Learn More About Thomas Malone
Add the word “supermind” to your lexicon. The concept of war between humanity and machines has a long history in the popular imagination, and more recently, it has migrated from the realm of science fiction to public debate about the near future. Some technologists argue AI is in danger of first taking our jobs, then developing its own humanoid consciousness and ultimately, destroying us. Thomas Malone, one of the world’s foremost experts on how humans and computers work together, argues that this narrative overlooks the huge opportunities for our mutually beneficial relationship with machines. Rather than displacing us, computers can make human groups smarter, not just with artificial intelligence, but perhaps even more importantly with hyperconnectivity: connecting humans to one another at massive scales and in rich new ways.
Using AI and hyperconnectivity to increase our intelligence is the latest example of an age-old concept Malone has uniquely chronicled: the combination of people (and sometimes machines) to create “superminds,” the driving force of progress throughout history. The supermind of the future will be a merger between humans and computers, and organizations of all kinds will need to develop strategies to seamlessly integrate human and technological capital.
Founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and author of the recently published book “Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together” (Little, Brown & Company, May 2018), Malone is an authority on designing organizational strategies to optimize the opportunities of human-computer partnerships. Also a professor of information technology and of work and organizational studies, he focuses on how computers can help organizations make better strategic decisions and manage their human resources and business processes more effectively. This research builds on Malone’s earlier work on organizational design and the future of work, notably “The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style, and Your Life” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2004). Malone has advocated a “bottom-up” style of management, which has been used by companies such as Zappos, in keeping with his findings on the power of collective intelligence and decision-making. In recent years, Malone has extended this concept to the rise of AI and the opportunities to expand the scope and power of superminds beyond anything ever before seen.
Malone, a professor at MIT Sloan’s School of Management, is an eloquent and engaging speaker, and frequently presents to business audiences around the world. He has also been regularly quoted in various top-tier media outlets, including The New York Times, The Economist and WIRED. Formerly a research scientist at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Malone holds 11 patents, largely in user interface design and the representation of complex processes in software. He has co-founded four software companies, and has consulted and served as a board member for a number of other organizations. His background also includes a doctorate from Stanford University, an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich, and degrees in applied mathematics, engineering and psychology.
Thomas Malone 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®.