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Quartz

Quartz reporter Michelle Cheng spotlights a working paper by Prof. David Autor which shows that “AI could enable more workers to perform higher-stakes, decision-making tasks that are currently relegated to highly-educated workers such as doctors and lawyers.” As Autor explains, “in essence, AI used well can assist with restoring the middle-skill, middle-class heart of the US labor market that has been hollowed out by automation and globalization.”

The Boston Globe

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have estimated that the use of algorithms in public domains may provide “real value to the public while also saving the government money,” reports Kevin Lewis for The Boston Globe. The researchers suggest algorithms “that target workplace safety inspections, decide whether to refer patients for medical testing, and suggest whether to assign remedial coursework to college students,” have had similar impacts as those in public domains.

Times Higher Education

MIT has been named to the number two spot in Times Higher Education’s world reputation rankings, reports Times Higher Education. MIT is “dedicated to the teaching of science and technology. The sheer number of Nobel laureates affiliated with the institution – an impressive 101 – reveals the caliber of MIT graduates,” Times Higher Education notes. “Scientific discoveries and technological advances to come out of the college include the first chemical synthesis of penicillin, the development of radar, the discovery of quarks and the invention of magnetic core memory, which aided the development of digital computers.”

Financial Times

Writing for Financial Times, economist Ann Harrison spotlights research by Prof. Daron Acemoglu, Pascual Restrepo PhD '16 and Prof. David Autor, that explores the impact of automation on jobs in the United States. Acemoglu and Restrepo have “calculated that each additional robot in the US eliminates 3.3 workers” and that “most of the increase in inequality is due to workers who perform routine tasks being hit by automation,” writes Harrison.

The New York Times

New York Times reporter Ana Swanson spotlights a working paper co-authored by Prof. David Autor which suggests “the sweeping tariffs that former President Donald J. Trump imposed on China and other American trading partners were simultaneously a political success and an economic failure.” Autor and his colleagues found that “the aggregate effect on U.S. jobs of the three measures — the original tariffs, retaliatory tariffs and subsidies granted to farmers — were ‘at best a wash, and it may have been mildly negative.’”

The Boston Globe

Jared Sadoian ’10 speaks with Boston Globe reporter Kara Baskin about his work as director of operations for Cambridge Street Hospitality. “My day consists of email and spreadsheets, and budgeting and planning and analysis,” says Sadoian. “At the same time, it’s very firmly rooted in guest-facing hospitality that most readers might be more familiar with: talking to guests and taking reservations and making sure that folks are happy in the restaurants, and solving problems. Maybe it’s making a drink. This job is all-encompassing, and I love it for that reason, because I ran away from the office life.”

New York Times

New York Times opinion writer Peter Coy spotlights the MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative, a new effort aimed at analyzing the forces that are eroding job quality for non-college workers and identifying ways to move the economy onto a more equitable trajectory. Nothing is “inexorable,” said Prof. Daron Acemoglu during the project’s kickoff event. “The answer in most cases is, AI will do whatever we choose it to do.”

The Economist

The Economist spotlights new research by Prof. Ivan Werning suggesting a refined economic model to address the post-pandemic economy. Werning’s model adjusts “not just to a shift in demand from services to goods, but to supply-chain disruption, energy shocks and employees in some sectors working from home,” explains The Economist. “As such, inflation moved through the economy in waves, starting in select goods then spreading out.”

Wired

Writing for Wired, Institute Prof. Daron Acemoglu predicts that expectations for generative AI will need to recalibrated during the year ahead. Acemoglu notes that he believes in 2024, “generative AI will have been adopted by many companies, but it will prove to be just ‘so-so automation’ of the type that displaces workers but fails to deliver huge productivity improvements.”

Bloomberg

Prof. David Autor speaks with Bloomberg about the future of generative AI and the technology’s potential impact on productivity and the labor market. “When we interact with AI, we need to learn how to treat it not as authoritative, but as a guide to support decision making, and that’s really critical,” says Autor.

HealthDay News

A new analysis from MIT researchers has found that preventative screenings such as a colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy can reduce cancer rates more than previous analyses suggested, reports Ernie Mundell for HealthDay. “Prior colon cancer screening studies found that regular colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy reduced that rate by 25% -- to 0.75%,” explains Mundell. “But the new analysis took into account the number of participants in a colon cancer screening trial who decided, for whatever reason, to skip screening. When these "non-adherent" folks were eliminated from statistical calculations, the actual percentage of people who went on to develop colon cancer over a 10-year span fell to just 0.5%.”

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Emeritus Robert M. Solow, recipient of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in economic growth theory, has died at age 99, reports Austen Hufford for Wall Street Journal.  “Heinstilled in the field of economics a focus on turning complex issues into simple formulas, allowing even freshman in college to grasp and debate important topics,” writes Hufford.

GBH

Prof. Jonathan Gruber speaks with Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan to explain the US deficit and its impact on the economy. Gruber says “there are four options to lowering the deficit. The first is to get inflation under control. Second is to ensure a stable and responsible government. Third, is to decrease spending. And the fourth option is to raise taxes.”

The Washington Post

Prof. Emeritus Robert M. Solow, winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Economics “for exploring the impact of technology on economic growth, work that spawned a wider understanding of what drives the expansion of industrial economics,” has died age 99, reports Edward Cowan for The Washington Post. “The strong role of technological progress identified by Dr. Solow contributed to a greater emphasis by governments on higher education and technological research,” writes Cowan.