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Financial Times

Writing for the Financial Times, Jon Hilsenrath revisits lessons from the occupational shifts of the early 2000s when probing AI’s potential impact on the workplace. He references Prof. David Autor’s research, calling him “an optimist who sees a future for middle-income workers not in spite of AI, but because of it…creating work and pay gains for large numbers of less-skilled workers who missed out during the past few decades.”

WBUR

Prof. David Autor is a guest of Meghna Chakrabarti on WBUR’s On Point, discussing his research on the potential impact of AI on the workforce. Autor says “AI is a tool that can enable more people with the right foundational training and judgment to do more valuable work.”

New York Times

Prof. David Autor speaks with New York Times reporter Jim Tankersley about the economic implications of President Biden’s decision to codify and escalate tariffs on Chinese goods. Autor’s “latest research warns of the economic perils of poorly designed trade policy, but it also explains why presidents might keep pursuing it,” explains Tankersley. 

The Hill

The Hill reporter Tobias Burns spotlights the efforts of a number of MIT researchers to better understand the impact of generative AI on productivity in the workforce. One research study “looked as cases where AI helped improved productivity and worker experience specifically in outsourced settings, such as call centers,” explains Burns. Another research study explored the impact of AI programs, such as ChatGPT, among employees. 

Astronomy

Prof. Thomas Levenson speaks with David Chandler of Astronomy about the potential for a Planet Nine in our solar system and the soon-to-be opened Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile. “With the right observatory, we can see things that will help us confirm or deny, “says Levenson, “and that observatory is almost at hand, it’s just set to go, and that’s very exciting.”

The Washington Post

GiveDirectly, a nonprofit co-founded by MIT and Harvard alumni, works with “economists to identify the most efficient ways to reduce poverty,” reports Katharine Houreld for The Washington Post. “Lump sums are the most efficient way to give cash, according to a study of GiveDirectly programs released in December that compared the impact of three methods,” explains Houreld. “Two years in, recipients of the lump sum have spent more money on health care, and more of their children have scored better on school exams, according to the study by MIT economics professor Abhijit Banerjee and others." 

NPR

Prof. Jonathan Gruber speaks with Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan to explain the relationship between inflation and interest rates. “What’s driving the inflation recently is auto insurance prices,” says Gruber. “Why are insurance prices going up? It actually comes back to the Fed. Auto insurers make a profit in two ways. One is by charging you more than they’ll pay out and the other is investing money and getting rates of return on that money.”

Freakonomics Radio

Prof. Joshua Angrist speaks with Freakonomics Radio host Stephen Dubner about the influence of his work on public policy. “I like to influence public policy. And I’m happy when I influence public policy, but that is not what I get up in the morning and set out to do,” says Angrist. “I’m an academic, and what I set out to do is high-quality scholarship. I like to get things published in top journals. That’s how I measure my influence. Now, ultimately, a lot of the work I do does affect public policy, or at least it becomes part of the discussion, and that’s gratifying.”

Bloomberg

Prof. Esther Duflo will present her research on poverty reduction and her “proposal for a global minimum tax on billionaires and increased corporate levies to G-20 finance chiefs,” reports Andrew Rosati for Bloomberg. “The plan calls for redistributing the revenues to low- and middle-income nations to compensate for lives lost due to a warming planet,” writes Rosati. “It also adds to growing calls to raise taxes on the world’s wealthiest to help its most needy.”

The Boston Globe

Prof. Adam Berinsky speaks with Boston Globe reporter Aidan Ryan about misinformation in the age of generative AI. “I don’t think that AI is necessarily going to make misinformation better, in the sense of making it more persuasive,” says Berinsky.“But it’s easier to create misinformation.”

Nature

Prof. David Autor speaks with Nature reporter Dalmeet Singh Chawla about the long-term impact of his research on policy documents. Autor’s work from November 2003 “is now the third most cited in policy documents worldwide,” writes Chawla. “Autor thinks his study stands out because his paper was different from what other economists were writing at the time. It suggested that ‘middle-skill’ work, typically done in offices or factories by people who haven’t attended university, was going to be largely automated, leaving workers with either highly skilled jobs or manual work.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Jon Chesto spotlights how MIT President Sally Kornbluth is “determined to harness MIT’s considerable brainpower to tackle” climate change. During a clean-tech entrepreneurship event hosted by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, Kornbluth highlighted the newly announced Climate Project at MIT, “which commits $75 million and dozens of faculty to solving some of the biggest climate problems.” Kornbluth also noted that MIT’s “culture of entrepreneurship” makes the Institute uniquely positioned to help address the challenges posed by climate change.

Vox

Prof. Kieran Setiya speaks Sean Illing, host of Vox’s The Gray Area podcast, about how philosophy can be used as a tool when handling midlife crises. “There’s a real continuity between the literary and human description of phenomena like grief and philosophical reflection,” says Setiya. “Because often what philosophical reflection provides is less a proof that you should live this way and more concepts with which to articulate your experience and then structure and guide how you relate to reality. And seen that way, we can understand how philosophy can operate as self-help.”

New York Times

Prof. Emeritus Olivier Blanchard speaks with New York Times reporter Peter Coy about the impact of wage increases on inflation. “Fundamentally, it is hard to believe that when the economy is overheating there is not going to be pressure of some sort on wages and prices,” says Blanchard.

Los Angeles Times

Rich Lyons PhD '87 has been named the new chancellor of UC Berkeley, reports Teresa Watanabe for The Los Angeles Times. Lyons is “a leader of innovation and entrepreneurship who cultivated a culture of questioning the status quo as a business school dean,” writes Watanabe. “Lyons has won numerous teaching awards and is seen as a charismatic insider with skills to navigate the complex Berkeley culture – and enliven campus events with mean guitar-playing skills.”