It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…
– Charles Dickens
Machine Learning. Artificial Intelligence. Autonomous Vehicles. Ever more capable machines are emerging from university laboratories and corporate R&D centers with the potential to transform our work, our play, and the fundamental fabric of our economy. These technologies bring with them both the promise of greater productivity and the fear of significant social disruption.
The Center for the Future of Work at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College is dedicated to careful scientific investigation of the impact of these emerging technologies on the ways in which workers at all skill levels will make their living in the 21st century. The Center investigates the impacts of disruptive innovation on the U.S. labor market, develops policy interventions that ensure the benefits of these innovations are more widely shared, and seeks to use today’s advanced technologies to address the social and economic needs of those currently being left behind.
Why Carnegie Mellon?
From humble roots as a trade school in America’s erstwhile steel capital, CMU has emerged as a global leader in the basic science upon which modern artificial intelligence and machine learning is based. The technologies of the future were pioneered here, are advancing here and will be continue to originate here. As the university has evolved, Carnegie Mellon has also attracted a critical mass of quantitative social scientists, an important complement to its technology innovators. And that means that CMU’s thought leaders have a unique vantage point from which to envision the social and economic consequences of disruptive innovation.
Carnegie Mellon is an uncommonly boundary-less academy, often eschewing traditional university department structures and creating new fields of science at the junction of disciplines. Art and Computer Science, Humanities and Statistics, Policy and Engineering, and so many more. And this means that CMU thought leaders have a uncommon opportunity to shape better consequences. Technologies that elevate the forgotten. Policy that inspires economic vitality.
Understanding the Future of Work as a discrete portfolio of new technologies or as a set of purely economic developments or only as a domain for ethical and philosophical inquiry would be incomplete. The Center brings together the inventors who understand the limits and possibilities of technology, the ethicists concerned with the dilemmas and incentives that will face individuals, the management scholars concerned with organizational responses and the economists concerned with social welfare and distribution. The Center approaches the uncertain and complex Future of Work with the very best thinking at a world-class research university. To shape a better tomorrow.