Agenda

Get ready for EmTech MIT with our pre-conference resources

Click the dates below to view the schedule by day. Sessions are listed in Eastern Time.
Subject to change as details are confirmed.

Day 1: The Digital Future (11:30 a.m. - 5:20 p.m.)
11:35 a.m.

Leadership requires innovation to succeed. On the most significant issues shaping the future, unpack what innovation must do, learn what to anticipate, and discover the technologies required to thrive and lead through the next 12-24 months. 

The Road to Cyber Resiliency (12:05 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.)

The destructive rise of ransomware has quantified the cost of cybersecurity and elevated cyber-resilience from an IT concern to an executive mandate. Learn how we can defend against infinite threats with finite resources.

12:05 p.m.

Go inside the war room to get a firsthand account of a cyberattack and what it’s like to discover your defenses have been breached and your data exposed. This first-person walkthrough prepares you for the technical, legal, and public-relations considerations to create your own response plan. 

12:35 p.m.

Before your defenses are breached, a strong cyber-resiliency plan is essential in protecting your infrastructure from attack. Understand the current attack vectors and what you can do to assess threats and implement preventive practices.

MIT Inside Track (1:00 p.m. - 1:40 p.m.)

Join the Inside Track sessions to engage more deeply with our content, speakers, and your fellow attendees during mainstage programming breaks.

1:00 p.m.
Networking Break
1:15 p.m.

Views differ on Bitcoin, but few doubt the transformative potential of blockchain technology. Blockchain can restore personal control over our data, assets, and identities; grant billions of excluded people access to the global economy; and shift the balance of power to revive society’s faith in itself.We reveal the implications for industries including finance, tech, legal, and shipping as decentralization disrupts the money world.

The Business of Blockchain (1:40 p.m. - 3:05 p.m.)

Digital value is changing the fundamental rules of business. Digital currencies, NFTs, and smart contracts are shifting power and creating new opportunities for those who understand their possibilities and potential.

1:40 p.m.

Digital currencies and contracts are growing in number and scope, powered by Bitcoin and Ethereum. As these technologies mature, new options such as Ada and Cardano are challenging the status quo. Understand the technical, social, business, and global implications of a world where digital contracts and currencies exponentially facilitate the trade capabilities of our current financial system.

2:10 p.m.

The democratization of financial systems has begun, as countries such as El Salvador and the Marshall Islands begin to implement national digital currencies. Learn the real-world business impact and the implications of an economy based on a digital dollar, and how decentralized finance offers efficiencies and opportunities to the masses.

Innovators Under 35 (2:35 p.m. - 3:05 p.m.)
2:35 p.m.

The convergence of cloud computing, technology at the edge, and other next-gen computing trends enable digital transformation at speed and scale. Move your organization forward with critical insights from emerging research-to-market solutions contributing to the digital revolution.

2:40 p.m.

Significant improvements in energy, efficiency, and speed are needed to transform AI. Memristor technology has that potential, though to date no one has been able to convert the theory into practice. Have we reached a new breakthrough that will accelerate AI at lower power? As featured in the 2021 Innovators Under 35.

2:55 p.m.

A low-cost global network of tiny satellites for internet-of-things devices can transform business, providing connectivity to the edge and from anywhere on the planet. As featured in the 2021 Innovators Under 35.

MIT Inside Track (3:05 p.m. - 3:40 p.m.)

Join the Inside Track sessions to engage more deeply with our content, speakers, and your fellow attendees during mainstage programming breaks.

3:05 p.m.
Networking Break
3:15 p.m.

To date, much of the work in robotics has focused on the mechanical engineering of physical movement. But as interactive technologies are applied in more social settings, it’s imperative that the technologies be socially engaging, and connect with humans.

Living on the Edge (3:40 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.)

Together, the cloud, edge computing, and 5G are altering what’s possible. Grasp the tangible benefits of real-world intelligent cloud computing and learn how it’s transforming business.

3:40 p.m.

More companies are starting to see the real benefits of cloud, which has been heralded as a catalyst for innovation and digital transformation. Across a range of industries, organizations have successfully implemented cloud to achieve impressive results. This discussion will explore best practices these companies follow and recent research that identifies the pools of value for adoption and drivers of that value.

4:05 p.m.

Robotics accelerate the supply chain by enabling warehouses and machinery to think, sense, and act. Learn how robotics at the edge moves AI from the cloud to independent devices.

4:30 p.m.

Internet-of-things sensors can provide 24/7 monitoring of facilities and locations, but the power they require is not always available in the locations where monitoring is required. Explore the latest advances in battery-free, low-maintenance devices that enable monitoring in previously unreachable areas.

5:00 p.m.

New hyper-accurate positioning technologies have brought the world into dramatically sharper focus than GPS with accuracies within a few millimeters, which opens new opportunities in the way we farm, transport goods, and navigate our world. As featured in the 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2021.

Last Call with the Editors (5:15 p.m. - 5:20 p.m.)

Before we send everyone home for the night, join our last call with all of our editors to get their analysis on the day’s topics, themes, and guests.

Day 2: Mind, Body, Work (11:30 a.m. - 5:20 p.m.)
AI as a Global Disruptor (11:35 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)

Artificial intelligence’s superhuman data processing capabilities have far-reaching implications. Unpack the oncoming effects on industry and society and explore the issues of ethics, inequity, and more that we’ll face as we strive to maintain control of algorithms that are controlling us.

11:35 a.m.

To date, every major milestone in AI has been achieved by deep learning, but whether this approach will lead us to artificial general intelligence remains to be seen. To have true AI, must we first understand the brain? This session explores a neuroscience-based approach to AI that may lead to true machine intelligence.

12:00 p.m.

We are all subject to AI, even if it’s faulty, beyond our control, and biased. Massive AI models are being developed, but how do we ensure fair systems are created? Whether you’re building your own AI or working with vendors, learn the essential elements of fair and equitable AI.

12:25 p.m.

More secure methods of processing and storing massive volumes of data for AI are needed to alleviate privacy concerns. Is federated learning the best option? Examine how distributed learning works for AI and the potential benefits and risks for your organization.

12:45 p.m.

AI robotics still struggle to match the skill level of a child. Human intelligence emerges from our combination of senses and language abilities; the same might be true for artificial intelligence. Is combining vision, audio, and language processing into a single AI system possible—and will it solve the problem? Explore the implications for AI and its potential use cases. As featured in the 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2021.

MIT Inside Track (1:00 p.m. - 1:40 p.m.)

Join the Inside Track sessions to engage more deeply with our content, speakers, and your fellow attendees during mainstage programming breaks.

1:00 p.m.
Networking Break
1:15 p.m.

Today with synthetic biology, we can assemble DNA for the purpose of modifying individual cells. But we’ve arrived at an age where it’s now possible to write DNA programs, analogous to writing to software, that impact cell information and behavior in a given sequence for even greater impact. We’ll talk about possibilities, limitations, and timelines for this amazing advancement.

AI as a Global Disruptor Cont'd (1:40 p.m. - 2:05 p.m.)

Artificial intelligence’s superhuman data processing capabilities have far-reaching implications. Unpack the oncoming effects on industry and society and explore the issues of ethics, inequity, and more that we’ll face as we strive to maintain control of algorithms that are controlling us.

1:40 p.m.

The high-stakes environment of intelligence and space is overflowing with data, where signals lurk in a sea of noise, best discoverable with AI. With no tolerance for error, engineering teams must drive trust and explainability in AI decisions so that human-machine teams, working in areas from synthetic biology to next-generation GPS, find the right solutions, every time, at speed.

Biotech and Biothreats (2:05 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.)

Pandemic shutdowns focused a spotlight on biotech. Glimpse advances from drug development to gene editing, and which ones will help us through the next crisis.

2:05 p.m.

Our global society has become hyper-aware of biological pathogens and threats. We investigate some of the current and recent threat types, dispelling myths and confirming facts, while considering what comes next in the way of prevention, detection, and response for the next bio threat on the horizon.

2:30 p.m.

Genetic therapeutics has advanced to the point where we can turn genes off and on without altering DNA. Innovations like CRISPRoff affect cutting-edge research on viruses and the fight against diseases and other genetic disorders. Explore the possibilities and questions on how to manage ethical concerns and unintended consequences.

Innovators Under 35 (2:50 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.)
2:50 p.m.

Innovation drives results and creates value, and it must be supported by vision, leadership, purpose, and a clear path to scale. The right ecosystem is essential. From accelerator labs to automation, dynamic process transformation is built on collective intelligence put toward a common objective: to achieve real digital transformation for employees, customers, partners, and suppliers alike.

2:55 p.m.

New advances in CRISPR platforms are pushing biotechnology to the next level of disease detection and treatment. What does that mean for reducing human intervention, increasing diagnostics, and scalability? As featured in the 2021 Innovators Under 35.

3:10 p.m.

Programmable, autonomous, microscopic robots are coming, and now they can move. These tiny bots have the potential to revolutionize engineering new materials, rid crops of pests, act as cellular-level surgeons, and more. Get an early look at this emerging tech. As featured in the 2021 Innovators Under 35.

MIT Inside Track (3:20 p.m. - 3:55 p.m.)

Join the Inside Track sessions to engage more deeply with our content, speakers, and your fellow attendees during mainstage programming breaks.

3:20 p.m.
Networking Break
3:30 p.m.

The ubiquitous computer mouse allows us to manipulate our 2D desktops. The jump to virtual worlds will require new tools to help us interact with 3D objects. Get an early look at the grasping technology called Bird.

Extending the Workplace (3:55 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.)

The events of 2020 forced us to reimagine the workplace. Explore extended reality (XR) technology projects, including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR), poised to change the way we work.

3:55 p.m.

Extended reality (XR) technologies are transforming workspaces. Bridging the virtual and physical worlds with AR/VR/MR enables immersive experiences for team collaboration, staff training, and customer experience. Get industry insight on how these technologies are impacting work and generating surprising results.

4:20 p.m.

Immersion technologies are estimated to become a $57 billion industry by 2027. Get a look under the hood at how these systems work, what kind of infrastructure is needed, and tips for integrating immersion tech into existing workflow systems.

4:40 p.m.

Extended reality tools are already being incorporated into standard business operations in enterprise-level systems. Industry experts walkthrough real-world applications in health care, training, and construction to demonstrate the value immersion technologies can bring to the workplace.

Last Call with the Editors (5:15 p.m. - 6:20 p.m.)

Before we send everyone home for the night, join our last call with all of our editors to get their analysis on the day’s topics, themes, and guests.

5:20 p.m.

Attendees and speakers are invited to attend our online EmTech MIT reception in virtual reality, which kicks off with a short talk on creating and navigating immersive spaces. Join us under the MIT Dome from your web browser or your VR headset as we mix and mingle in this unique networking session and hands on demo.

Day 3: Powering Our World (11:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
Ensuring Energy Resilience (11:35 a.m. - 1:05 p.m.)

From next-generation power grids to nuclear power and renewable energy, understanding the impact, scalability, and tradeoffs of different energy technologies is critical to powering our future.

11:35 a.m.

With energy demands increasing dramatically in India, we examine the critical steps that renewable energy companies need to take to compete and continue to grow. Learn how these lessons can apply to other regions and what it will take to reliably meet regional electricity needs when it matters most, while actively transitioning toward cleaner and smarter energy choices.

12:00 p.m.

Today’s carbon-based power sources won’t safely sustain our growing electricity needs as climate change accelerates. The path forward requires decarbonizing the grid as rapidly as possible. We take a deep dive into the technologies, policies, and strategies needed to keep the lights on as rising demands and shifting climate conditions put ever greater strains on our power grids. What choices will have the greatest impact in delivering the clean energy required to run our world?

12:45 p.m.

Hydrogen is energy-dense and burns cleanly, emitting no carbon dioxide. But until now, most hydrogen has been made from natural gas using a polluting and energy-intensive process. Get an early look at a transformational clean approach to producing hydrogen that has the potential to revolutionize the global energy sector. As featured in the 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2021.

MIT Inside Track (1:05 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.)

Join the Inside Track sessions to engage more deeply with our content, speakers, and your fellow attendees during mainstage programming breaks.

1:05 p.m.
Networking Break
1:20 p.m.

Creating scalable technology solutions in developing countries comes with its own unique constraints and opportunities. Gain insight into entrepreneurship in emerging economies including lessons in adapting existing technology and creating unique design assembly methods.

Countering Climate Change (1:45 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.)

As climate change marches on, the financial costs to businesses and nations are set to soar. Adopting climate-smart strategies will help to reduce risk while making a positive impact using the latest in green building technologies and more.

1:45 p.m.

Wildfires, heatwaves, and other extreme weather events are becoming more common and severe as the planet warms. Investigate the science behind climate change, how humans are influencing it, and what we can still do to address the rising dangers.

2:15 p.m.

The spaces where we live and work must adapt to the changing climate. Before investing in new spaces, discover how climate-smart innovations can boost our buildings’ efficiencies, including cooling, water recycling, and sustainable design.

Innovators Under 35 (2:50 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.)
2:50 p.m.

Awareness of the impending climate change challenges is growing in leadership circles, and the stakes are high. The imperative to integrate sustainability in business practices not only bolsters customer loyalty and attracts talent, it addresses climate change as an increasing risk to business as usual – worldwide.

2:55 p.m.

Cement production accounts for approximately 7% of the planet’s carbon emissions. Learn how electrochemical synthesis of cement can eliminate carbon emissions for concrete production. As featured in the 2021 Innovators Under 35.

3:10 p.m.

Emerging economies require an intense amount of power. What does it take to create a scalable system that delivers reliable power as needed, where needed, and when needed? As featured in the 2021 Innovators Under 35.

MIT Inside Track (3:20 p.m. - 3:55 p.m.)

Join the Inside Track sessions to engage more deeply with our content, speakers, and your fellow attendees during mainstage programming breaks.

3:20 p.m.
Networking Break
3:30 p.m.

Endless ecosystems is a framework for sustainable construction that combines design, digital fabrication, material development, and energy evaluation that uses 100% natural, recyclable materials. Inspired by nature, these modern materials and building practices bring the power and sustainability of the natural world to human systems.

Turning Innovation Into Action (3:55 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

Research and innovation are only a few steps to achieving impactful change. Assess unique leadership approaches to chart the course for implementation from the lab to the real world.

3:55 p.m.

The new era of autonomous vehicles is revolutionizing transportation. Take a deep dive into the process of changing an industry and reimagine the way we think about innovation, leadership, and design.

4:25 p.m.

The MIT Media Lab is the innovation center of MIT, bringing together researchers from across the globe to explore and develop new technologies that will transform the future of research as well as real-world applications. What are the issues, obstacles, and opportunities that will have the greatest impact on the world? Step with us into the lab where they lead with innovation.

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