Thomas H. Davenport

Thomas H. Davenport is Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, Visiting Professor at Oxford's Saïd Business School, Fellow of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, and Senior Advisor to Deloitte's AI practice. He is the author of The AI Advantage (MIT Press) and coauthor of Only Humans Need Apply and other books.

  • Working with AI

    Real Stories of Human-Machine Collaboration

    Thomas H. Davenport and Steven M. Miller

    Two management and technology experts show that AI is not a job destroyer, exploring worker-AI collaboration in real-world work settings.

    This book breaks through both the hype and the doom-and-gloom surrounding automation and the deployment of artificial intelligence-enabled—“smart”—systems at work. Management and technology experts Thomas Davenport and Steven Miller show that, contrary to widespread predictions, prescriptions, and denunciations, AI is not primarily a job destroyer. Rather, AI changes the way we work—by taking over some tasks but not entire jobs, freeing people to do other, more important and more challenging work. By offering detailed, real-world case studies of AI-augmented jobs in settings that range from finance to the factory floor, Davenport and Miller also show that AI in the workplace is not the stuff of futuristic speculation. It is happening now to many companies and workers.

    These cases include a digital system for life insurance underwriting that analyzes applications and third-party data in real time, allowing human underwriters to focus on more complex cases; an intelligent telemedicine platform with a chat-based interface; a machine learning-system that identifies impending train maintenance issues by analyzing diesel fuel samples; and Flippy, a robotic assistant for fast food preparation. For each one, Davenport and Miller describe in detail the work context for the system, interviewing job incumbents, managers, and technology vendors. Short “insight” chapters draw out common themes and consider the implications of human collaboration with smart systems.

    • Hardcover $29.95
  • The AI Advantage

    The AI Advantage

    How to Put the Artificial Intelligence Revolution to Work

    Thomas H. Davenport

    Cutting through the hype, a practical guide to using artificial intelligence for business benefits and competitive advantage.

    In The AI Advantage, Thomas Davenport offers a guide to using artificial intelligence in business. He describes what technologies are available and how companies can use them for business benefits and competitive advantage. He cuts through the hype of the AI craze—remember when it seemed plausible that IBM's Watson could cure cancer?—to explain how businesses can put artificial intelligence to work now, in the real world. His key recommendation: don't go for the “moonshot” (curing cancer, or synthesizing all investment knowledge); look for the “low-hanging fruit” to make your company more efficient.

    Davenport explains that the business value AI offers is solid rather than sexy or splashy. AI will improve products and processes and make decisions better informed—important but largely invisible tasks. AI technologies won't replace human workers but augment their capabilities, with smart machines to work alongside smart people. AI can automate structured and repetitive work; provide extensive analysis of data through machine learning (“analytics on steroids”), and engage with customers and employees via chatbots and intelligent agents. Companies should experiment with these technologies and develop their own expertise.

    Davenport describes the major AI technologies and explains how they are being used, reports on the AI work done by large commercial enterprises like Amazon and Google, and outlines strategies and steps to becoming a cognitive corporation. This book provides an invaluable guide to the real-world future of business AI.

    A book in the Management on the Cutting Edge series, published in cooperation with MIT Sloan Management Review.

    • Hardcover $29.95
    • Paperback $19.95