The Second Machine Age
A new book by IDE leaders Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee explores the dramatic impact of the rapid advance of technology on work, progress, and the economy and draws on their years of research, as well as current data about the economy and society, to identify a path towards shared prosperity.
"Brynjolfsson and McAfee are right: we are on the cusp of a dramatically different world brought on by technology."
-Marc Andreessen, cofounder of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz
"How we build, use, and live with our digital creations will define our success as a civilization in the twenty-first century. Will our new technologies lift us all up or leave more and more of us behind?"
-Garry Kasparov, thirteenth World Chess Champion
Analyzing Our Digital World
The Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) is a major effort focused on the impact of digital technology on businesses, the
economy, and society. Drawing on MIT Sloan’s strengths in technology and
innovation, its internationally recognized faculty, and more than a
decade of research and partnership with MIT Sloan’s Center for Digital
Business, the IDE is analyzing the broad sociological changes brought
about by the advance and spread of digital technology.
While digital technologies are rapidly transforming both
business practices and
societies and are integral to the innovation-
driven economies of the future, they are also the core
driver of the great economic paradox of our time. On one hand,
productivity, wealth, and profits are each at record highs; on the other
hand, the median worker in America is poorer than in 1997, and fewer
people have jobs. Rapid advances in technology are creating
unprecedented benefits and efficiencies, but there is no economic law
that says everyone, or even a majority of people, will share in these
Technology is advancing quickly, but organizations and
skills advance slowly. What’s more, the gap between swiftly evolving
technology and the slower pace of human development will grow rapidly in
the coming decades, as exponential
improvements in artificial intelligence, robotics, networks,
analytics, and digitization affect more and more of the economy and
society. Inventing effective organizations and institutions for the
digital economy is the grand challenge for our time, and for MIT in