“I think we have a choice to make”
–Dr. Elisabeth Reynolds, MIT Task Force


Welcome to episode no. 71 of the Nancy Duffy Show! In this week’s interview, we discuss fatalism regarding views on the future of work and technology and the change of circumstances that many of us might be finding ourselves in as technology progresses. Are we overthinking things?

If you tell me we’ve been here before (in a space where automation threatens jobs and livelihoods), that’s true. ATMs did not replace all bank teller jobs, for instance, but rather, they changed what bank tellers do – although smaller communities were certainly affected as some locations were shut down in favour of others. But what is different this time around is the mass collection of data and the growing rate of artificial intelligence that is now feeding off of this data. To be clear, it is not merely the automation of simple tasks that I find uneasy but the replacement of work that requires the kind of thought that artificial intelligence is now learning… like how Sophia, the humanoid robot, is learning how to formulate relationships right down to the expression on her face.

Just over a year ago, MIT assembled a Task Force on Work of the Future “in an attempt to understand the relationships between emerging technologies and work and to explore strategies to enable a future of shared prosperity.” In light of their recently released 2019 Fall Report, we asked Dr. Elisabeth Reynolds, Executive Director of the MIT Task Force, to join us to talk about where we stand on the future of work and whether or not we should be optimistic or cautious about what lies ahead.

About Dr. Elisabeth Reynolds

Dr. Elisabeth Reynolds
Dr. Elisabeth Reynolds

Dr. Elisabeth Reynolds is the executive director of the MIT task force, as well as the MIT Industrial Performance Center. She is a Lecturer in Innovation and Economic Development and works on issues related to systems of innovation, regional economic development, and industrial competitiveness. Her current research focuses on the pathways that U.S. entrepreneurial firms take in scaling production-related technologies, as well as advanced manufacturing, including the globalization of the biomanufacturing industry.

Lis holds an MSc. from the University of Montreal in Economics and a Ph.D. from MIT in Urban and Regional Studies.

Jimmy Fallon Meets Sophia