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.”
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®.
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