CM 052: Tom Davenport On Avoiding Obsolescence in an Automated Age

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest

Blog Post - Tom DavenportSmart machines are coming, so what are we doing about it?

Instead of cowering in fear, what if we took a proactive approach? What if there were a playbook we could use to anticipate and thrive in an increasingly automated world?

In his book, Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines, Thomas Davenport, offers ways to accomplish that goal. His book is a guide for employees and students who want to know what they can do to work successfully with smart machines.

Tom is a Professor in Management and Information Technology at Babson College and co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics. He is also a Fellow of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and a Senior Advisor to Deloitte Analytics. He teaches analytics and big data at Babson, Harvard, MIT, and Boston University and has written over 17 books

In this interview, we talk about:

  • What the number of bank tellers working today can tell us about smart machines
  • 10 reasons to look over your shoulder for smart machines in your own work
  • What separates humans from machines
  • The 4 markers of machine smartness and which one we are living now
  • Why employers should aim for augmentation vs automation wherever possible
  • How smart machines can liberate us to do more creative and valuable work
  • Augmentation at its best in freestyle chess
  • How we can step in with machines in the workplace
  • Why we would want to step up with machines in the workplace
  • What it looks like to step forward with machines in the workplace
  • How we might step aside with machines in the workplace
  • How some are stepping narrowly with machines in the workplace
  • Why every organization needs an Automation Leader
  • Why we need to get past STEM as the only solution
  • The important role organizations play in providing professional learning
  • Why Tom argues against universal basic income
  • How companies can be more resilient in a digital age with increased competition
  • The fact that so few of our political leaders are talking about this big shift

Selected Links to Topics Mentioned


Oxford Study on The Future of Employment

Bricklaying Robots

Ex Machina

Freestyle chess

Former WaMu Risk Officer

Stretch by Karie Willyerd

2020 Workplace Report

If you enjoy the podcast, please rate and review it on iTunes. For automatic delivery of new episodes, be sure to subscribe. As always, thanks for listening!

Thank you to Emmy-award-winning Creative Director Vanida Vae for designing the Curious Minds logo, and thank you to Rob Mancabelli for all of his production expertise!



Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest