Project | October 16, 2023

MIT Automation Clinic

The Automation Clinic is an applied research and education program to understand how organizations make new technologies work in practice. MIT researchers and their partners work with organizations to learn the problems they aim to solve with new technologies, the challenges they face in deploying them, and the consequences for their workers, customers, and society. The aim is to train engineers and managers in what we call “positive-sum automation,” or technology that improves productivity for organizations while also increasing flexibility for workers.

In 2022, the clinic launched in New England and has since developed partnerships with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and studied automation projects at more than 20 industry participants. The Clinic is producing a series of digital case studies to teach the next generation of engineers and managers, as well as short documentaries illustrating the promise and challenges of automation. Episodes of 10-15 minutes will be published on YouTube and shared via MIT online channels.

The clinic aims to expand to other regions through partnerships with local organizations and universities. The regional partnership model will enable the clinic model to reach students and industry partners throughout the United States. These collaborations will help build a community of automation clinic researchers and industry partners, as well as a pool of public knowledge about the key factors for achieving positive-sum automation.

Program Goals

  1. Generate public knowledge about the uses and impact of automation technology
  2. Educate engineers-in-training about the challenges of technology implementation
  3. Discover new automation possibilities to motivate technology design and adoption