Artificial intelligence enables Staples to automate ordering and customer service through its Easy Button. Staples Inc. is testing technology enabling business customers to order products by voice via its Easy Button. The office supplies retailer is applying machine learning technology to the button, allowing customers to press it to order or reorder a product by voice, or to ask common order-related questions, such as when an order will be delivered or the status of a return. The move is part of a big push by Staples Inc., No. 21 in the Internet Retailer 2016 B2B E-Commerce 300, to use machine learning to automate ordering and customer service, says Ryan Bartley, director of mobile for Staples. Machine learning refers to computer programs that teach themselves to grow and change when exposed to new data, without being programmed by an individual.
MIT has an established tradition of graduate education that combines engineering and management. A new master's program has developed a third component: the integrated design process and the power it brings to solving not just management and engineering problems but social problems as well. The Integrated Design and Management (IDM) Program is an outgrowth of the graduate course 15.783 (Product Design and Development), which brought together MIT students in engineering and management with industrial design students from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). For several years, professor of management science and innovation Steven Eppinger '83, SM '84, ScD '88, who is the co-author of a widely used textbook also titled "Product Design and Development," taught that course with IDM program director Matt Kressy (then at RISD), along with various engineering faculty members. The new IDM program, which enrolled its first students in Fall 2015, leads to an MS in engineering and management.