The Human-Machine Partnership by Erik Brynjolfsson + Rana el Kaliouby

At the Dell Technologies World 2019, we were lucky enough to snag a seat at the talk by MIT Professor Erik Brynjolfsson; and MIT alumni and Affectiva CEO, Rana el Kaliouby, on human-machine partnership.

We managed to record the incredibly insightful session for everyone who could not make it for this exclusive guru session. This is a video you must not miss!


The DTW 2019 Guru Sessions

One of the best reasons to attend Dell Technologies World 2019 are the guru sessions. If you are lucky enough to reserve a seat, you will have the opportunity to listen to some of the world’s most brilliant thinkers and doers.


The Human-Machine Partnership

The talk on human-machine partnership by Professor Brynjolfsson and Ms. Rana was the first of several guru sessions at Dell Technologies World 2019.

Entitled “How Emerging Technologies & Human Machine Partnerships Will Transform the Economy“, it focused on how technology changed human society, and what the burgeoning efforts in artificial intelligence will mean for humanity.

Here are the key points from their guru session on the human-machine partnership :

Erik Brynjolfsson (00:05 to 22:05) on the Human-Machine Partnership

  • You cannot replace old technologies with new technologies, without rethinking the organisation or institution.
  • We are now undergoing a triple revolution
    – a rebalancing of mind and machine through Big Data and Artificial Intelligence
    – a shift from products to (digital) platforms
    – a shift from the core to crowd-based decision making
  • Shifting to data-driven decision-making based on Big Data results in higher productivity and greater profitability.
  • Since 2015, computers can now recognise objects better than humans, thanks to rapid advances in machine learning.
  • Even machine-based speech recognition has become as accurate as humans from 2017 onwards.
  • While new AI capabilities are opening up new possibilities in many fields, they are also drastically reducing or eliminating the need for humans.
  • Unlike platforms of the past, the new digital networks leverage “two-sided networks“. In many cases, one network is used to subsidise the other network, or make it free-to-use.
  • Shifting to crowd-based decision-making introduces diversity in the ways of thinking, gaining new perspectives and breakthroughs in problem-solving.
  • Digital innovations have greatly expanded the economy, but it doesn’t mean that everyone will benefit. In fact, there has been a great decoupling between the productivity and median income of the American worker in the past few decades.

Rana el Kaliouby (22:08 to 45:05) on the Human-Machine Partnership

  • Human communication is mostly conveyed indirectly – 93% is non-verbal. Half of that are facial expression and gestures, the other half is vocal intonation.
  • Affectiva has the world’s largest emotion repository, with 5 billion frames of 8 million faces from 87 countries.
  • Facial expressions are largely universal, but there is a need diversity of their data to avoid bias in their models. For example, there are gender differences that vary by culture.
  • They use computer vision, machine learning and deep learning to create an Emotional AI model that learns from all those facial expressions to accurately determine a person’s emotions.
  • Emotional artificial intelligence has many real-world or potential uses
    – detecting dangerous driving, allowing for proactive measures to be taken
    – personalising the ride in a future robot-taxi or autonomous car
    – the creation of more engaging and effective social robots in retail and hospitality industries
    – help autistic children understand how facial expressions correspond to emotions, and learn social cues.


Erik Brynjolfsson + Rana el Kaliouby

Professor Erik Brynjolfsson holds many hats. He is currently :

  • Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management,
  • Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy,
  • Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, and
  • Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research

Rana el Kaliouby was formerly a computer scientist at MIT, helping to form their Autism & Communication Technology Initiative. She currently serves as CEO of Affectiva, a spin-off from MIT’s Media Lab that focuses on emotion recognition technology.


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