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Richard Yonck            

International Keynote Speaker, Global Futurist & Best-Selling Author

Richard Yonck is a global futurist and international keynote speaker who explores the future of many emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, healthcare, biotechnology and genetics, transportation, robotics, and more. An inspiring and thought-provoking presenter, Yonck expands audiences understanding of the key considerations and societal implications of these advances. Doing this is a key step to helping identify and work toward our preferred futures.

Yonck is an advisor to businesses and organizations about emerging trends and future developments. His clients include global Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Samsung, and Xerox, industry associations and organizations including TIAA, American Cancer Society and state education boards.

An avid writer and thought leader, Yonck’s books explore the nature and future of human and artificial intelligence. His latest book, Future Minds dives deep into the development of machine and human intelligence through the 21st century and beyond. His previous book, Heart of the Machine studies the future of the emerging technologies that allow computers and robots to read, interpret, and influence human emotions. Now in its second edition, it is required reading at several universities in the U.S. and around the world.

Yonck covers emerging technologies for the technology news website GeekWire and has been published by and quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, Forbes, Wired, Fast Company, BBC News and many others. Formerly an executive board member of the Association of Professional Futurists, Yonck is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and a TED speaker. He believes that strategic foresight and futures planning can serve everyone and is an impassioned advocate about the many benefits of futures thinking and science literacy.

Speech Topics

Building the Innovation Ecosystem of Tomorrow

Innovation has always been critical to progress and how we build the future. As we look ahead, what new kinds of creativity, discovery, team building, financing, and infrastructure will support the startup communities of tomorrow?

We live at one of the most exciting times in history, a time when innovation is constantly taking place all around us. Many factors make this possible, encouraging and perpetuating new ideas that are already rapidly transforming our world. And nowhere is this more evident than in the world of startups.

Just imagine how the future of the startup ecosystem might look in ten or twenty years as we incorporate AI, advanced telecommunications, automated logistics and self-driving vehicles. Attendees will learn about the new kinds of creativity, discovery, team building, financing, and infrastructure that will support the startup community of tomorrow. Most importantly we’ll explore how this future could develop in order to answer the question: “How will we innovate innovation itself?”

Automation, Employment & the Future of the Workforce

Augmented Reality Docent. AI Wrangler. Data Set Auditor. Genetics Interpreter. Digital Reputation Scrubber. VR Addiction Counselor. These are just a few of the new jobs we’re likely to see in the near future. At the same time, many of today’s jobs are disappearing as new forms of automation become more capable.

According to recent research, as many as 47% of all jobs will be eliminated by artificial intelligence and other forms of automation during the next two decades. While two-thirds of Americans believe robots will soon perform most of the work done by humans, fully 80% believe their own jobs are not the ones at risk. It seems there's a serious disconnect somewhere.

As we move through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it's increasingly evident that we aren't prepared for the changes that await us. What can we do to prepare our workforce for such a disruptive era? How might business and government adapt in a world that no longer needs people for so many of its tasks? Perhaps most importantly, how will we prepare for jobs that don’t even exist yet?

"You gave our workforce deans plenty of food for thought as they navigate the complex education and employment world we're preparing our students for." – Nancy Dick, Director, Workforce Education, WA State Board for Community & Technical Colleges

AI: The Century’s Most Transformational Technology

ChatGPT, LLMs, Generative-AI, Machine Commonsense – Future advances in artificial intelligence are altering nearly every aspect of our lives. How will we adapt as so much of our world becomes more and differently intelligent?

It seems like nearly every day we hear about some new hurdle that artificial intelligence has overcome. Yet, we know it is still far from capable of performing a multitude of human tasks. At the same time, the news is filled with reports of massive job losses due to these advances in AI and automation. How rapidly is this technology advancing and just how smart could it eventually become?

This program explores the advances that are being made in a range of AI-related technologies, advances that could one day make artificial intelligence nearly equivalent to our own. However, there are major reasons why it can never exactly duplicate human intelligence and for this reason we will face many challenges in our interactions with it.

Attendee results:

  • What are the new and emerging AI technologies that will transform tomorrow’s world?
  • What can AI do today and what can we expect it to do in the future?
  • How has AI already surpassed us and in what ways will it probably always fall short?
  • How will society and the workplace have to change in order to deal with these inevitable advances?

Healthcare 2045: The Amazing Era of Hyper-Personalized Medicine

Next-generation gene therapies. Microinterventions. mRNA-based cancer vaccines. Radically extended healthspans and lifespans. The world of medicine continues to advance by leaps and bounds. But are we prepared the changes yet to come?

With disruption comes opportunity. Many different stakeholders are seeking ways to transform the healthcare system. With the advent of new platforms, approaches to patient data, and prescription delivery, the system could become vastly more efficient or it could become a morass of bureaucracy. How will these new technologies alter our relationship with our doctors, nurses and other wellness professionals? What can we do to ensure new life-saving advances are equitably distributed?

Learn how the future of medicine will change our very definitions of health, wellness, and perhaps even mortality itself.

Attendees will learn:

  • What new technologies are poised to transform healthcare?
  • As new digital health platforms are rolled out, how can we be assured that our personal data stays safe?
  • How will our health be tracked and how will this allow us to detect serious health issues as early as possible.
  • How could innovations like localized health hubs deliver care in the most efficient and cost-effective manner?

The New Era of Emotion AI: When Machines Understand Our Feelings

Our devices are becoming increasingly able to read, interpret and influence our emotions. Learn about the amazing future of Emotion AI from the author of the best-selling book, HEART OF THE MACHINE, now in its second edition.

Because emotion is such a core aspect of the human condition, these technologies are increasingly being used in everything from education, health care, the military, social robotics, law enforcement, autism detection and therapies, political campaigns, advertising, marketing and much more. What will be the repercussions of such technology? How could it alter our society and personal relationships? Ultimately, what can – and can’t – we expect of it and what do we do to prepare ourselves?

Author of the definitive best-selling book about the future of artificial emotional intelligence, Richard’s deep understanding of the developing emotion economy has made him a global thought leader on this subject.

Attendee outcomes:

  • Discover the origins and potential of this fascinating technology.
  • Understand why Emotion AI is a continuation of a century-long trend.
  • Explore the potentials and limits of Emotion AI.
  • Learn about the future benefits and dangers of having systems that interact with us through emotion detection.

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