Conversation with a Futurist

Seattle futurist Richard Yonck is a noted speaker and author about emerging technologies and the many issues we’ll face in tomorrow’s world. An engaging speaker with a unique perspective, Richard strives to find both the opportunities and the challenges new advances will bring. A consulting futurist and formerly a contributing editor for the long-running The Futurist magazine, Richard is an avid guide to the changes and challenges we’ll face in the coming decades. Audiences of all sizes – from professional organizations, think tanks and business leaders to civic groups, educational festivals and public forums – have called Richard’s presentations “awe-inspiring”, “passionate” and “thought-provoking”. Whether a keynote or a conference presentation, an after-dinner talk, or an educational experience for employees, Richard will tailor the material to captivate and excite your audience.


The Coming Era of Emotional Machines

Author of the 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. With the recent development of artificial emotional intelligence – or emotion AI, this new branch of computer science is developing systems that can read, interpret, mimic and even influence our emotions.

Because emotion is such a core aspect of the human condition, these technologies are being, or will be 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 will it alter our society and personal relationships? Ultimately, what can – and can’t – we do to protect ourselves?

Automation, Employment and the Future of the Workforce

According to recent research, as much 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 jobs will not be among those affected.

At the same time, an enormous number of new jobs will come into existence that have never been heard of before. Augmented Reality Docent. Autonomous Vehicle Wranglers. Training Data Auditors. Genetic Findings Interpreter. Digital Reputation Scrubber. VR Addiction Rehabilitation Counselor. These are but a few of the new jobs that will need a human hand, at least for the immediate future.

As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it’s increasingly evident that we aren’t prepared for the changes that await us. What can we do in the face of such socially disruptive forces? How can we survive in a world that no longer needs people for many traditional tasks. If re-education is to be part of the solution, how can we prepare for future jobs that don’t even exist yet? And once a path is chosen, what guarantee do we have the new occupations will still be needed once we’ve completed our course of study?

Life in the Age of Human Augmentation

In recent years we’ve developed increasingly sophisticated ways of incorporating devices into our bodies: hearing aids, cochlear implants, artificial hearts, pacemakers, deep brain stimulators, artificial bones and joints, insulin pumps, and much more. But while these technologies have primarily been developed to replace lost function, we’re on the verge of using such devices to improve our natural abilities as well. Humanity is rapidly entering an era in which technology can not only repair and replace failed organs and lost functions, but actually augment and enhance them.

What can we expect in this new world of Human 2.0? Will it lead to indefinite life extension? Will a world already filled with economic disparity, give rise to physiological, or even mental, “haves” and “have-nots” as well? What dangers will we face when the very systems that allow our bodies to function are hackable? How do we protect our humanity in such a world?

Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies and the Future of the Block Chain

In 2008, a paper authored by an individual or a group, known only as Satoshi Nakamota laid out the basis for the first decentralized digital currency. In doing so, they also developed the first blockchain database ledger, thereby solving what is known in the world of digital currency as the “double-spending problem.”

Since then, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have taken the world by storm. However, the real game-changer was the invention of the block chain, a decentralized, cryptographic ledger that can be put to an untold number of uses. These include traditional trust and transaction instruments, such as loans, sales deeds of trust, and stock transactions, as well as new, digital era methods for automating trust for everything from livestock exchange and food quality protections in the developing world to ensuring adherence to trade embargos and arms reduction.  What opportunities and risks can we anticipate from these innovative financial instruments?

Augmented Reality and the Future of Marketing

Imagine window shopping on the high street for clothes and accessories. As you pause to look at the merchandise, your view is overlaid with a range of information and offers, tantalizing you to come inside. You see yourself reflected in the window, wearing the latest fashions that grace the displays. How can you pass up the opportunity to enter the establishment and try it in IRL – in real life!

With major companies investing heavily, augmented reality is finally ready for widespread use. Its first killer app could very likely be in the retail space, transforming marketing, advertising and the shopping experience. How will we utilize this exciting technology, what should we be concerned about it and will it be more than just a passing fad?

Cyber Warfare and the Quest for the Super Soldier

Recently Russian leader, Vladimir Putin said of artificial general intelligence, “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Though that may be true, it’s a safe bet the world’s military leaders are not putting all of their eggs in this one basket. In recent years, aggressions have stepped up on all sides as nations test new techniques of cyber warfare and feel out the vulnerabilities of their opposition. From the West’s Stuxnet malware attack on Iran’s nuclear program to Russia’s more recent infiltration of major U.S. power plants, this new form of warfare is heating up.

At the same time, dozens of research programs are developing ways to improve, enhance and harden their soldiers, whether mentally, physically or psychologically. From exoskeletons that bestow wearers super strength to brain stimulus that heightens attention and learning speed, systems are being developed that could one day lead to entire armies’ of super soldiers. How will the world respond in the face of such warriors? What will we do with them during periods of peace when we’re not at war?


What is a Futurist Speaker?

Richard is a brilliant speaker, writer, and futurist. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear his ideas about AI and emotional machines.”

Dr. Cindy Frewen, FAIA
Architect and Urban Futurist

NSA member

You left our workforce deans with plenty of food for thought as they navigate the complex education and employment world we’re preparing students for.”

Nancy Dick
Director, Workforce Education
WA State Board for Community & Technical Colleges

A Perspective on the Future

Recently we organized the first-ever Emotion AI Summit: featuring 28+ speakers and 300+ attendees at the MIT Media Lab. Richard joined tech leaders in the day-long event as a panelist on our “Future of AI: Ethics, Morality and the Workforce” panel. Richard helped make the Ethics of AI session one of my favorite of the event.”

Ashley McManus
Director of Marketing, Affectiva

I thought you were so professional and with such a command of your topic. It was a joy working with you.”

Prof. William E. Halal, PhD
George Washington University
President, TechCast Global

TED Talk

#1 – “10 Things We Loved About SXSW 2017 Interactive”

In “The Future of Emotional Machines,” Richard Yonck posed weighty questions about what our near future may look like with increased machine learning and artificial intelligence, which are playing more and more of both an underlying and overt role in our lives. We loved the thorny issues that were raised by this subject, including the tension between greater freedom from mundane tasks and the loss of control and privacy that such intelligent machines may dictate.”

Katharine Norwood, Odopod

Richard shared with us perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring, intriguing presentations on new technologies – so much so that we invited him back for a follow-up presentation. One of the things that differentiates Richard is he’s truly passionate and knowledgeable about technology past, present and future.”

Tolga U. Ural, MBA
CEO, Imagine Media Partners
President, Rotary Club of Seattle Metropolitan

The Future of Emotional Machines - WorldFuture Conference

Richard Yonck is a futurist, researcher, writer, and communicator of exceptional talent and high professional standards.”

Cynthia G. Wagner
Editor, The Futurist Magazine

Don’t see the trend or topic you want?

Among Richard’s many popular presentations:

  • Digital Threats – “Cybercrime and the Future of the Dark Web”
  • Internet of Things – “Connecting With Our Connected World”
  • Health – “Genomics, Self-Regeneration and the Promise of Personalized Medicine
  • Artificial Intelligence –”The Most Transformative Technology of the 21st Century”
  • Autonomous Vehicles – “It’s Not Your Father’s Flying Car”
  • Machine Intelligence – “Are You as Smart as a Seventh Generation Computer?”
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces – “The Ultimate Wearable”
  • Privacy & Protection – “Fake News and the Phish That Got Away”
  • Future Cities – “Organisms Within Organisms”
  • Life Extension – “Are We Ready for the End of Aging?”
  • and much more…

Contact us to discuss your organization’s
specific event needs.