Ramez Naam

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Expert on Innovating and Surviving Disruption in an Age of Technological and Ecological Upheaval; Authority on AI and Emerging Technologies, the Clean Energy Revolution and the Future of Mobility; Renowned Computer Scientist and Award-winning Author; Lecturer, Singularity University

Biography

Technology disrupts organizations in every industry. First, it was the emergence of computers, and then of AI and machine learning; now, climate change is driving a wholesale transition to clean energy and novel methods of transportation. If disruption is the new normal, how do organizations prepare for the changes of the present and future?

Ramez Naam, computer scientist, award-winning author and expert on subjects ranging from artificial intelligence to the clean energy revolution and emerging changes in mobility, says we live in a time when technology and technology-enabled startups are disrupting incumbent businesses in every industry.

A prime example: According to Naam, we’ve reached the point in energy where it’s less expensive to build new wind and solar power for energy than it is to continue to use fossil fuels. This means large corporations must learn to think like startups to stay ahead. Through engaging keynotes and workshops, Naam helps organizations imagine their own futures and that of the world, and turn the challenges of the clean energy revolution into opportunities.

A lecturer on energy, the environment and innovation at Singularity University, Naam has deep experience leading teams working on cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning, search, massive scale services and AI. But Naam’s interests were broader, and he soon began researching and writing about crucial issues related to the environment, energy and the future of mobility, culminating with his book, “The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet” (University Press of New England, April 2013). In addition to the implications of renewable energy, Naam also offers a unique insight into how the mobility industry is on the cusp of transformation due to electric vehicles, robo-taxis and drones, to name a few innovations. This is a process that could be highly beneficial to the environment and for businesses that invest early and capitalize on these trends. More broadly, Naam shows how every company in every industry is facing both the opportunities and challenges of radical new technologies.

Naam spent 13 years at Microsoft, where he led teams developing early versions of Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer and the Bing search engine. His career has focused on bringing advanced collaboration, communication and information-retrieval capabilities to roughly one billion people around the world, which took him to the role of partner and director of program management within Microsoft. Between stints at Microsoft, Naam founded and ran Apex NanoTechnologies, the world’s first company devoted entirely to software tools to accelerate molecular design. He holds 19 patents related to search engines, information retrieval, web browsing, AI and machine learning.

An engaging and prolific speaker with a talent for communicating complex issues in an entertaining manner, Naam has spoken to audiences on five continents, from Illinois to Istanbul and from corporate boardrooms to Harvard University. His television and media appearances include MSNBC, Yahoo Finance, China Cable Television, BigThink and Reuters. The author of five books, Naam’s work has also appeared in, or been reviewed by, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Slate, BusinessWeek, Business Insider, Discover, Popular Science, Wired and Scientific American.

Naam is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy at Aurora, Illinois.

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

Videos

Books & Research

Nexus

(Axon Press, February 2015)

Crux

(Axon Press, February 2015)

Apex

(Angry Robot, May 2015)

The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet

(University Press of New England, 2013)

More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement

(Broadway Books, March 2005)

Intro Video

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A-Z Name

Naam, Ramez

Biography

Technology disrupts organizations in every industry. First, it was the emergence of computers, and then of AI and machine learning; now, climate change is driving a wholesale transition to clean energy and novel methods of transportation. If disruption is the new normal, how do organizations prepare for the changes of the present and future?

Ramez Naam, computer scientist, award-winning author and expert on subjects ranging from artificial intelligence to the clean energy revolution and emerging changes in mobility, says we live in a time when technology and technology-enabled startups are disrupting incumbent businesses in every industry.

A prime example: According to Naam, we’ve reached the point in energy where it’s less expensive to build new wind and solar power for energy than it is to continue to use fossil fuels. This means large corporations must learn to think like startups to stay ahead. Through engaging keynotes and workshops, Naam helps organizations imagine their own futures and that of the world, and turn the challenges of the clean energy revolution into opportunities.

A lecturer on energy, the environment and innovation at Singularity University, Naam has deep experience leading teams working on cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning, search, massive scale services and AI. But Naam’s interests were broader, and he soon began researching and writing about crucial issues related to the environment, energy and the future of mobility, culminating with his book, “The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet” (University Press of New England, April 2013). In addition to the implications of renewable energy, Naam also offers a unique insight into how the mobility industry is on the cusp of transformation due to electric vehicles, robo-taxis and drones, to name a few innovations. This is a process that could be highly beneficial to the environment and for businesses that invest early and capitalize on these trends. More broadly, Naam shows how every company in every industry is facing both the opportunities and challenges of radical new technologies.

Naam spent 13 years at Microsoft, where he led teams developing early versions of Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer and the Bing search engine. His career has focused on bringing advanced collaboration, communication and information-retrieval capabilities to roughly one billion people around the world, which took him to the role of partner and director of program management within Microsoft. Between stints at Microsoft, Naam founded and ran Apex NanoTechnologies, the world’s first company devoted entirely to software tools to accelerate molecular design. He holds 19 patents related to search engines, information retrieval, web browsing, AI and machine learning.

An engaging and prolific speaker with a talent for communicating complex issues in an entertaining manner, Naam has spoken to audiences on five continents, from Illinois to Istanbul and from corporate boardrooms to Harvard University. His television and media appearances include MSNBC, Yahoo Finance, China Cable Television, BigThink and Reuters. The author of five books, Naam’s work has also appeared in, or been reviewed by, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Slate, BusinessWeek, Business Insider, Discover, Popular Science, Wired and Scientific American.

Naam is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy at Aurora, Illinois.

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

Speech Topics

Welcome to the Age of Exponential Disruption: Disrupt or be Disrupted

We are living in the age of exponential technologies: computing, AI, machine learning, robotics, self-driving cars, 3D printing, drones, virtual reality, augmented reality, the internet of a trillion things and more. The sudden enhancement of these technologies’ performance empowers individuals and new players in the market, creating multi-billion-dollar companies seemingly in the blink of an eye. At the same time, these developments threaten to disrupt incumbent businesses who fail to adapt. The only way to respond is to reorganize for the exponential age by embracing experimentation, autonomy, “bottom-up” innovation, networked business models and an empowered, inspired workforce. In this presentation, Ramez Naam reveals what leaders must do to change their organizations and become disruptors – rather than be disrupted.

The Clean Energy Revolution

Energy is the world’s biggest industry, with about $6 trillion per year spent on it. And it’s about to be transformed beyond recognition. Clean energy technologies, including solar, wind and batteries, are plunging in price around the world, reaching the point where it’s cheaper to build new clean energy than to operate existing fossil fuel infrastructure. Across the world, governments, businesses and individuals are facing immense change, threats and opportunities in this economic tipping point. As this revolution progresses, organizations that don’t keep up will find themselves on the wrong side of innovation, as new technologies make clean energy more affordable than the old fuels. Nimble organizations will profit. In this presentation, Ramez Naam offers a high-paced, data-rich overview of the changes taking place in the energy market and how organizations can invest now to capitalize on opportunities later. Naam argues how this revolution will ultimately benefit the world due to the positive effects on climate change and the environment but cautions that entire industries will be disrupted – and some destroyed – in the process. Now is the time for every company that depends on cheap, reliable energy for its operations to plan for the future, divest from the old and commit the new before it’s too late.

The Future of Mobility

From self-driving cars and trucks to electric vehicles, robo-taxis and delivery drones, the multi-trillion-dollar transportation industry is on the verge of radical change. This disruption will impact everything from auto manufacturers and parking lots to real estate and global oil prices, while addressing problems like pollution, urban traffic congestion and climate change. The mobility revolution offers immense opportunities for businesses in multiple industries, provided they have clear perspective and strategy for making the transition to new technologies. In this presentation, future of mobility expert Ramez Naam shows audiences how fast change is coming to mobility, and how they can be on the winning rather than the losing side of this disruption.

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