Learning to Race With (Not Against) Our Increasingly Smart Machines

Jun 10, 2016 1:13 pm ET Earlier this year Google’s AlphaGo defeated one of the world’s top Go players. AI-based machines can now play championship-level Go, assist in the diagnosis and treatment of rare forms of cancer, and navigate our roads as self-driving cars, encroaching into activities that not long ago were viewed as the exclusive domain of humans. “Brilliant technologies can now decide, learn, predict, and even comprehend much faster and more accurately than the human brain, and their progress is accelerating,” write  Tom Davenport, Babson College professor, and HBR editor Julia Kirby, in their recently published book, Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines. “Where will this leave lawyers, nurses, teachers, and editors?” To help answer that question, I attended recently the annual conference of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy. The day-long conference featured a number of interesting talks on…

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