Humans, Technology, and the Future of Work

This course examines the impact that increasing technology use has on workforce productivity. Attendees can expect to, 1) grow their understanding of existing workforce performance limitations, 2) determine how technology can help circumvent these limitations, 3) grasp the productivity challenges technology poses, and 4) explore possible solutions for navigating these challenges in the complex Future of Work. Case studies examined will cut across industries and challenge participants to conceptualize how technological use may affect and be affected by the Future of Work. The course material is interdisciplinary, drawing on literature from psychology, economics, demography, law and ethics.

The way society thinks, works and communicates is being transformed by technology. This transformation has been beneficial. For example, firm productivity was often capped due to workforce performance limits. Firms could -– owing to ‘workforce frailties’– only do, so much. Technology now helps overcome these limits, empowering employees to be more productive. For firms, this ultimately means higher profits. But the widespread adoption of cutting edge technology also raises questions. For example, do we trust technology to much? Is it possible to rely on technology for work and still be good at work? Can workers be motivated to work if machines can perform that work more efficiently and safely? Where is the line between using technology to be more productive and being replaced by technology?  This course explores these questions, with a focus on human factors considerations that are relevant for the 21st century work environment.

Lead Instructor(s): 

Ashley Nunes


This course is planned to run in 2019

Course Length: 

3 Days

Course Fee: 





  • In development for 2019

Participant Takeaways: 

  • Understand the basics of workforce productivity limitations
  • Explain how these limitations may impact your organization’s ability to innovate
  • Translate these limitations into financial costs for firms
  • Determine of how technology can help overcome workforce limitations
  • Identify the unique challenges that technology use raises
  • Understand how these challenges may impact firm productivity

Who Should Attend: 

This course is designed for people in roles such as managers and mid-level and higher-level executives and a variety of areas such as product management, engineering, research, marketing, operations, finance, and strategy.

Computer requirements

Laptops or tablets are required for this course.

Program Outline: 

Day 1

  • Module 1: The Evolution of Work
  • Module 2: Fatigue & Workload
  • Module 3: Training, Experience & Aging
  • Module 4: Vigilance, Attention & Effort

Day 2

  • Module 5: Automation Misuse and Disuse
  • Module 6: Skill Degradation & Ethics
  • Module 7: Mode Error & Market Demands

Day 3

  • Module 8: Technology and Wages
  • Module 9: Job Polarization and Politics
  • Module 10: The Future of Work

This course consists of a mix of lectures and discussion/interaction between attendees. Exercises will also be incorporated to facilitate/test for an understanding of the course material.

Course Schedule: 

View draft schedule (pdf, subject to change)

This course runs 9:00 am - 4:00 pm each day.



This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please complete the Custom Programs request form for further details.


Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (30%) 30
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (40%) 40
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (30%) 30

Delivery Methods: 

Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (40%) 40
Discussions or Groupwork: Participatory learning (40%) 40
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (20%) 20


Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (50%) 50
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (50%) 50