Lowell Lecture

Mill Talk: Artificial Intelligence and the Next Industrial Revolution?

Date & Time

March 6, 2024 at 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.


Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation
Located in the Historic Francis Cabot Lowell Mill
Park in the Embassy Theatre Lot — GPS "42 Cooper Street, Waltham"
154 Moody Street Waltham, MA 02453
Driving Directions


Sam Ransbotham is a professor of analytics at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. He teaches “Analytics in Practice” and “Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.” Ransbotham served as a senior editor at Information Systems Research, associate editor at Management Science, and academic contributing editor at MIT Sloan Management Review. He co-hosts the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, available on all major platforms.

Ransbotham received a National Science Foundation Career Program award “in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education,” for his analytics-based research in security. He was also honored with an INFORMS ISS Sandra A. Slaughter Early Career Award, which recognizes “early-career individuals who are on a path towards making outstanding intellectual contributions to the information systems discipline.”

Ransbotham earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, an MBA, and a doctorate, all from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Before earning his doctorate, he founded a software company with a globally diverse client list including the United Nations IAEA (Vienna), FAO (Rome), WHO (Geneva), and WMO (London). Since 2015, he has been an editor for MIT SMR’s Big Ideas initiatives, including Artificial Intelligence and Business Strategy, and Competing With Data & Analytics.

Presenting Organization

Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation


Current Affairs


Bob Perry (director@charlesrivermuseum.org, 781-216-8723)

Do recent advances in artificial intelligence herald a new stage of human development? Or is the current AI fervor yet another technology hype?

Rapid advances in AI have captured considerable public interest. Like prior technology developments, we can increasingly replace human activity with machines. But while prior technology developments deeply affected physical labor, AI developments (particularly generative AI) encroach on what was previously an entirely human domain -- knowledge work. Machines now seem to be able to think and learn. With these developments, we may see liberation from routine tasks, standardization of processes, and a head start on human learning. But we may instead see unemployment from job displacement, bias at a massive scale, and a race to mediocrity.

“Has the machine in its last furious manifestation begun to eliminate workers faster than new tasks can be found for them?” Stuart Chase asked this topical question in his book, “Men and Machines” -- in 1929. While everyone seems to talk about artificial intelligence, we’ll talk about what people are really doing now and where they seem to be headed.

The discussion will build from a 10-year MIT Sloan Management Review research program and stories from the Me, Myself, and AI podcast. In particular, we’ll focus on the role of human agency in choosing how we use these exciting tool developments.