Amy Webb

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World-Renowned Futurist and Leading Authority on Forecasting and Strategic Foresight for Business; Founder, Future Today Institute; NYU Stern School of Business Professor; Nonresident Senior Fellow Atlantic Council; Visiting Fellow, Oxford University Säid School of Business; Fellow, US-Japan Leadership Program; 3x Bestselling Author, “The Signals Are Talking,” “The Big Nine” and “Data, A Love Story”

Biography

As one the world’s most sought-after futurists, Amy Webb advises CEOs of the world’s most-admired companies, three-star admirals and generals, and the senior leadership of central banks and intergovernmental organizations. Founder of the Future Today Institute, a leading foresight and strategy firm that helps leaders and their organizations prepare for complex futures, Amy pioneered a data-driven, technology-led foresight methodology that is now used within hundreds of organizations. Forbes called Amy “one of the five women changing the world.” She was honored as one of the BBC’s 100 Women of 2020 and was named to the prestigious Thinkers50 Radar list of the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led.

Amy is a professor of strategic foresight at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where she developed and teaches the MBA-level strategic foresight course with live case studies. She is a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University’s Säid School of Business, a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center, a Fellow in the United States-Japan Leadership Program and a Foresight Fellow in the U.S. Government Accountability Office Center for Strategic Foresight. Amy was a Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where her research received a national Sigma Delta Chi award. She was also a Delegate on the former U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, where she worked on the future of technology, media and international diplomacy. Recently, she was named a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

A lifelong science fiction fan, Amy collaborates closely with Hollywood writers and producers on films, TV shows and commercials about science, technology and the future. Recent projects include The First, a sci-fi drama about the first humans to travel to Mars, an AT&T commercial featuring a fully-autonomous car directed by Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow, and an upcoming film based on Amy’s hilarious and heart-wrenching memoir about data, algorithms and online dating (“Data, A Love Story”). Amy is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and has served as a Blue Ribbon Emmy award judge. Amy Webb “showed Comic-Con how it’s done” declared the Los Angeles Times, describing the 2019 main stage Westworld session she moderated with the show’s actors and showrunners.

Amy is the best-selling author of three books, including “The Big Nine: How The Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity“ (PublicAffairs/ Hachette 2019), which was longlisted for the Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year award, shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award, won the 2020 Gold Axiom Medal and was named Amazon’s best book about technology for 2019. “The Big Nine” is a sobering analysis of the present state of artificial intelligence, the conflict between the US and China, and what will happen to business and society during the next 50 years as AI evolves. A Washington Post bestseller, “The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream“ (PublicAffairs/Hachette 2016) explains Amy’s strategic forecasting methodology and how any organization can identify risk and opportunity before disruption hits. “Signals” won the 2017 Thinkers50 RADAR Award, the 2017 Gold Axiom Medal, and was selected as one of Fast Company’s Best Books of 2016. Her bestselling memoir “Data, A Love Story” (Penguin 2013) is about finding love via algorithms. Her TED talk about “Data” has been viewed more than 8 million times and translated into 32 languages. “Data” is being adapted as a feature film, which is currently in production. To date, her books have been translated into 19 different languages. Currently, Amy is working on a new book about genomes and the next wave of disruptive innovation with leading biotech visionary Andrew Hessel.

Amy writes extensively about corporate foresight strategy, uncertainty and emerging technologies. She regularly contributes to a number of publications, which include the Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, New York Times, Wired, Fortune, Nikkei (Japan), Mother Jones and others.

Amy’s “clear, insightful, relatable and humorous” style in writing and in speaking makes it easy to understand why audiences are drawn to her and her work. Every one of Amy’s engagements – from keynotes to hands-on workshops – is bespoke and highly customized for each audience. She spends extensive time in advance with every client to learn about their interests and needs and develops keynote speeches and interactive workshops anchored in original research and insights specific to an organization, industry or conference. For her clients, Amy includes a folder of digital assets for organizers and participants, which includes her open-source frameworks and foresight tools as well as curated research on emerging technology.

Amy Webb is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Headshot photo by Elena Seibert.

Videos

Media

Futurist Reviews Futuristic Movies, from 'The Matrix' to 'WALL-E' (Video)

August 18, 2020

How (and Why) to Budget Now for Strategic Foresight in 2021

July 15, 2020

Privacy, Technology and Foresight (Audio)

May 21, 2020

Fortune logo

How Businesses Should Balance Risk and Opportunity During the Coronavirus Crisis

May 18, 2020

Quantitative Futurist on Healthcare in the Age of AI and COVID-19 (Audio)

April 21, 2020

The Best Buisiness Books to Get You Through the Lockdown

April 10, 2020

Fortune logo

How Event Planners Can Avoid Coronavirus Conflicts This Fall

April 9, 2020

The Unexpected Consequences of the Pandemic

April 1, 2020

Amy Webb is a Quantitative Futurist (Audio)

March 31, 2020

We Need to Start Modeling Alternative Futures

March 31, 2020

A Futurist on Navigating Change Forced by the Pandemic: Fight the Fear (Audio)

March 27, 2020

This is How a Futurist Copes with Uncertainty

March 19, 2020

MIT Sloan Management Review logo

How to Spot Disruption Before It Strikes (Audio)

March 17, 2020

Cope with Uncertainty Using These Tools from Renowned Futurist Amy Webb

March 17, 2020

How Futurists Cope With Uncertainty

March 11, 2020

The 11 Sources of Disruption Every Company Must Monitor

March 10, 2020

50 Leading Female Futurists

March 5, 2020

How to Do Strategic Planning Like a Futurist

July 30, 2019

Thinking Machines and the Future of Humanity (With Video)

July, 2019

Los Angeles Times logo

Meet the 'Westworld'Panel Moderator Who Showed Comic-Con How It's Done

July 24, 2019

The Atlantic logo

The Problem With Diversity in Computing

June 25, 2019

Book Review: The Big Nine by Amy Webb ($)

June, 2019

NBC News Logo

The Future of A.I. is in the Hands of Nine Companies. It's Time to Take It Back (Video)

June 21, 2019

How a Futurist Sees AOC's Video " A Message From the Future"

April 19, 2019

Nine Companies Are Shaping the Future of Artificial Intelligence

April 10, 2019

Inside Higher Ed logo

Higher Ed and 'The Big Nine'

March 24, 2019

Amazon Could Soon Force You To Go On A Diet, According To One Futurist

March 21, 2019

Build Democracy Into AI

March 15, 2019

Privacy in 2034: A Corporation Owns Your DNA (and Maybe Your Body)

March 14, 2019

Are You an Amazon or an Apple Family?

March 9, 2019

Linkedin Logo

The U.S. and China are Vying for AI Dominance. Here's How We Can Avoid Disaster

March 8, 2019

Nieman Reports logo

China and the AI Edge

March 5, 2019

How Can We Design AI for the Best Long-Term Interests of Humanity?

March 4, 2019

MIT Technology Review logo

Why AI Is A Threat To Democracy—And What We Can Do To Stop It

February 26, 2019

An NYU Professor Explains Why It's So Dangerous That Silicon Valley Is Building AI To Make Decisions Without Human Values

February 23, 2019

Wired logo

The Pentagon Needs to Woo AI Experts Away From Big Tech

February 16, 2019

China Vs. The US: How Governments And Markets Influence Tech Innovations

January 15, 2019

Inc

Apple, Google, and Amazon Already Play Huge Roles in Our Lives. Here's Why They're About to Get Even Bigger

May 9, 2018

How Will Tech Trends Impact Your Business? Here’s a Guide to Surviving 2018

April 12, 2018

Minds Worth Meeting

Minds Worth Meeting Episode 15: How to Make Informed Decisions About the Future with Amy Webb (Audio)

February 27, 2018

A-Z Name

Webb, Amy

Biography

As one the world’s most sought-after futurists, Amy Webb advises CEOs of the world’s most-admired companies, three-star admirals and generals, and the senior leadership of central banks and intergovernmental organizations. Founder of the Future Today Institute, a leading foresight and strategy firm that helps leaders and their organizations prepare for complex futures, Amy pioneered a data-driven, technology-led foresight methodology that is now used within hundreds of organizations. Forbes called Amy “one of the five women changing the world.” She was honored as one of the BBC’s 100 Women of 2020 and was named to the prestigious Thinkers50 Radar list of the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led.

Amy is a professor of strategic foresight at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where she developed and teaches the MBA-level strategic foresight course with live case studies. She is a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University’s Säid School of Business, a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center, a Fellow in the United States-Japan Leadership Program and a Foresight Fellow in the U.S. Government Accountability Office Center for Strategic Foresight. Amy was a Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where her research received a national Sigma Delta Chi award. She was also a Delegate on the former U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, where she worked on the future of technology, media and international diplomacy. Recently, she was named a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

A lifelong science fiction fan, Amy collaborates closely with Hollywood writers and producers on films, TV shows and commercials about science, technology and the future. Recent projects include The First, a sci-fi drama about the first humans to travel to Mars, an AT&T commercial featuring a fully-autonomous car directed by Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow, and an upcoming film based on Amy’s hilarious and heart-wrenching memoir about data, algorithms and online dating (“Data, A Love Story”). Amy is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and has served as a Blue Ribbon Emmy award judge. Amy Webb “showed Comic-Con how it’s done” declared the Los Angeles Times, describing the 2019 main stage Westworld session she moderated with the show’s actors and showrunners.

Amy is the best-selling author of three books, including “The Big Nine: How The Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity“ (PublicAffairs/ Hachette 2019), which was longlisted for the Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year award, shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award, won the 2020 Gold Axiom Medal and was named Amazon’s best book about technology for 2019. “The Big Nine” is a sobering analysis of the present state of artificial intelligence, the conflict between the US and China, and what will happen to business and society during the next 50 years as AI evolves. A Washington Post bestseller, “The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream“ (PublicAffairs/Hachette 2016) explains Amy’s strategic forecasting methodology and how any organization can identify risk and opportunity before disruption hits. “Signals” won the 2017 Thinkers50 RADAR Award, the 2017 Gold Axiom Medal, and was selected as one of Fast Company’s Best Books of 2016. Her bestselling memoir “Data, A Love Story” (Penguin 2013) is about finding love via algorithms. Her TED talk about “Data” has been viewed more than 8 million times and translated into 32 languages. “Data” is being adapted as a feature film, which is currently in production. To date, her books have been translated into 19 different languages. Currently, Amy is working on a new book about genomes and the next wave of disruptive innovation with leading biotech visionary Andrew Hessel.

Amy writes extensively about corporate foresight strategy, uncertainty and emerging technologies. She regularly contributes to a number of publications, which include the Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, New York Times, Wired, Fortune, Nikkei (Japan), Mother Jones and others.

Amy’s “clear, insightful, relatable and humorous” style in writing and in speaking makes it easy to understand why audiences are drawn to her and her work. Every one of Amy’s engagements – from keynotes to hands-on workshops – is bespoke and highly customized for each audience. She spends extensive time in advance with every client to learn about their interests and needs and develops keynote speeches and interactive workshops anchored in original research and insights specific to an organization, industry or conference. For her clients, Amy includes a folder of digital assets for organizers and participants, which includes her open-source frameworks and foresight tools as well as curated research on emerging technology.

Amy Webb is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Headshot photo by Elena Seibert.

Speech Topics

Living in a COVID-19 World: Speech or Interactive Virtual Session

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve experienced social, economic and political shocks unlike any other generation. What we’re living through is less like a war and more like an alien invasion: attacks are difficult to understand, seem indiscriminate, and the enemy continues to find vulnerabilities in us we never saw ourselves. The virus has challenged our critical systems: our global supply chains, communications infrastructure, healthcare, education, transportation, and even our ways of governing. It is reshaping our economies in real time, and it is shifting the geopolitical balance to create new tensions and alliances. The global coronavirus pandemic will lead to downstream implications we’re only beginning to see. Now is the time to create recovery scenarios for your company and industry. In this bespoke session, Amy Webb offers essential advice specifically for your organization. Drawing from nearly two decades of modeling next-order risks, Amy will share two practical, accessible foresight tools that you can use now to model Covid-19’s next-order impacts on your organization, mitigate near-future risk, and find ways to thrive in a post-coronavirus world. She will research and develop data-driven scenarios describing your organization’s plausible futures and challenge your teams to get to action on their preferred futures, today. This session can be developed as a 45 or 60-minute virtual speech to your team, or as a 2-hour virtual hands-on workshop.

Emerging Tech Trends: A Bespoke Speech Featuring Custom Research for Your Organization or Industry

What tech trends should we monitor? When do we act? How can you distinguish between “trend” and “trendy,” and which long-term trends should your business be following? Most importantly, how can you prepare yourself and your business for what’s next in a world of constant disruption? In this custom, provocative presentation, Amy Webb curates the Future Today Institute’s data-driven longitudinal tech trends to reveal the forces shaping your future. She will connect trends from within and from outside of your field, showing a chain reaction of events and how they could result in different scenarios. Amy’s annual trend report, now in its 13th year, has 8.5 million cumulative views and her trend talks have are a mainstay on the world’s largest and most prestigious stages, including the South by South West (SXSW) festival. Her rigorous method for finding, tracking and monitoring trends is used by hundreds of organizations and is taught in MBA programs worldwide. This session can be developed as a 45 or 60-minute speech to your team.

How to Think Like a Futurist: Speech or Interactive Virtual Session

The world’s most successful leaders must manage the present and innovate for the future. This requires a new kind of strategic thinking. Drawing from her bestselling, award-winning book, “The Signals Are Talking,” Amy Webb explains how leaders can harness a futurist’s strategic tools for the benefit of their organizations. In this presentation, you will learn how to think like a futurist, how to rethink risk, and how you’ll know when to act. As a backdrop, Webb will share future scenarios of emerging technologies from your industry and those adjacent to it: artificial intelligence, biotechnology, blockchain – helping you discover your own ability to not only forecast what’s on the horizon, but how to create your own preferred future today, in the present. This session can be developed as a 45 or 60-minute virtual speech to your team, or as a 2-hour virtual hands-on workshop.

Scenes from the Year 2030

Soon, technology will begin to intersect with our daily lives in weird and wonderful ways. We don’t often think about that intersection, and yet emerging technology will be used to design the future of humanity. In this mind-bending session, Amy Webb will offer a provocative series of snapshots from our near and far future. How will we communicate? Where will we live? Will sophisticated algorithms and artificially intelligent systems replace the relationships we have with other humans? What will our technology do for us? To us? The possibilities are exciting, inspiring – and a little scary. In this custom session, Amy will will draw from the Future Today Institute’s research to develop a set of optimistic, neutral and catastrophic scenarios that describe your organization or industry’s plausible scenes from the year 2030, and she will offer insights on how you can achieve your preferred futures. This session can be developed as a 45 or 60-minute speech to your team.

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity

The most powerful technology of our lifetimes is now in the hands of just nine big corporations. That technology — artificial intelligence — is reshaping business, privacy, commerce, agriculture, warfare, healthcare, education, and even our relationships to each other, and the companies responsible for our futures are driven by competing forces. The American portion of the Big Nine—Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Facebook—have big ideas about how to solve some of humanity’s most wicked problems, but their shareholders prioritize short-term returns over long-term challenges. The speed of technology dramatically outpaces the speed of policy, so lawmakers often find themselves in an antagonistic position as they try to play catchup. Meanwhile, China’s Big Nine members—Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent—are tethered to Beijing and the demands of the Chinese Communist Party. What about businesses, nonprofits, and everyday people caught in the middle, as our data are mined and refined in service of building the future of artificial intelligence? Drawing from her bestselling new book “The Big Nine,” which was longlisted for the Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year, shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award, won the 2020 Gold Axiom Medal, Amy Webb explains what your business needs to know now about AI. She will develop custom optimistic and catastrophic scenarios for your organization’s future as we advance from artificial narrow intelligence, to artificial general intelligence to artificial superintelligence. Importantly, Amy will show that you still have agency in what comes next. The future of AI doesn’t have to be bleak — you can set a different course for your preferred future. This session can be developed as a 45 or 60-minute speech to your team.

Media

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Books & Research

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Workshops

Masterclass in Foresight – Introductory Session

With so much uncertainty and disruption, every organization must develop future forecasting capabilities. Learn how to use Amy Webb’s data-driven, rigorous foresight tools to create a state of readiness within your team or broader organization. In this session, you will gain a clear understanding of what strategic foresight is, how it can be used to think about the future, and how your team can begin to develop your approach to planning for the future. You will learn two foundational foresight tools that can be put to immediate use.

 Masterclass in Foresight – Full Program

Using your own organization as a live case study, we offer cutting-edge insights for your industry, recorded seminars for use within your organization, customized workbooks and toolkits for your team, and one-on-one advising with FTI’s foresight associates. Courses are adapted from Amy Webb’s graduate MBA class on strategic foresight at New York University Stern School of Business. This program has been successfully deployed within a wide range of industries in the public and private sectors. It produces measurable outcomes for organizations of all sizes.

The Thinking Like a Futurist Program includes six 75-minute workshops, and each session includes a deep dive in a key area of emerging technology:

  1. Finding the Future: Introduction to strategic foresight and the foundational strategic foresight tools you will use going forward.
  2. Signals of Disruption: How to think broadly about disruption. We will use the 11 Sources of Macro Disruption framework to connect external changes and developments in key areas to your organization’s future.
  3. Monitoring Signals: How to calculate and track the velocity of change. Using a simple evaluation tool, you will learn how to track emerging trends as they develop and determine when to take action on them.
  4. Scenario Mapping: How to develop effective and actionable scenarios describing future states. We’ll start using the Axes of Uncertainty to develop first-generation scenarios. Using a two-by-two matrix, we combine uncertainties to discover four possible outcomes. At the end, we label each resulting quadrant for action. Then we map our findings back to the Time Cone and to our stakeholders.
  5. Creating Your Preferred Future State: How can your organization create a plausible, preferred vision for the future? We will build on your first-generation scenarios to develop provocative scenarios that describe your organization’s optimistic and catastrophic future states. We will challenge your assumptions, help you see new opportunities where previously you only saw constraints and detect emerging threats you never considered. Ultimately we will reveal your preferred future state.
  6. Backcasting the Future: How to take action on the future, today. Backcasting is a process futurists use to reverse-engineer preferred future states. We will empower you to discover and take the steps you need to achieve your desired outcomes.

Participants receive:

Digital and hard copies of FTI’s 365-page 2020 Tech Trends Report, now in its 13th annual edition

  • Custom workbooks for each participant (digital and hard copy)
  • A copy of “The Signals Are Talking,” Amy Webb’s award-winning book about strategic foresight

Recommendations

Advance Praise for “The Big Nine”

“The Big Nine is provocative, readable, and relatable. Amy Webb demonstrates her extensive knowledge of the science driving AI and the geopolitical tensions that could result between the US and China in particular. She offers deep insights into how AI could reshape our economies and the current world order, and she details a plan to help humanity chart a better course.”

—Anja Manuel, Stanford University, co-founder and partner RiceHadleyGates

“The Big Nine is an important and intellectually crisp work that illuminates the promise and peril of AI. Will AI serve its three current American masters in Washington, Silicon Valley and Wall Street or will it serve the interests of the broader public? Will it concentrate or disperse economic and geopolitical power? We can thank Amy Webb for helping us understand the questions and how to arrive at answers that will better serve humanity than our current path. The Big Nine should be discussed in classrooms and boardrooms around the world.”

—Alec Ross, author of The Industries of the Future

The Big Nine makes bold predictions regarding the future of AI. But unlike many other prognosticators, Webb sets sensationalism aside in favor of careful arguments, deep historical context, and a frightening degree of plausibility.”

—Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law and professor of Computer Science, Harvard University

The Big Nine is thoughtful and provocative, taking the long view and most of all raising the right issues around AI and providing a road map for an optimistic future with AI.”

—Peter Schwartz, senior vice president, Salesforce.com, and author of The Art of the Long View

“Webb’s potential scenarios for specific futures are superb, providing detailed visions for society to avoid as well as achieve.”

—John C. Havens, executive director, IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems

“When you listen closely to Amy Webb, you hear how the future might unfold for us humans. It’s worth listening. Amy’s at the forefront of understanding how technology continues to permeate every aspect of our lives and how those interactions — with each other, with the world, with our things — inform what we care about and who or what we should follow and use and embrace. Nobody else is doing what the Future Today Institute does for brands. Amy and her team have both unusual discernment and healthy skepticism. What sets their work apart is how adeptly they use research, peppered with trademark humor and candor, to offer insights we can all use. Like right now. If you’re looking for help solving the puzzle of what’s next (and what to do about it), there’s no better guide than Amy Webb.”

– Matt Mansfield, VP-Product Innovation, CQ Roll Call

“Once every three months, Amy walked into a room of Time Inc’s top editors and told us about the future. These are among the most cynical, seen-it-all-before people in the media world but for two hours they sat spellbound as Amy told us what was coming around the bend, how it would affect us, and, most important, how we could capitalize on it. Nobody missed these sessions. Ever. An incredibly engaging and efficient speaker, Amy shares big ideas quickly and in a way that made sense to those of us who weren’t digital first thinkers. I would walk out feeling like I did after my best college seminars: My brain sparked with new ideas, paradigm shifts, and opportunities.”

– Bill Shapiro, Director of Editorial and New Business Enterprises, Fast Company

“Amy Webb’s foresight in the technology space is both inspiring and extremely valuable for businesses. She distills complex concepts into relevant digestible tidbits that provide insight to subject matter experts and newbies alike. Beyond mere encyclopedic knowledge of digital products and services, Amy Webb’s most valuable asset is her mystical awareness of which strategies and concepts are on the cusp of transforming consumer and enterprise life as we know it.”

– Bill McBain, Associate Director of Finance, Huge

“What Amy Webb does better than anyone else: She stays on top of complex technical innovations, information and geek-speak and distills them into relatively simple concepts and practical applications. This last is particularly significant – Amy helps you grasp what the semantic web or mobile broadband, for example, mean to you and your world, why you should care, and how you can use it.  I’ve seen her present several times in the past few years and each session has been forward-looking and highly relevant to media and tech professionals. She’s a terrific communicator, direct, smart and honest.”

– Katharine Fong, Editor in Chief, California Educator

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