Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
It's Fall Membership time! Make your donation today to support the musical programming you love year-round.

Machine Over Mind In A New Economy

Robots moving deeper into the American workplace—how much decision-making will we turn over to machines?

For all the change that has come with the digital revolution – in the ways we work and communicate and do business – the real impact still lies ahead. Computers – machines themselves – are become smarter all the time. That intelligence is being wired into real world action. That’s overturning giant companies. It’s moving in on what we thought only humans could do. Andrew McAfee and Eric Brynjolfsson are on it. It’s exciting. And terrifying. This hour On Point: intelligent machines move in. — Tom Ashbrook


Andrew McAfee, co-author of the forthcoming “Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing our Digital Future.” Co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. (@amcafee)

Erik Brynjolfsson, co-author of the forthcoming “Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing our Digital Future.” Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business. (@erikbryn)

From Tom’s Reading List

Financial Times: When artificial intelligence is bad news for the boss — “The first — and strongest — part of the book deals with the impact of machine intelligence as it surreptitiously creeps into ever more nooks in our lives. By 2015 Google had already applied ‘deep learning’ technology to 1,200 projects across the company. We are rapidly moving towards what Marc Benioff, chief executive of the cloud computing company Salesforce, calls an ‘AI-first world.'”

CSO: AI: The promise and the peril — “Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to be truck drivers. Or pretty much anything that a machine or a robot could do, if you want them to have a job. The list of those things will continue to get longer – in some cases rapidly – extending well beyond the assembly line on a factory floor. The forecast is not all gloomy – artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and automation are also expected to create jobs that will likely be much more interesting and creative than the repetitive tasks of the industrial age.”

ProPublica: Machine Bias — “If computers could accurately predict which defendants were likely to commit new crimes, the criminal justice system could be fairer and more selective about who is incarcerated and for how long. The trick, of course, is to make sure the computer gets it right. If it’s wrong in one direction, a dangerous criminal could go free. If it’s wrong in another direction, it could result in someone unfairly receiving a harsher sentence or waiting longer for parole than is appropriate.”

Read An Excerpt From “Machine, Platform, Crowd”


Excerpted from MACHINE, PLATFORM, CROWD: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson Copyright © 2017 Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

(Negative Space via Pexels)
(Negative Space via Pexels)