Matt Beane is an Assistant Professor in the Technology Management Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Matt studies deviance in work involving machine intelligence – and specifically robotics. He asks when, where and how workers, organizations and even AI defy norms and rules in the 21st century. Matt has done extensive field research in settings such as robotic pick and pack work in fulfillment centers, robotic surgery, robotic materials transport, and robotic telepresence in healthcare, elder care and knowledge work.
Artificial intelligence and robotics are increasingly prevalent in business today and play an very important and positive role in how we work. But according to Matt Beane, there’s a catch: we’re handling these technologies in a way that threatens our ability to innovate and learn.
Beane is a leading social scientist who studies the relationship between humans and intelligent technologies. His research shows that as tools become more sophisticated, workers get fewer opportunities for on-the-job learning – the kind that involves practice, struggle and mentorship, the very kind necessary to leverage those sophisticated tools. This paradoxical problem as chronicled in his Harvard Business Review article, is leading workers, organizations and even AI itself to “operate in the shadows,” challenging rules and norms in pursuit of results. He helps leaders take advantage of AI’s capabilities while enhancing employee skills and the organization’s capacity for innovation.
A Digital Fellow with MIT’s Institute for the Digital Economy, Beane examines the implications of AI across different industries, from logistics and banking to production and healthcare. His intensive, boots-on-the-ground studies bring him side-by-side with leaders, technologists and workers on the cutting edge of robotics and AI deployments. It’s this type of deep field research that enables him to make insightful, surprising links between broad trends and the daily realities organizations face.