The Second Machine Age - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

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>>

  • Police: 5 suspects wanted in Central Park attack

    Police: 5 suspects wanted in Central Park attack

    Saturday, August 23 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-08-23 16:27:52 GMT
    Police are looking for five suspects in a Central Park pellet attack they're investigating as a hate crime.
    Police are looking for five suspects in a Central Park pellet attack they're investigating as a hate crime.
  • Almost all NYC pre-K centers ready

    Almost all NYC pre-K centers ready

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:48 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:48:37 GMT
    Nearly all 1,100 facilities providing services in the city's new universal pre-kindergarten program are ready to open on time after passing health and safety inspections. City officials said Friday they expect the eight remaining pre-K schools to remedy violations by Sept. 4's opening day. If they don't, affected children will be temporarily enrolled in other facilities.
    Nearly all 1,100 facilities providing services in the city's new universal pre-kindergarten program are ready to open on time after passing health and safety inspections. City officials said Friday they expect the eight remaining pre-K schools to remedy violations by Sept. 4's opening day. If they don't, affected children will be temporarily enrolled in other facilities.
  • Mark David Chapman

    John Lennon's killer denied parole again

    John Lennon's killer denied parole again

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:10:09 GMT
    John Lennon's killer was denied release from prison in his eighth appearance before a parole board, New York corrections officials said Friday. The decision on Mark David Chapman by a three-member board came after a hearing Wednesday, the state Department of Corrections said. Chapman fired five shots on Dec. 8, 1980, outside the Dakota apartment house where Lennon lived on Manhattan's Upper West Side, hitting the ex-Beatle four times.
    John Lennon's killer was denied release from prison in his eighth appearance before a parole board, New York corrections officials said Friday. The decision on Mark David Chapman by a three-member board came after a hearing Wednesday, the state Department of Corrections said. Chapman fired five shots on Dec. 8, 1980, outside the Dakota apartment house where Lennon lived on Manhattan's Upper West Side, hitting the ex-Beatle four times.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

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