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  • Andrew McAfee | The New Division of Labor
    Andrew McAfee | The New Division of Labor
  • 2019 MIT Citi - 6 - More From Less - Andrew McAfee
    2019 MIT Citi - 6 - More From Less - Andrew McAfee
  • Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson: Technology as job killer? – part 1
    Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson: Technology as job killer? – part 1
  • Machine, Platform, Crowd | Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee | Talks at Google
    Machine, Platform, Crowd | Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee | Talks at Google
  • What will future jobs look like? | Andrew McAfee
    What will future jobs look like? | Andrew McAfee
  • Dematerialization: Humanity’s Biggest Surprise | Andrew McAfee | TEDxCambridge
    Dematerialization: Humanity’s Biggest Surprise | Andrew McAfee | TEDxCambridge
  • Andrew McAfee: Are droids taking our jobs?
    Andrew McAfee: Are droids taking our jobs?
  • Summit on Technology and Jobs: Technology, Jobs, and Wages
    Summit on Technology and Jobs: Technology, Jobs, and Wages
  • The Future of Work in an Age of Artificial Intelligence
    The Future of Work in an Age of Artificial Intelligence

Learn More About Andrew McAfee

Are digital technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and robots going to take all the jobs and leave us worse off? Absolutely not, says Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at MIT and co-founder of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy. On the contrary, he argues, they have been enhancing our lives and continue to unveil countless opportunities for business, economic and individual growth and, most importantly, solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing humanity.

A highly sought-after speaker and advisor, McAfee studies the effects of technology on industries, sectors and countries, and offers data-driven insights into existing and emerging trends. His work is particularly valuable to decision makers at financial institutions, health care organizations and government agencies, and to firms interested in emerging technologies that can streamline operations, enhance innovation and offer a competitive edge. Since much of McAfee’s work looks at ways technology can help solve larger societal problems, he is also an excellent resource for corporate social responsibility leaders and organizations interested in balancing profit with purpose.

“We are living through exciting times right now, something that happens maybe every 100 years,” says McAfee, whose optimistic pro-growth, pro-market, pro-innovation and pro-technology views are tempered with healthy levels of practicality and caution. “New technologies and a new breed of leaders are coming together to create unprecedented levels of value – and disruption. Incumbents in every industry will be challenged and a lot of them won’t be able to respond effectively.

“When it comes to our relationship with the planet we all live on, we are seeing ways we can invest to improve both the human condition and the state of nature, and how technology can help solve larger world problems around hunger, housing, jobs, climate change and even COVID-19, while also contributing to economic growth,” he adds.

McAfee has been shining a bright light on the far-reaching impact of technology since 2011 when he and co-author Erik Brynjolfsson released their paradigm-shifting book “Race Against the Machine.” Their next two books, The New York Times bestseller “The Second Machine Age“ (2014) and “Machine | Platform | Crowd“ (2017) expanded on this theme. In 2019, McAfee went solo with his pessimist-defying book “More from Less” in which he shares profound examples of economic and environmental progress driven by a combination of powerful technologies, economic freedom and smart regulation and policy.

McAfee and his MIT team have ample evidence showing how technology is allowing societies to progressively decouple economic growth from planetary harms. His findings are counterintuitive, but encouraging: we now have the playbook for growing our populations and prosperity while decreasing energy use, natural resource extraction and pollution.

In addition to being a data-driven optimist, however, McAfee is also a realist who acknowledges some of the downsides of technological progress, such as people and communities left behind and technology races ahead. But he is also quick to offer practical ways businesses and policymakers can address such problems with smart investments, regulations and reforms. He further points out that humans and machines often end up working together, with technology reducing drudgery and opening up opportunities for creativity and empathy.

“Geek Leadership,” McAfee’s next book, starts out by noting that Netflix, Amazon, and Bridgewater all have extraordinary track records of sustained performance, and also strange corporate cultures that are strange in the same ways – which he views as no coincidence. The three companies are the most prominent examples of a fundamentally new way of running and growing companies, as different from today’s standard practices as electricity was from steam power. The book describes this rapidly spreading new paradigm, demystifies its lexicon – agile development, scrums and sprints, minimum viable product, radical candor and transparency, disagree and commit, day one, fail fast, and so on – and explains why it works as well as it does.

“Technological progress is what allows us to continue this amazing run where output goes up, prices go down and volume and quality continue to explode,” says McAfee. “Some call this shallow materialism but that is the wrong way to look at it. This is abundance, which is exactly what we want our economic system to provide.”

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Andrew McAfee is a principal research scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the co-founder of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy. He studies how technology is changing the world — economies, business models, work and the environment.

McAfee’s 2014 bestseller “The Second Machine Age,” co-authored with Erik Brynjolfsson, was hailed by The Economist as “a striking attempt to wrestle with the massive management changes that will result from autonomous machines” and “the most influential recent business book.” Their follow-up book, “Machine | Platform | Crowd,” was praised by the same publication as “an astute romp through important digital trends… [that] is hard to beat.” And McAfee’s own 2019 book “More from Less” –  which explains how technology and capitalism have combined in recent years to let us tread more lightly on the earth – was praised by Steven Pinker as an “exhilarating book… fascinating, enjoyable to read, and tremendously empowering” and by Marc Andreessen as “an urgently needed and clear-eyed view of how to have our technological cake and eat it too.”

McAfee has written for publications including Foreign Affairs, Harvard Business Review, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He’s talked about his work on CNN and 60 Minutes, at the World Economic Forum, TED, the Aspen Ideas Festival, with Tom Friedman, Fareed Zakaria and Andrew Ross Sorkin, and in front of many international and domestic audiences. He and Brynjolfsson are the only people named to both the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top management thinkers and the Politico 50 group of people transforming American politics.

Andrew McAfee is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Andrew McAfee was last modified: August 16th, 2022 by Justin Louis

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The Geek Takeover: What Traditional Companies Can Learn From Big Tech

Over the past two decades, big tech companies have innovated and experimented with the standard Industrial Era business model, creating organizations that are now dominating the global economy. How do they do it, and will the bubble burst? In this talk, MIT digital economist and data scientist Andrew McAfee, co-founder of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, takes audiences on a deep dive into his upcoming book, “The Geek Way.” He pulls back the curtain on what makes these “geek companies” consistently strong performers, how they excel at disrupting industries, and what traditional companies can learn from their freewheeling, fast-moving, evidence-driven, egalitarian, argumentative and autonomous cultures.

Better Compete With the Tech Giants by Adopting Their Culture

Traditional companies are being eclipsed by digital giants like Amazon and Google for one simple reason: they have figured out how to build better companies by creating a culture that consistently excels in three key areas: agility, innovation and execution. In this talk – based on his upcoming book, “The Geek Way” – MIT digital economist and data scientist Andrew McAfee, co-founder of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, explains why these “geek companies” are consistently good in all three areas. He highlights the four norms they follow (science, ownership, speed and openness) and how they put them into practice. He then outlines how other companies can adopt geek cultures so they can better compete in the future and not get left behind.

Ensure Long-term Growth by Digitally Transforming Your Operating Model

The key factor that drives the success of tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Uber lies in their ability to leverage a digital operating model. Traditional businesses are getting left behind as these digital giants take over the economy, says MIT digital economist and data scientist Andrew McAfee, co-founder of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy. In this talk, he explains why traditional companies must digitally transform their business if they want to survive in the new economy, how they can successfully make the transition, and what they need to do to prepare their workforce for the future.

The Future of Work in the Roaring Twenties

As we come out of the pandemic in 2021 and beyond, we’re not going back to business as usual. AI and automation are changing how we divide up tasks between minds and machines, and remote work is changing where and how we interact and collaborate. Both of these changes are just getting started, and they’ll bring massive changes. Companies, cities, teamwork, and innovation will never be the same. In this talk, Andy McAfee will provide an optimistic, action-oriented roadmap for leadership and success in the Roaring Twenties.

Opportunities Inside the Pandemic

Even in the age of COVID-19, MIT principal scientist and digital economist Andrew McAfee sees ways technology can lead us out of the desert and, as a researcher, he continues to identify trends and mine solutions. During this talk, McAfee will explain why and how the pandemic is unveiling opportunities by showing us what society can do without, what it needs, and outlining ways business and government can conscientiously and purposefully move forward.

Uncovering Corporate Dysfunction: What Smart Companies Are Doing Differently

Why do some businesses fail? What factors within your organization are creating bad habits and how do you break them? Do stock values reflect the real value of a company? MIT principal scientist and digital economist Andrew McAfee studies such dynamics within organizations, economies and industries and uses his research to help leaders identify and fix problems. In this talk, he shows participants how to leave behind inefficient and outdated systems and how to shape new business models that can leverage emerging opportunities for growth.

Building Business While Minding the Environment

Growth does not have to happen at the expense of the environment, says MIT principal scientist and digital economist Andrew McAfee. He and his research team have collected massive amounts of data showing how technology has contributed to increased economic growth and decreased use of energy and natural resources since the 1970s. In this talk, he shares that data and offers up smart strategies for driving profits while taking less from the earth. In the process, participants get a sneak peek at emerging trends and technologies that will help them strike a balance between profit and purpose going forward. They also learn how to understand and address systemic problems within an organization or at the public policy level with solutions McAfee continues to uncover in his research.

Humans, Machines and Jobs: The Economic Upside

While AI and machines are replacing some human jobs, more often than not they are working in tandem with humans to make their jobs easier. And now that machines, robots and AI have recently graduated to a place where they can speak, listen, write, understand and even empathize, such technologies are offering up profound opportunities for growth, understanding and problem solving, creating efficiencies in systems across sectors, industries and even languages. In this talk, MIT principal scientist and digital economist Andrew McAfee helps participants identify ways they can leverage AI and machines while still addressing the problem of human job losses with upskilling, retraining, incentive programs and other humanistic solutions.

Geeky Leadership (Video)

November 26, 2016

Digital economist Andrew McAfee is a world-renowned authority on digital technologies that are changing the world – economies, business models, work and the environment. A highly sought-after speaker, advisor and futurist, he offers organizations data-driven insights into existing and emerging trends. His advice is particularly valuable to decision makers at financial institutions, health care organizations and government agencies, and to firms interested in emerging technologies that can streamline operations, enhance innovation and offer a competitive edge. Since much of McAfee’s work looks at ways technology can help solve larger societal problems, he is also an excellent resource for corporate social responsibility leaders and organizations interested in balancing profit with purpose. McAfee helps organizations in every industry prepare for the future impacts of technology. He can cover any or all of the following topics during virtual or in-person advisory meetings or executive education workshops, which can be customized to meet the needs of your organization and the size of your audience.

  • How to Compete With the Tech Giants By Adopting Their Cultures
  • Humans, Machines and Jobs: The Economic Upside
  • Business Model Transformation/Digital Transformation
  • Geek Leadership
  • Leveraging Technology to Solve Big Problems
  • More From Less: Reasons to be Optimistic About the Future
  • Uncovering Corporate Dysfunction
  • Post-Pandemic Opportunities
  • Building Business While Minding the Environment
  • The Future of the Global Economy
  • Technologies That Supercharge Innovation Processes
  • Economic Freedom Through Smart Regulation
  • Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
  • Leveraging Platforms and Crowds

Praise for “More From Less”

“Everyone knows we’re doomed by runaway overpopulation, pollution, or resource depletion, whichever comes first. Not only is this view paralyzing and fatalistic, but, as Andrew McAfee shows in this exhilarating book, it’s wrong… ‘More from Less’ is fascinating, enjoyable to read, and tremendously empowering.”

Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of “Enlightenment Now”

“For many years now, Andrew McAfee has been arguing that the fourth industrial revolution would transform our economies and the quality of our lives. . . . His optimism is a breath of fresh air substantiated by real research and empirical findings. [This book is] well worth reading even if your first impression, like mine, is: it can’t be true!”

Christine Lagarde, former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund

“Yet another magnificent contribution from Andrew McAfee. Along with his prior works, ‘More from Less’ will help us navigate society’s future in profound ways.”

Clayton M. Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School

“Riveting . . . By subverting our common perceptions of capitalism and technology as enemies of progress and environmental preservation, McAfee offers all of us a clear-eyed source of optimism and hope. Critically, he also makes the case for what comes next—offering up vital lessons that have the potential to make the world both more prosperous and more just.”

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation

“Andrew McAfee’s optimistic and humane book documents a profoundly important and under-appreciated megatrend—the dematerialization of our economy. In a world where there is much to worry about his analytical optimism is very welcome. Anyone who worries about the future will have their fears allayed and hopes raised by reading this important book.”

Lawrence Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury and Director of the National Economic Council

“This book is the best kind of surprise. It tells us something about our relationship with our planet that is both unexpected and hopeful. The evidence Andy presents is convincing: we have at last learned how to tread more lightly on the Earth. ‘More from Less’ shows how we accomplished this, and tells us how to keep it ”

Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google

In ‘More from Less,’ Andrew McAfee conclusively demonstrates how environmentalism requires more technology and capitalism, not less. Our modern technologies actually dematerialize our consumption, giving us higher human welfare with lower material inputs. This is an urgently needed and clear-eyed view of how to have our technological cake and eat it too."

Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz

“From the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller ‘The Second Machine Age,’ a compelling argument—masterfully researched and brilliantly articulated—that we have at last learned how to increase human prosperity while treading more lightly on our planet.”

Amazon

Praise for “Machine Platform Crowd”

“For an astute romp through important digital trends, ‘Machine | Platform | Crowd’ is hard to beat. ”

The Economist

“A clear and crisply written account of machine intelligence, big data and the sharing economy. But McAfee and Brynjolfsson also wisely acknowledge the limitations of their futurology and avoid over-simplification.”

Financial Times

“A book for managers whose companies sit well back from the edge and who would like a digestible introduction to technology trends that may not have reached their doorstep―yet.”

Wall Street Journal

“The story is warmly and richly told.… This book is in many senses a primer, a thorough grounding for the digital warrior in the driving forces of the 21st-century economy.”

Times Higher Education

“Even Silicon Valley is surprised by the speed and scope of change today. The best way to stay on top of it is to understand the principles that will endure even as so much gets disrupted. This book is the best explanation of those principles out there.”

Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and former executive chairman of Alphabet Inc.

“The digital revolution we’re entering can be unsettling, but McAfee and Brynjolfsson show how these incredibly powerful technologies will make our choices more important than ever. ‘Machine | Platform | Crowd’ is a road map for leaders to make wise choices as they navigate this new world.”

Arianna Huffington, former president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, author of Thrive and The Sleep Revolution

Praise for “The Second Machine Age”

“A New York Times Bestseller. A ‘fascinating’ look at how digital technology is transforming our work and our lives.”

Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times

“Erik and Andy have lived on the cutting edge, and now, with this book, they are taking us there with them. A brilliant look at the future that technology is bringing to our economic and social lives. Read ‘The Second Machine Age’ if you want to prepare yourself and your children for the world of work ahead.”

Zoë Baird, president, Markle Foundation

“’The Second Machine Age’ offers important insights into how digital technologies are transforming our economy, a process that has only just begun. Erik and Andrew’s thesis: As massive technological innovation radically reshapes our world, we need to develop new business models, new technologies, and new policies that amplify our human capabilities, so every person can stay economically viable in an age of increasing automation. I couldn’t agree more.”

Reid Hoffman, co-founder/chairman of LinkedIn and co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Start-up of You