Amy Webb

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Amy Webb

Leading Authority on Forecasting & Strategy for Business and Society; Founder, Future Today Institute; Professor, NYU Stern Futures Forecasting; Best-selling Author, “The Signals Are Talking”

Biography

Amy Webb may not be a superhero – but she does have a powerful ability to anticipate trends and emerging technology that will disrupt tomorrow. And she can envision and help prepare for the impact they’ll have on business and society. Now she’s teaching others, including corporate leaders, innovators and governments, to do the same.

Founder of the Future Today Institute, Webb is a renowned futurist and strategist. For her, it’s not simply an interest; it’s a profession and a passion. Nor is “forecasting the future” about creating fantastical scenarios. Webb doesn’t simply make speculations or predictions; her work is evidence based, drawn from mapping and modeling quantitative and qualitative data collected in the present to understand what’s coming (5-20 years from now).

Named to the 2017 Thinkers50 Radar list of management thinkers most likely to shape the future – and winner of its 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award – Webb is already making an impact on today’s Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies, government agencies, large nonprofits, universities and startups worldwide. Focusing on the intersection of technology, business and society, she takes a purposefully broad lens to her work. When thinking about the future, most only look at their industry and direct competitors. Webb is adamant about looking at multiple, adjacent landscapes. “You have to be able to see the top of the forest in order to see where all the trees are and how they connect,” she says.

Webb’s “clear, insightful and humorous” style, in writing and in speaking, makes it easy to understand why audiences are drawn to her and her work. “The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream” (Public Affairs, December 2016) –  Webb’s most recent best-selling and award-winning book – delves deep into her forecasting methodology. Professors at major universities include “Signals” in their courses and teach her forecasting tools. Numerous mainstream media, including the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, New York Times and Fast Company, have featured Webb’s forecasting methodology and her work as a futurist. Her viral TED Talk, based on her memoir, “Data, A Love Story,” has been viewed more than six million times, was translated into 32 languages, and has been featured as in-flight (Delta) and hotel (Marriott) entertainment. Webb’s upcoming book about the real future of artificial intelligence (2019) promises even more data-rich perspectives and actionable intelligence.

Every one of Webb’s engagements – from keynotes to hands-on workshops – is highly customized. She uses original research and insights specific to an organization, industry or conference. And attendees typically receive a digital folder full of resources, tools, and actionable ideas to help them think like a futurist and prepare and plan for the exciting changes on the horizon.

Webb designed and teaches the futures forecasting MBA course at the New York University Stern School of Business. She was a 2014-2015 Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where her research on the future of education reform received a national Sigma Delta Chi award. Every year, she lectures about the future of media and technology at a number of universities, including Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, Temple University, Tokyo University and National University of Kyiv.

Webb is a 2017-18 Delegate in the prestigious U.S.-Japan Leadership Program. She is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, where she has served as a Blue Ribbon Panel Emmy Judge for emerging technology categories. She sits on several advisory boards, including the SXSW Accelerator, and she is a consultant to Hollywood writers and producers on future technologies included in their movies and shows.

Amy Webb is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Videos

Books & Research

The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream

(PublicAffairs/Hachette, 2016)

How To Make J-School Matter Again

(Harvard University, 2015)

Data: A Love Story

(Dutton/ Penguin, 2013)

Articles

Harvard Business Review logo

A Tax Plan that Hurts Education Will Hurt U.S. Competitiveness

December 1, 2017

fipp.com logo

Focus on Behaviour, not Technology, to Identify Emerging Trends – Future Today Institute’s Amy Webb

November 20, 2017

Smartphones Will Be Gone in 10 Years

October 30, 2017

Strategic Foresight (Audio)

October 24, 2017

Technology Trends Journalists Should Watch in 2018

October 13, 2017

10 Tech Trends in Journalism: 10th Anniversary Edition (Video & Audio)

October 7, 2017

Future of News: Bracing for Next Wave of Technology

October 7, 2017

Futurist Amy Webb Tells Richmond Symphony it Must Adapt to Thrive

August 30, 2017

Los Angeles Times logo

Skynet Began Destroying Humanity 20 Years Ago Today. It Shares a Disturbing Number of Qualities with Trump

August 29, 2017

About the Google Memo (audio)

August 10, 2017

Humans vs. Robots: How to Thrive in an Automated Workplace

June 30, 2017

Inc

The Game-Changing Technology Every Company Needs to Prepare for Now

July/August 2017

The CCO as a Futurist

June 28, 2017

Reintroduce Scarcity, Use AI

May 23, 2017

Wired logo

Crispr Makes It Clear: The US Needs a Biology Strategy, And Fast

May 11, 2017

fipp.com logo

Futurist Amy Webb on How to Look For and Think About Trends Set to Impact Media

April 10, 2017

Los Angeles Times logo

Trump's Treasury secretary is an Artificial Intelligence Denier

March 28, 2017

The Flare and Focus of Successful Futurists

March 17, 2017

New York Times logo

Opposing Views on What to Do About the Data We Create

March 15, 2017

Mother Jones logo

Moscow Thanks You for Sharing Its Cute Cat Pics

March 2017

Inc. logo

10 Most Well-Connected People in New York City's Startup Scene

February 2, 2017

Nieman Reports logo

Why News Organizations Should Buy Twitter

January 27, 2017

Forbes logo

Don't Sit Back And Let The Future Happen To You: Listen To The Signals

January 18, 2017

Wall Street Journal logo

Think Like a Futurist to Be Prepared for the Totally Unexpected

December 30, 2016

MIT Media Lab logo

How to Think Like a Futurist

December 29, 2016

'The Signals are Talking': Amy Webb Teaches Us to Listen

December 22, 2016

Why the government needs a Department of the Future

December 13, 2016

Wired logo

The ‘Uber for X’ Fad Will Pass Because Only Uber Is Uber

December 09, 2016

Inc. logo

How to Spot the Next Billion-Dollar Business Idea

December 2016/January 2017

Intro Video

Video Thumbnail
Amy Webb's 9th Annual Tech Trends Presentation at the 2016 Online News Association Conference

A-Z Name

Webb, Amy

Biography

Amy Webb may not be a superhero – but she does have a powerful ability to anticipate trends and emerging technology that will disrupt tomorrow. And she can envision and help prepare for the impact they’ll have on business and society. Now she’s teaching others, including corporate leaders, innovators and governments, to do the same.

Founder of the Future Today Institute, Webb is a renowned futurist and strategist. For her, it’s not simply an interest; it’s a profession and a passion. Nor is “forecasting the future” about creating fantastical scenarios. Webb doesn’t simply make speculations or predictions; her work is evidence based, drawn from mapping and modeling quantitative and qualitative data collected in the present to understand what’s coming (5-20 years from now).

Named to the 2017 Thinkers50 Radar list of management thinkers most likely to shape the future – and winner of its 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award – Webb is already making an impact on today’s Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies, government agencies, large nonprofits, universities and startups worldwide. Focusing on the intersection of technology, business and society, she takes a purposefully broad lens to her work. When thinking about the future, most only look at their industry and direct competitors. Webb is adamant about looking at multiple, adjacent landscapes. “You have to be able to see the top of the forest in order to see where all the trees are and how they connect,” she says.

Webb’s “clear, insightful and humorous” style, in writing and in speaking, makes it easy to understand why audiences are drawn to her and her work. “The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream” (Public Affairs, December 2016) –  Webb’s most recent best-selling and award-winning book – delves deep into her forecasting methodology. Professors at major universities include “Signals” in their courses and teach her forecasting tools. Numerous mainstream media, including the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, New York Times and Fast Company, have featured Webb’s forecasting methodology and her work as a futurist. Her viral TED Talk, based on her memoir, “Data, A Love Story,” has been viewed more than six million times, was translated into 32 languages, and has been featured as in-flight (Delta) and hotel (Marriott) entertainment. Webb’s upcoming book about the real future of artificial intelligence (2019) promises even more data-rich perspectives and actionable intelligence.

Every one of Webb’s engagements – from keynotes to hands-on workshops – is highly customized. She uses original research and insights specific to an organization, industry or conference. And attendees typically receive a digital folder full of resources, tools, and actionable ideas to help them think like a futurist and prepare and plan for the exciting changes on the horizon.

Webb designed and teaches the futures forecasting MBA course at the New York University Stern School of Business. She was a 2014-2015 Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where her research on the future of education reform received a national Sigma Delta Chi award. Every year, she lectures about the future of media and technology at a number of universities, including Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, Temple University, Tokyo University and National University of Kyiv.

Webb is a 2017-18 Delegate in the prestigious U.S.-Japan Leadership Program. She is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, where she has served as a Blue Ribbon Panel Emmy Judge for emerging technology categories. She sits on several advisory boards, including the SXSW Accelerator, and she is a consultant to Hollywood writers and producers on future technologies included in their movies and shows.

Amy Webb is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

The Great AI Awakening 

“Can machines think?” That sentence begins Alan Turing’s famous 1950 paper on machine intelligence. For as long as we’ve had computers, we humans have been trying to anthropomorphize them. Conversation between humans and machines, and ultimately machines with each other, is the foundation upon which modern AI is being built. Right now, we are on the brink of a great AI awakening, says Amy Webb. So what happens when we get what we’ve always said we want? What happens when the machines really do learn not just to think – but are trained to out-think us humans? She answers these questions and helps you prepare for and harness the great AI awakening.

The Real Future of [X] 

You’ve undoubtedly studied trends within your own industry, but 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 contextualizes trends from within your [X] – your industry and interests – and explains how they fit into a more holistic vision of the future. She will showcase the latest emerging technology research for any of the following industries (to name a few) and explain how scenarios unfold 10 years into your future:

  • Finance
  • Healthcare
  • News Media
  • Governing
  • Entertainment
  • Transportation

How to Think Like a Futurist

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, self-driving cars and biohacking – 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.

Scenes from the Year 2027

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.

The Future of the Internet of Things

In the near future, we will be surrounded by invisible infrastructure enabling your house to talk to your car and your car to talk to your wearable devices. Amy Webb quickly explains what the IoT is and why it’s so important; she then launches into scenarios that tie the IoT directly to your field. She discusses what to expect as the IoT matures and how your industry – and you, yourself – will fit into the ecosystem. It’s a field worth tens of billions of dollars – but there’s a catch. What are the second, third and fourth order implications of the IoT? What happens when all the devices in our lives start talking to each other? Webb discusses the promise, power and potential peril of the future of IOT.

The Future History of Our Cities

The convergence of a number of technologies – ubiquitous WiFi, self-driving cars and trucks, digital assistants, drones, genetic engineering and organic building materials – will start to change our cities in the near future. Everyday life will look quite different, but so will city management. Think landscapers, tiny urban farms and the end of gridlock. Amy Webb shares a snapshot from the future, detailing all the ways in which our cities are likely to evolve, and offers warnings for business and government leaders – not to mention the average citizen – living in the present.

Ten Reasons Future Generations Will Call Us Barbarians

We use “barbarian” to describe people who are uncivilized; it’s easy to imagine humanity’s primitive ancestors as horrible, ignorant savages. But consider this: won’t future generations think the same of us? What are we doing today that people in the far future will think are barbaric? To start, we farm our meat instead of growing it. We discriminate based on race and gender, rather than our intellectual, emotional, financial and physical capabilities. We take blunt-force pills intended for the general population, not hyper-personalized chemical compounds delivered via nanobots. In this eye-opening session, Amy Webb flips what feels comfortable and familiar on its head as you journey deep into the future.

The Future of Donald Trump’s America

No one saw him coming. A year ago, Donald Trump was a fringe candidate – too far afield of mainstream politics to be taken seriously. In the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election, members of the media, business leaders, political strategists, and voters all want the answer to a very simple question: What comes next? What will America – and our relationship with the rest of the world – look like in four years?

Business leaders are grappling with disruption across multiple industries and tech sectors – while others will soon learn artificial intelligence will affect jobs, how Russian hackers are threatening cybersecurity and what life will be like once our cars drive themselves. This nonpartisan presentation is continuously updated, and gives critical guidance on how to think like a futurist in order to most accurately answer pressing questions about the future of our economy, business, emerging technologies and political systems in Donald Trump’s America.

 

 

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Books & Research

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Recommendations

“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 effect 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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