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Roy Bahat

Companies Are Firing the Wrong People

The wave of layoffs is a slow-rolling catastrophe, warn MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

They can’t do everything.

They can’t do everything.

Photographer: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The coronavirus crisis will transform the global economy in ways that are hard to anticipate. Consider, for example, automation: As executives face difficult decisions about what to do with their workforces, might they opt for more machines over humans? And what will be the longer-term effect on employment, business and overall prosperity?

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, both on the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spend a lot of their time thinking about such things. They have written three books together on how technologies such as artificial intelligence will change the nature of work and management. (Disclosure: They are also starting a consulting company, Second Machine Age Technologies.)