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The biggest tech story of our time? We’re entering the Age of Living Machines, where biology and engineering converge to create revolutionary technologies that will transform our world. Susan Hockfield—President Emerita of MIT and a leading voice in the STEM fields—is the preeminent speaker on this new “convergence.” These next-generation technologies, she persuasively argues, hold the promise to address some of the greatest humanitarian, medical, business, and environmental challenges we face.
“Physicists gave engineers the electron and they created the IT revolution. Biologists gave engineers the gene and together they will create the future.”— Susan Hockfield
A neuroscientist by training, Susan Hockfield is the first woman to lead MIT and is the author of the forthcoming book, The Age of Living Machines, a highly-readable magnum opus on the technological-biological revolution known as “convergence.” In the 20th Century, technologies such as aircraft, the telephone, and the Internet changed our world—to the point where life today is inconceivable without them. In the 21st Century, Hockfield says, radical new “convergence” technologies will play a similar role: to reshape every facet of our world. “Living Machines,” like virus-built batteries, big-data designed food crops, mind-reading bionic limbs, and countless other inventions are only a few of the practical developments she discusses. With an eye towards how they will affect various industries, from energy, to manufacturing, to health care, to agriculture, to virtually anything, Hockfield provides a first glance into the shape of the world to come.
Hockfield’s ground-breaking career has spanned America’s most prestigious schools. At Yale, she was Professor of Neurobiology and became the Dean of its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and then Provost. She joined MIT as its 16th president, and, under her presidency, the numbers of underrepresented minorities and women increased in the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty populations. Hockfield has also held the Marie Curie Visiting Professorship at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Hockfield has served as a U.S. Science Envoy to Turkey with the U.S. Department of State, and served as the inaugural co-chair of the White House-led Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a task force of government, industry, and academic leaders. Currently, she is a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Professor of Neuroscience at MIT.