The Future of Work

The nature of work is undergoing an enormous transformation with unprecedented implications for humanity. Join Rice University faculty and other scholars from the fields of computer science, engineering, psychology, and sociology to examine these profound changes. 


“We are approaching a time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task … Society needs to confront this question before it is upon us:  If machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do?”

—Moshe Vardi, 2016

Work is inextricably interwoven with being human. The jobs we perform have a profound impact on our ability to survive, thrive and find meaning in life. The nature of work, however, is undergoing an enormous transformation with unprecedented implications for humanity. With advances in automation, robotics and deep learning, machines are becoming more capable than ever of tasks traditionally performed by humans. Rapid changes in technology are requiring people to regularly master new skills, including collaborating with machines. Educational and economic gaps continue to widen locally and globally, leaving some people even further behind and less prepared for these changes. Inspired by the 2016 international De Lange Conference “Humans, Machines and the Future of Work,” this course convenes Rice University faculty and other scholars from computer science, engineering, psychology, sociology and other fields to examine some of the sea changes in the nature of work. Join us to learn more about the technology behind these changes; how our technological choices reflect and affect what it means to be human; labor economics and technology; human-robot collaboration; workforce training for an unpredictable future; the insights Houston offers on addressing economic divides and how we can harness our uniquely human creativity to shape the future of work, life and humanity.


Section Instructor Format Schedule start datesort ascending
GHUM2800.F17.1 Future of Work Instructors On-campus 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, October 2, 2017

Instructor: Future of Work Instructors

Oct. 2. "Humans, Machines and Work: The Future is Now."
Moshe Vardi, Ph.D., Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering and Director, Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology, Department of Computer Science, Rice University

Oct. 9. "Lessons from History: The Impact of Shipping Containers on Labor and the Global Supply Chain."
E. Andrew Boyd, Ph.D., Contributor, Houston Public Media’s “Engines of Our Ingenuity” and Adjunct Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, the University of Houston

Oct. 23. "Human-Machine Collaboration and the Future of Work."
Eduardo Salas, Ph.D., Allyn R. & Gladys M. Cline Chair and Professor, Department of Psychology, Rice University

Oct. 30. "Understanding Automation: The Technology that Drives Automatic Cars."
Ashok Veeraraghavan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University

Nov. 6. "What are Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence?"
Richard Baraniuk, Ph.D., Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University and the Founder and Director of OpenStax College and Connexions

Nov. 13. "Prophetic City: Addressing Houston's Economic Divides in the Midst of a Technological Revolution."
Stephen Klineberg, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology; Founding Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University

Term: Fall 2017

Start Date: Oct. 02, 2017

End Date: Nov. 13, 2017

Schedule: 7-8:30 p.m.

Length: Six Mondays (no class Oct. 16)

Location: Rice campus

Fee: $200

Early Registration: $190 if registering by Sept. 18

Rice Alumni: $180

CEUs: 0.9

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