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Event to Explore the ‘Future of Work’

Northwestern faculty panel will discuss how technology continually changes the workplace

Technology has dramatically changed the way we work: it automates processes, collects and organizes information, and makes global communication nearly immediate. By opening new industries and shuttering traditional strongholds, technology continually redefines what it means to “work” in the world today.

To explore how innovation and technology will continue to change the workplace, the McCormick School of Engineering will host an afternoon conversation called “The Future of Work.” Moderated by McCormick Dean Julio M. Ottino, faculty members from different backgrounds will discuss the pace of innovation, advances in robotics and artificial intelligence, and predictions for the future.

The event will take place from 4 to 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, October 29 in the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center on the Chicago campus.

Cosponsored by the Chicago Council on Science and Technology, the event is free and open to the public. Speakers include:

  • Larry Birnbaum, the chief scientific adviser of Narrative Science, a company that turns data into actionable stories and insights, and professor of computer science and journalism at Northwestern. His research is focused on natural language processing, intelligent information systems, and human-computer interaction. Birnbaum received his BS and PhD from Yale University, where he served as a faculty member in computer science before joining Northwestern.
  • Kristian Hammond, co-founder and chief scientist of Narrative Science and professor of computer science and journalism at Northwestern. Prior to joining the faculty at Northwestern, he founded the University of Chicago’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His research has been primarily focused on artificial intelligence, machine-generated content, and context-driven information systems. He received his PhD from Yale University.
  • Malcolm MacIver, an associate professor of mechanical and of biomedical engineering at Northwestern, where he pioneered the development of a new sensor inspired by the ability of certain fish to sense using a self-generated electric field and highly maneuverable propulsion systems based on fish locomotion. He has developed science-inspired interactive art installations that have been exhibited internationally and has served as science adviser for several science fiction television series and movies, including Caprica, Tron: Legacy, Superman, and Man of Steel.
  • Joel Mokyr, the Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences and professor of economics and history at Northwestern and the Sackler Professor (by special appointment) at the Eitan Berglas School of Economics at the University of Tel Aviv. He specializes in economic history and the economics of technological and population change. He has authored more than 80 articles and books, including his most recent book The Enlightened Economy, published by Yale University Press and Penguin in 2009. He serves as editor in chief of the Princeton University Press book series, Economic History of the Western World, and is a director of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He received his PhD from Yale University.