The Second Machine Age - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

The Second Machine Age

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

More than 100 years ago, the first Machine Age gave to society the high-speed printing press, the assembly line, and reliable long-distance travel via the steam engine. Friday, in a very hip Midtown Manhattan event space, 500 of the smartest people M.I.T. could offer gathered to discuss the coming of the second Machine Age and the danger it poses to mankind.

"I don't get asked too many questions about the Terminator thing," said Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a visiting lecturer in information technology at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.

"You know, I get a little bit tired of it because whether or not that's a threat that we're ever going to face -- maybe it is, maybe it isn't -- it's not the threat that we're going to face now," M.I.T.'s Andrew McAfee said.

McAfee spoke at "M.I.T. and the Digital Economy: The Second Machine Age" because he serves as co-director of the M.I.T. Initiative on the Digital Economy and he co-authored the best-selling book "The Second Machine Age."

"Technology is racing ahead and that's fantastic," he said. "But in some important ways, it's leaving a lot of people behind."

While the first Machine Age brought about developments in physical power that mostly complemented humans, minds like McAfee's worry today's innovations -- with their focus on mental power -- could replace us.

"There's also a set of economic challenges that come up relating to the classic middle-class, median, American worker to have a good meaningful job that pays a wage that can support a family," McAfee said.

So a roomful of M.I.T. degrees (and then some), tweed jackets, and throbbing brains gathered off Broadway to discuss how to harness these machines we created, which continue to improve upon human jobs and human skills.

"We don't know what this new digital economy will be all about," Wladawsky-Berger said.

"Our idea is: we ought to think about that now and come up with ways to fix it and make it better," said Sandy Pentland, professor of media, arts and sciences at M.I.T.

All in attendance expected private entrepreneurship to play a large role in any solution mankind discovers, but what exactly that free enterprise would produce no one at the forum knew.

As for the rise of any SkyNet set on exterminating the human race?

"That is good science fiction," Wladawsky-Berger said, "but the complexity is not science fiction."

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Smoking rates on the rise in New York City

    Smoking rates on the rise in New York City

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:03 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:03:52 GMT
    For the first time in years, more than 1 million New Yorkers are smoking, marking a disturbing rise of tobacco use in the city that pioneered a number of anti-smoking initiatives that were emulated nationally.  Sixteen percent of adult New Yorkers smoked in 2013, up from 14 percent in 2010, which was the city's lowest recorded rate, according to the findings released by New York City's Department of Health.
    For the first time in years, more than 1 million New Yorkers are smoking, marking a disturbing rise of tobacco use in the city that pioneered a number of anti-smoking initiatives that were emulated nationally.  Sixteen percent of adult New Yorkers smoked in 2013, up from 14 percent in 2010, which was the city's lowest recorded rate, according to the findings released by New York City's Department of Health.
  • Report: health risks at some nail salons

    Report: health risks at some nail salons

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:28 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:28:27 GMT
    One of the most surprising findings in a report from the New York City public advocate is that city officials have virtually no authority over how nail salons are run. The city can't enforce standards like they do with restaurants, so it's clearly a case of beauty buyer beware. We get our nails done without thinking too much about it.
    One of the most surprising findings in a report from the New York City public advocate is that city officials have virtually no authority over how nail salons are run. The city can't enforce standards like they do with restaurants, so it's clearly a case of beauty buyer beware. We get our nails done without thinking too much about it.
  • Etan Patz murder confession played in court

    Etan Patz murder confession played in court

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:43:37 GMT
    A judge allowed a confession tape to be played in court in connection with the case of Etan Patz, who vanished in 1979. On the tape, Pedro Hernandez described how he killed Patz. But his lawyers say Hernandez falsely confessed and doesn't understand his rights. Before Hernandez's videotaped confession was played, Patz's mother quickly left the courtroom unable to watch the video.
    A judge allowed a confession tape to be played in court in connection with the case of Etan Patz, who vanished in 1979. On the tape, Pedro Hernandez described how he killed Patz. But his lawyers say Hernandez falsely confessed and doesn't understand his rights. Before Hernandez's videotaped confession was played, Patz's mother quickly left the courtroom unable to watch the video.
Powered by WorldNow

KDFW FOX 4
400 N. Griffin Street
Dallas, Texas 75202

Main Station Directory:
(214) 720-4444
News Fax:
(214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices