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General Session

Ajay Agrawal

Creative Destruction Lab and Author, Predictive Machines
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Named the engineer of a “Billion Dollar Breakout” by The Globe and Mail—Dr. Agrawal comes at AI’s potential from the perspective of economics. Advances in AI and machine learning mean profound opportunities for innovation and investment. As founder of U of T’s Creative Destruction Lab (the “Silicon Valley of the North”), Agrawal unpacks the full potential of AI and machine prediction, without spin or jargon. Report on Business Magazine has also named Agrawal to its “Power 50” list of the most influential Canadians to watch, calling him “a key contributor to Toronto’s emergence as a world-class technology ecosystem.” His first book, Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence is a must-read, sweeping guide—and practical toolkit—for anyone seeking to leverage the disruptive, transformative power of AI in the coming decades. It’s already been cited several times in The Economist and is on Bloomberg and Politico’s best summer reads lists, among others.  

Professor Agrawal and his co-authors also describe the “Simple Economics of Machine Intelligence” in the Harvard Business Review online, and were co-organizers of the research session on the Economics of Artificial Intelligence at the American Economics Association annual conference in Chicago. Agrawal is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, MA. 

As co-founder of NextAI, a not-for-profit, Agrawal helps young entrepreneurs and technologists explore new commercial opportunities that are a direct result of advances in AI He is also a co-founder of “Machine Learning and the Market for Intelligence,” an annual conference on the business of artificial intelligence. In addition, he is a co-founder of Kindred, a company that seeks to build machines with human-like intelligence.

Agrawal was awarded Professor of the Year by MBA classes at the Rotman School seven times, the Martin-Lang Award for Excellence in Teaching, and most recently the Distinguished Scholarly Contribution Award, among several other honours. He conducts research on the economics of artificial intelligence, science policy, entrepreneurial finance, and the geography of innovation. He serves on the editorial boards of multiple management and economics journals, and holds a Ph.D. in Strategy and Economics and an M.Eng./MBA from the University of British Columbia. He served as a Visiting Scholar at MIT, London Business School, and Harvard University, as well as a Visiting Professor at Standford.

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