Of course, we did so much more than 10 things during the past year, but to capture all the highlights here—including the Lab’s groundbreaking research—would send you into a forever scroll. So we’ve whittled the list down to the top 10 things we did during the past year that helped advance the collective understanding of the digital economy.
1 / Essay
In Janurary, Lab Director Erik Brynjolfsson released “The Turing Trap: The Promise & Peril of Human-Like Artificial Intelligence,” in which he warns that “an excessive focus on developing and deploying human-like artificial intelligence can lead us into a trap.” The essay was later published in the spring issue of Daedalus, “AI & Society” (see #3 on our list) and served as the basis for our spring workshop.
The Turing Trap: A conversation with Erik Brynjolfsson on the promise and peril of human-like AI
Economists Pin More Blame on Tech for Rising Inequality
The New York Times
How to Solve AI’s Inequality Problem
MIT Technology Review
2 / Collaboration
In May of 2022, the ADP Research Institute paused its monthly ADP® National Employment Report in order to refine its methodology and design. Part of that evolution was teaming up with our data scientists to add new perspective and rigor to the report. The newly designed report, which launched in August, uses fine-grained, high-frequency data on jobs and wages to deliver a richer and more useful analysis of the labor market.
3 / Publications
In the spring issue of Daedalus—from the Academy of Arts and Sciences—experts explored various angles of artificial intelligence, including its effects on labor and the economy, its role in law and governance, and what it says about us as humans. The issue, which was edited by James Manyika, featured several contributors from the Lab and Stanford HAI community.
4 / Report
As part of the California 100 initiative, researchers at the Lab and SIEPR examined where the Golden State has been, where it’s at, and where it’s headed when it comes to possible scenarios and policy alternatives for the future. The large-scale report, The Future of Work in California, examines several facets of the California labor market, including its polarized workforce and the erosion of its middle class.
5 / Fall conference
As humans continue to develop brilliant new applications of emerging technologies, such as web3, we need to reimagine how our society is organized so that data serves all communities. The speakers and panelists who participated in “Building the New Economy: Data as Capital,” a special Stanford Digital Economy Lab event as part of Stanford Digital Assets Week, explored the feasibility and implications of human-centered web3.
6 / Spring workshop
What will the workplace look like in 20 years with the rise of artificial intelligence and other digital technologies? Our daylong workshop, Avoiding the Turing Trap, featured interactive panel discussions and presentations by Lab-affiliated researchers showcasing their recent work. Erik Brynjolfsson opened the event by framing the opportunities and challenges of human-like AI. Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, closed the day with her keynote address, “AI’s People Problem.”
7 / Fall workshop
In October, the Lab brought together leaders from industry, civil society, and academia to discuss the promise and peril of decentralized digital architecture for our political and economic systems. In the workshop, Decentralized Society: Digitization, Democracy, and Civil Discourse, panelists explored key questions such as new governance strategies, privacy paradigms, business models, and content moderation systems.
8 / Research
While networking on digital platforms can lead to new job opportunities, a study published earlier this year, A Causal Test of the Strength of Weak Ties, suggests that the specific types of connections job-seekers make online matter in terms of their ability to secure new positions. The project, which was conducted by Erik Brynjolfsson (Stanford), Sinan Aral (MIT), Iavor Bojinov (Harvard), and two LinkedIn employees and recent Stanford and MIT Ph.D. graduates Karthik Rajkumar and Guillaume Saint-Jacques, involved more than 20 million LinkedIn members, who made 2 billion new ties and created 600,000 new jobs over a five-year period.
A Causal Test of the Strength of Weak Ties
Looking For a Job? Some LinkedIn Connections Matter More Than Others
Harvard Business Review
9 / Seminar Series
Throughout the year, the Lab welcomed researchers and experts from all over the world to share their work and insights to a larger, broader audience. You can watch (or re-watch) every one of our Seminar Series talks from the past year on our website and on our YouTube channel.
10 / Competition
The Lab, in collaboration with Stanford HAI and SIEPR, put out a call for student submissions during the summer for innovative policy analysis and solutions that leverage emerging technologies to create jobs. The Emerging Technology Policy Writing Competition awarded a total of $10,000 in prizes to three winning entries. The first place prize went to to Aniket Baksy and Avi Gupta for their policy suggestion, “Expanding AI Adoption is an Opportunity for Job Creation.”
And this also happened…
We welcomed several new faces this year to the Lab, including our first-ever visiting scholar, Sandy Pentland. Among those who also joined us in 2022 include Ruyu Chen, Gabriel Unger, Megan Deason, Andrew Wang, Anthony Weng, David Autor, Angela Chen, Christina Langer, and Ruhani Walia. Visit the team section of our site to view everyone who contributes to the Lab.
In June, Lab affiliated faculty member Susan Athey joined the Department of Justice as chief economist of the antitrust division.