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Masdar Institute and MIT Faculty Awarded “Best Conference Paper” at International Conference on Information Systems 2014

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 10 February, 2015 – The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced that a paper co-authored by one of its UAE National faculty and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) faculty has won the prestigious International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) Award for ‘Best Conference Paper.’

Dr. Yousef AlHammadi, Assistant Professor, Engineering Systems and Management, Masdar Institute, co-authored the winning paper titled ‘Racing With and Against the Machine: Changes in Occupational Skill Composition in an Era of Rapid Technological Advance,’ with Dr. Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Dr. George Westerman (Research Scientist) and Frank MacCrory (MIT Post-doctoral Associate).

Examining rapid advances in digital technologies that have profound implications for employment, the paper finds a significant reduction in occupational skills that compete with machines, an increase in skills that complement machines, and an increase in skills where machines, so far, have not made great inroads. The group worked from 2006-2014 using comprehensive data on occupational skill requirements from 674 jobs to understand the effects of recent changes in automation.

The award was presented at ICIS 2014, the annual meeting of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) held in Auckland, New Zealand. Themed ‘Building a Better World through Information Systems,’ it was attended by over 1,200 members from around the world. The event included 60 sessions and 180 presentations, in addition to keynotes, chief information officer panels and research panels. The approximately 4,000 members of AIS represent universities spanning over 95 countries.

“Winning the Best Conference Paper award in Auckland at one of the leading global events for information systems with my MIT co-authors was a rare and fulfilling moment,” said Dr. AlHammadi. “The group’s combined effort was the primary reason for the outcome, which we hope will be useful in dealing with major social issues, such as an individual’s ‘employability.’ The digital world offers ever-increasing opportunities for research in similar areas that could be tapped for the benefit of an individual.”

Dr AlHammadi is currently an advisor for the Abu Dhabi government on Analytics and data science. At the time of the writing the paper, he was a visiting scholar at MIT Sloan Management School. Dr. AlHammadi is a member of the MIT Center for Digital Business, a research initiative that analyzes the business uses of the Internet and other digital technologies. His research explores how advancement in information technology contributes to business performance and organizational change and the effect of technology advancement and automation on employment and economy. Dr. AlHammadi’s research interests include the use of statistical tools, such as ‘Big Data,’ data mining and social networks, in decision- and policy-making.

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