Just A Thought

Author: Hunter Bratton

Dr. Timothy Carone is an associate professor in the Department of Information Technology, Analytics, and Operations (ITAO) at the Mendoza College of Business. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in physics from the University of Arizona. He has authored over 50 articles as well as the book “Future Automation: Changes to Lives and to Businesses.”

Prior to teaching, what industry did you work in and why did you make the change to teaching?

I got my Ph.D. in physics, [with a speciality in] astrophysics. I taught at the University of Arizona and the University of California, Berkeley. I then went into consulting where I did occasional teaching to clients of new technologies or business strategies. I did a lot of work in analytics and AI over the years. Once the topic became an important business topic, universities started hiring people to teach it. The new program at Notre Dame was looking for people to teach, and I applied because I wanted to start teaching again and got a job.

What research project are you currently working on and why?

A research project we are working on is to determine if it is possible for an autonomous vehicle to own itself. We are examining the business model for Uber and Lyft to use as a starting point, and then we’ll begin to look at different cases for using autonomous vehicles in ways not heretofore used by Uber and Lyft. A new business model for an autonomous vehicle will be developed with self-ownership implemented. I am also involved in a research project on the fifth industrial revolution with EY Americas Tax Talent Leader Martin Fiore. The fifth industrial revolution is about the merger of humans and technology. The distance between “Gutenberg moments” [events which transform how information and ideas are expressed and shared] is getting shorter and shorter. Thirty years ago we worked with computers, 15 years ago we began working alongside them and in the fifth IR, we will be physically fused with them.

What do you think will be the impact of technology on the business world in the years to come?

The very meaning of what it means to be human is at stake. Throughout the millennia, humanness was defined by what separated us from — and elevated us above — other mammals. This evolution is about inorganic distinctions with machines possibly gaining an intellectual edge. What happens to attributes and attitudes normally associated with what it means to be human or be a company? As we transition from a period in which we began to work collaboratively with intelligent automation and artificial intelligence to an era in which new technologies will actually be part of us, in us and have decision-making capabilities, there will be an impact on ethical, legal and quality issues.