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Carl Benedikt Frey

speaker location icon U.K.

Founding Director, Future of Work Programme, Oxford Martin School, Oxford University

Op-ed Contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Scientific American

Author of 'The Technology Trap, Capital, Labor and Power in the Age of Automation'

“Will machines equipped with artificial intelligence render the human race redundant? Is work as we know it about to be terminated? When we try to think about plausible futures, history is a better guide than science fiction. In this important new work of applied history, Oxford economic historian Carl Benedikt Frey draws on the experience of the first and second industrial revolutions, as well as the first computer revolution, to offer answers to some of the burning questions of our time. His key point — that technological disruption of the labor market is usually painful in the short run, whatever the long-run benefits of innovation — is of vital importance to voters and policy-makers alike.”
– Niall Ferguson, Hoover Institution, Stanford, author of The Ascent of Money

Carl Benedikt Frey is Oxford Martin Citi Fellow at Oxford University where he directs the programme on the Future of Work at the Oxford Martin School.

After studying economics, history and management at Lund University, Frey completed his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in 2011. He subsequently joined the Oxford Martin School where he founded the programme on the Future of Work with support from Citigroup. Between 2012 and 2014, he was teaching at the Department of Economic History at Lund University.

In 2012, Frey became an Economics Associate of Nuffield College and Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, both University of Oxford. He remains a Senior Fellow of the Department of Economic History at Lund University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). In 2019, he joined the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the New Economic Agenda, as well as the Bretton Woods Committee. And in 2020, he became a member of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) – a multistakeholder initiative to guide the responsible development and use of AI, hosted by the OECD.

In 2013, Frey co-authored “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization”, estimating that 47% of jobs are at risk of automation. With over 5000 academic citations, the study’s methodology has been used by President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, the Bank of England, the World Bank, as well as a popular risk-prediction tool by the BBC. In 2019, the paper was debated on the Last Week Tonight Show with John Oliver.

Frey has served as an advisor and consultant to international organisations, think tanks, government and business, including the G20, the OECD, the European Commission, the United Nations, and several Fortune 500 companies. He is also an op-ed contributor to the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Scientific American, and the Wall Street Journal, where he has written on the economics of artificial intelligence, the history of technology, and the future of work.

His academic work has featured in over 100 media outlets, including The Economist, Bloomberg, The Guardian, New York Times, Time Magazine, Le Monde, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In addition, he has frequently appeared international broadcast media such as CNN, BBC, PBS News Hour, Al Jazeera, and Sky News.

His most recent book, The Technology Trap, was selected a Financial Times Best Books of the Year in 2019.


The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor and Power in the Age of Automation

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