Faculty & Leadership Blog / Faculty in the News

Professor Davenport Speaks About Impact of Automation on Human Labor

“Human history has been said to develop along a continuum of evolutionary achievements,” according to the Legal Executive Institute announcement. “From the invention of the cotton gin to the industrial revolution, human beings continuously leverage machines to better perform menial or dangerous tasks in their daily routine.

Professor Tom Davenport

Professor Tom Davenport


Tom Davenport, President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, describes that relationship as hallmarks of the first two “eras” of automation. According to Prof. Davenport, the rise of “intelligent machines” in the 21st century — from airfare pricing to IBM’s Watson — has represented a significant step forward in the capability of machines to make actual decisions in a far more reliable and efficient manner than their creators. Of course, this fact has been seized upon by alarmists who deem such evolution as a threat to the human workforce.

Thomson Reuters is pleased to welcome Prof. Davenport for a provocative keynote address on how the so-termed “Era Three” of technological automation is truly poised to impact human labor for years to come. Prof. Davenport will speak on June 15 at Legal Executive Institute’s 6th Annual Law Firm CFO/CIO/COO Forum in New York City.

The author or editor of 18 books and more than 100 articles for Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, Prof. Davenport will dispel the hyperbole surrounding cognitive machines and reframe the conversation around how best to approach and embrace artificial intelligence.”