Katz. "We want [a robot] to recognize a chair that is upside down on the floor and not say it is a backpack."
Writing for The Washington Post, Profs. Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson argue that to ease income inequality, the federal government must increase federal support for research and development in areas of the country that have underutilized technical talent. “To boost economic growth, we should strengthen scientific fields where breakthroughs are imminent and where any other country — China in particular — threatens to forge ahead,” they write.