David Rowan | The Leading Authority on Technology’s Impact on Business

David Rowan

The Leading Authority on Technology’s Impact on Business

David Rowan

David Rowan is today's leading speaker on how emerging technologies will impact business - and how leaders should prepare now. He's given more than 600 keynotes around the world, and has moderated events for the World Economic Forum, the biggest global companies, and governments. As founding Editor-in-Chief of WIRED magazine in the UK, David came to know the founders of WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Google, Didi, Spotify, Twitter and countless other ambitious startups from Tel Aviv to Shenzhen. His best-selling book, "Non-Bullshit Innovation: 17 Proven Ways To Transform How You Work" (Penguin), is a 20-country quest to identify genuine innovation in the face of technology-led disruption. The book sets out 17 proven strategies for future-proofing a successful business - from "Turn products into services" to "Build an ecosystem". David spends his time at tech's cutting edge: visiting university research labs and startup clusters to meet the people building the future. He's invested in more than 150 early-stage tech companies, and runs venture funds that invest in health-tech and climate-tech. David has been a technology columnist for The Times, GQ, Condé Nast Traveller and The Sunday Times, and at WIRED he built a conference and a consulting business. And he is still searching for the future.

David will customize a talk for your meeting or will moderate your event in his accessible journalistic style.

His recent themes include:

  • Why this is AI's "Netscape moment" - and what that means for your business
  • How to understand the impact of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools
  • What exponential technologies mean for the next five years in retail/real estate/finance/media/healthcare, etc
  • What a 20-country quest taught me about building an authentic culture of innovation
  • What carbon accounting will mean for every business
  • Where AI, data analytics and blockchain should fit into your strategy planning
  • What talent wants in the new world of work
  • Why purpose plus profit is the new business mantra

David Rowan
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David Rowan
Featured Keynote Programs

Why This is AI's "Netscape Moment" and What That Means for Your Business

Back in 1994, Marc Andreessen released a free web browser called Netscape Navigator that heralded the birth of the consumer internet. Netscape transformed what was an obscure academic and governmental hypertext network and opened the door to what became the multi-trillion-dollar internet economy. David Rowan, founding editor-in-chief of WIRED magazine's UK edition, and author of the bestselling book "Non-Bullshit Innovation" (Penguin), is convinced we're at the Netscape moment in the Artificial Intelligence era: at the very beginning of a massive series of disruptive industry upheavals built on AI that will create vast new wealth — and punish any business that underestimates the speed and depth of the shift to the new AI economy.

You can already see the signals:

--Deepfakes and synthetic voice actors becoming ever more convincing

--Generative AIs such as GPT-4, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion, creating books, images or movies based on your text prompts

--Algorithmic content selection moving from TikTok to the wider entertainment economy (such as Spotify's new AI DJs personalising your playlists for you)

--Medical AIs reading patients' CT scans to spot tumours more reliably than human radiographers

--Autonomous cars driving more safely than humans, and autonomous swarm drones getting ready for the battlefield

--Hundreds of thousands of gamers interacting seamlessly in virtual world with no constraints on their in-game creative expression

But as with all exponential technologies, what we're seeing now is just a hint of the upcoming shifts that will impact politics, education, creative expression — even the very meaning of what it is to be human.

David works with technology founders and regularly travels to the research labs, and what he's seeing now is a Cambrian explosion of creative uses of AI colliding with ever increasing processing power. Today the buzz is around Large Language Models that enable compelling conversations with a machine; and around neural networks that can take still images and animate them as video (look at the latest Google Maps releases to see how a neural network lets you explore a fly-through of a restaurant, coded simply from a few photos). But tomorrow? We're getting closer to Artificial General Intelligence, when the machine can solve any challenge as well as a human. In the meantime, journalists are competing with automated story writers; lawyers with automated discovery engines; medical consultants with algorithms that have studied every footnote in every peer-reviewed journal.

Where do we go from here — and how should you prepare? David will explain how education is about to be personalised at scale — with each student having "Einstein" explain quantum physics at their own pace; how Hollywood is planning for a future where actors won't even need to be present to star in a blockbuster; where the customer-service agent is an AI who understand your mood and can respond to your facial expression; how we'll discover new drugs and new carbon-negative materials by simulating molecular interactions inside an all-powerful AI.

Longer term, we need an honest public conversation about ethics: about what it means to be human in an age ever more dominated by robots; about how we constrain the AI before its encoded biases and autonomous decision-making cause us harm; about how to ensure fair access to these AIs before societies become more polarised than ever. There's plenty of grounds to be optimistic: in fighting climate change alone, the AI can help us track and cut emissions and can conserve energy and water far more effectively than today's systems. In tracking our bodies' health, the AI will be our personal 24/7medical concierge service, spotting disease by analysing our breath or enabling the most soothing sleep. But how do we prepare for some of the more harmful consequences of this nascent revolution: from job losses at scale, to automated propaganda, to biases that entrench social and economic disadvantage?  

David will translate how AI is being applied today in top university labs and in the most ambitious startups, and help you understand what is about to happen in your industry. Because you can't assume it will be business as normal. 

The New Rules of Business

In fast-paced, fully customized talks, David Rowan tackles the latest trends in technology, innovation, and business, and reveals how your company can get ahead. Drawing on his extensive research in the field—he has taken 120 flights in the past year to understand from the front line how everything from genomics to 3D printing are changing the way businesses and consumers will operate—Rowan’s clear-eyed, accessible talks guide audiences through the new rules of business. Topics include:

· Ten technology megatrends you can’t ignore—and how they’ll transform manufacturing, hospitality, finance, insurance, entertainment, and travel industries
· The Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence: why the rules of business just changed
· Digital commerce and the future of retail
· The new rules of product innovation, and how to create a culture of innovation
· How to survive, prosper, and embrace transformation in a world of exponential technologies
· What you can learn from the smartest people in Silicon Valley
· How to disrupt your organization, and disruptive business models that can save media companies
· What corporations need to understand about mobile opportunities
· Trends affecting the television industry
· What your business can learn from startup thinking
· How digital transformation impacts the employer value proposition
· How digital meets physical in the shopping center of tomorrow
· The opportunities of 3D printing and the new “maker” culture.

Finding Opportunity Amid the Crisis

Technology offers hope for optimism as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis. Here are the growth opportunities — from re-inventing supply chains to rethinking education to building new brand heroes.

Why Business Innovation Has Never Mattered More

COVID-19 has forced business leaders to move insanely fast to adapt. But how do you build a culture of effective innovation? Here are the lessons from David’s 20-nation quest for non-bullshit innovation.

David Rowan
Featured Book

Non-Bullshit Innovation: Radical Ideas from the World's Smartest Mindsby David Rowan

Non-Bullshit Innovation: Radical Ideas from the World's Smartest Minds

by David Rowan
An entertaining and thought-provoking series of case studies on how to future-proof your business in a digital age, from the founding editor of WIRED. 'In this remarkable book, David Rowan tells a story of transformation: how an organisation has found a new way of doing things through innovation driven by ruthless entrepreneurial imagination. What is especially useful is that he does not just stick with small startups, let alone dreamy "inventors". He finds innovation in big companies and even within governments.' - Matt Ridley, The Times __________________________ David Rowan travels the globe in search of the most exciting and pioneering startups building the future. He's got to know the founders of WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Google, Spotify, Xiaomi, Didi, Nest, Twitter and countless other ambitious entrepreneurs disrupting businesses in almost every sector. And yet too often the companies they're disrupting don't get it. They think they can innovate through jargon: with talk of change agents and co-creation gurus, ideas portals and webinars, make-a-thons and hackfests, paradigm shifts and pilgrimages to Silicon Valley. It's mostly pointless innovation theatre -- corporate nonsense that has little to do with delivering real change. But during this quest he's also discovered some genuinely exciting and transformative approaches to innovation, often in places you might least expect. Get ready for: - The airline that rewards passengers for walking their dog - The bank that performs surgery - The country that's an app store And many more. Packed full of tips for anyone looking for radical ways to adapt and thrive in the digital age, this carefully curated selection of stories will reveal ideas for creating genuine innovation from some of the world's most inspiring leaders. ___________________________

David Rowan
Featured Reviews

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