To the members of the MIT community:
Last November, President Reif issued a call to action for the world — especially MIT:
“Automation will transform our work, our lives, our society. Whether the outcome is inclusive or exclusive, fair or laissez-faire, is up to us. Getting this right is among the most important and inspiring challenges of our time — and it should be a priority for everyone who hopes to enjoy the benefits of a society that’s healthy and stable, because it offers opportunity for all. In this work, those of us leading and benefiting from the technology revolution must help lead the way.”
Today, I am pleased to announce the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future.
With a team of more than 20 researchers, this new effort capitalizes on the distinctive strengths of the MIT community, bringing together pioneering technologists of every stripe with world-class experts in labor economics, political science, history, anthropology, urban planning, management and the science of how people learn. As we have invited faculty to join the Task Force, the response has been overwhelming; this societal challenge is attracting a remarkable team. A list of members appears at the foot of this letter.
Task Force members will work with outside leaders from across the country and around the world who represent industry, government, labor, education and the nonprofit sector, as well as with representatives from regions across the nation, including those that have been hardest hit by technological transformation. Together, they will tackle three questions:
How are emerging technologies transforming the nature of human work and the skills that enable people to thrive in the digital economy?
How can we shape and catalyze technological innovation to complement and augment human potential?
And how can our civic institutions — existing and new — ensure that the gains from these emerging innovations contribute to equality of opportunity, social inclusion and shared prosperity?
Researchers across MIT work every day to shape technologies that will shape the work of tomorrow, from robotics, machine learning and 3-D printing to augmented reality. Also of great relevance is the MIT Intelligence Quest, our newly announced effort to explore the frontiers and intersections of human and machine intelligence and to speed the development of customized AI tools that will advance research in every domain.