Rodney Brooks, Founder, Chairman & CTO, Rethink Robotics
Andrew McAfee, Coauthor, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
in conversation with Jeff Howe, Contributing Editor, WIRED
Break: 3:30 - 4:00 pm EDT
Robotics legend Rodney Brooks cofounded iRobot Corporation—maker of the Roomba and the military PackBot—serving as CTO for nearly two decades. His latest venture, Rethink Robotics, aims to make robots ubiquitous in the workplace, with low-cost, easy-to-train droids that can work right alongside humans on the shop floor. The company’s first industrial bot, named Baxter, was recognized as one of the breakthrough inventions of 2013 by Technology Review. Born and raised in Australia, Brooks began his career as a research scientist at Carnegie Mellon and later taught at Stanford. In 1984 he joined the faculty of MIT, where he became the Panasonic Professor of Robotics and directed the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory from 1997 until 2007. Brooks costarred in the 1997 Errol Morris film Fast, Cheap & Out of Control—named after one of his scientific papers.
Jeff Howe is Contributing Editor for WIRED.
Andrew McAfee is a principal research scientist at MIT and cofounder of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. In his new best seller, The Second Machine Age, McAfee and coauthor Erik Brynjolfsson warn that we’re entering a wildly new era in human history. When the Industrial Revolution replaced manual labor with machines, people were still needed to run things; only a decade ago, pundits were telling us to become “knowledge workers” for job security. But with digital technology, the machines have now begun to take over those roles as well. This “second machine age” will change business and society in ways we can hardly imagine today. McAfee has written for Harvard Business Review, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. His previous books include Enterprise 2.0 and Race Against the Machine.
Andrew McAfee, co-author of The Second Machine Age, and Rodney Brooks, founder of Rethink Robotics, hypothesize how--for better or worse--robots will take jobs away from the middle class and aging Baby Boomers.