What is the Work of the Future?

Friday, November 30, 2018 - 12:00pm
Great Hall (2nd Floor), Old Chapel

Despite a century of remarkable labor-saving automation, the fraction of U.S. adults who work at a job has risen almost continuously for the past 130 years. Why hasn’t automation already made our labor redundant and our skills obsolete? And is it about to do so this time? In this talk, MIT Economist David Autor will address the paradox of why advancing automation has tended to raise rather than lower employment, highlighting that even as machines displace rote human activity, they simultaneously complement human expertise, judgment, and creativity. 

David Autor, one of the leading labor economists in the world and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a professor and associate department head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Economics. He is also a faculty research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and editor in chief of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. His current fields of specialization include human capital and earnings inequality, labor market impacts of technological change and globalization, disability insurance and labor supply, and temporary help and other intermediated work arrangements. Autor received a BA in psychology from Tufts University and a PhD in public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

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