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Initiative on the Digital Economy

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Financial Times

Writing for the Financial Times, Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist and co-founder of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, examines how new proposals in the EU to regulate AI could hinder innovation. “Restricting the field of potential innovators to those who can afford high upfront costs is a bad idea,” writes McAfee. “It leads to slower progress and growth and fewer hometown success stories, which are also risks.”

GBH

"You remember when we go to election polls, the voting booth, during elections, we get a little sticker that says 'I Voted'" says Prof. Sinan Aral of a new study that finds hearing about people who have received the Covid-19 vaccine can increase vaccine acceptance rates. "You should think of this as a very similar type of strategy. The reason we get that sticker that says 'I Voted' is that social proof motivates people to join in. And so if we got a sticker or put out a video or put out a message that said, 'I got vaccinated,' it would have the same effect for the same reasons."

The New Yorker

New Yorker reporter Benjamin Wallace-Wells spotlights new research from the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, which shows “just telling people the accurate immunization rates in their country increased, by five per cent, the number who said that they would get the vaccine.”

The Washington Post

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Prof. Sinan Aral discusses the rise of GameStop stock and the real-world impact of social media. “The past week’s events exposed several potential sources of economic instability,” writes Aral. “If the social media crowd’s opinion alone drives market value, the market goes where the herd takes it, without the constraints of economic reality.”

The Washington Post

A study by MIT researchers encourages neighboring states to more closely coordinate business reopening plans during the Covid-19 pandemic, reports James Hohmann for The Washington Post. The researchers “used data from mobile phones, social media and the census to conclude that residents are worse off when reopening is not coordinated among states and regions.”

NBC

Principal Research Scientist Andrew McAfee speaks with NBC's Stephanie Ruhle about the ways robots are changing work. “The hollowing out of the middle class has not yet been replaced by middle class 2.0,” says McAfee. “That should be our real homework going forward, not trying to demonize the automation or the technology.”

CNBC

During the Barclays Asia Forum, Prof. Erik Brynjolfsson urged companies to prioritize cybersecurity in order to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the growing digital economy, reports Saheli Roy Choudhury for CNBC. Brynjolfsson noted that the threat of cyberattacks "can be addressed much more effectively than it has been. I think we're just not taking it seriously enough."

The Wall Street Journal

In an article for The Wall Street Journal, Visiting Lecturer Irving Wladawsky-Berger spotlights MIT’s AI and the Future of Work Conference. Wladawsky-Berger writes that participants, “generally agreed that AI will have a major impact on jobs and the very nature of work. But, for the most part, they viewed AI as mostly augmenting rather than replacing human capabilities.”

Bloomberg

In an article for Bloomberg, Peter Coy examines Prof. Erik Brynjolfsson and Principal Research Scientist Andrew McAfee’s latest book, which examines how smart machines might be integrated into the businesses of the future. Coy explains that the book is written for, “executives and entrepreneurs trying to make their way in this brave new world of driverless cars and hackathons.”

WBUR

Prof. Erik Brynjolfsson and Principal Research Scientist Andrew McAfee speak with Tom Ashbrook of On Point about their new book, “Machine, Platform, Crowd.” Speaking about how much decision-making machines could be handling in the future, Brynjolfsson explains that “instead of having us humans try to tell the machines exactly what needs to be done, machines are learning on their own.” 

The Wall Street Journal

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Visiting Lecturer Irving Wladawsky-Berger praises MIT’s Inclusive Innovation Competition, a contest that honors companies aimed at improving economic opportunities for all workers. Wladawsky-Berger writes that it’s heartening that MIT is “searching for breakthrough innovations to help improve [the] economic prospects” of workers impacted by advanced technologies.