James Whittaker

James Whittaker is a technology executive with a career that spans academia, start-ups and top tech companies. His story starts in 1986 with the distinction of being the first computer science graduate to be hired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation where he worked to automate Agent's caseloads. He then entered graduate school at the University of Tennessee where he received his PhD in computer science in 1992.

Following academia, James worked as a freelance developer specializing in test automation. He worked in 13 different countries over a five year period, most notably for IBM, Ericsson, SAP, Cisco and Microsoft. During this time he performed seminal research in software quality and developer productivity and published dozens of papers, patents and conference presentations. In 1996 he joined the faculty at the Florida Institute of Technology where he continued his prolific publication record and won over $12m in sponsored research. James' work in Y2K testing and software security earned a number of best paper and presentation awards and in 2002 his security work was spun off by the university into a startup which was later acquired by Raytheon.

James' first stint at Microsoft was in Trustworthy Computing and then Visual Studio. In 2009 he joined Google as an engineering director and led teams working on Chrome, Chrome OS, Maps and Google+. He was also the keynote speaker for Google Developer Days. In 2012 James rejoined Microsoft as Distinguished Engineer to build the Bing AI Platform from which he recently retired. He now speaks widely on subjects pertaining to the future of man and machine.

James is known for being a creative and passionate leader and entertaining speaker and author. He regularly speaks to technical, marketing and advertising audiences to challenge people to think differently about the future--past events include ANA Disrupt at CES, IAB Engage UK, Advertising Week Europe, Digital Life Design, Business Insider Ignite, Pitch @The Palace, the CIO Summit and SXSW. Of his five technical books, Two are best-sellers and two have been Jolt Award finalists. 

James Whittaker
Featured Videos

Current: IoT Keynote

Time 58:40

More Videos From James Whittaker

IoT Keynote
Time 58:40
Art of Storytelling
Time 40:36
Microsoft Talk
Time 52:47

James Whittaker
Featured Keynote Programs

The AI Briefing

This intriguing talk lifts the covers off artificial intelligence and describes in plain terms what AI is, what it does and what it one day may be capable of doing. Without hype or hyperbole, James Whittaker quickly gets to the core of AI and no matter how technical you are or aren’t, you will walk away understanding how it works and why it has taken the world by storm. Further, we will peel back the layers of AI’s potential to solve humanity’s most intractable problems and the peril humanity might face under its yoke. No topic is left undiscussed, from its ability to imitate and influence humans to its potential for taking over most all wage-earning work and the ensuing economic fallout of a half-day workweek. And, yes, we talk about the routes AI might take to become a fully conscious artificial species competing with our own. Whether you leave this talk with existential dread or newfound hope is up to you, but you will understand the technology and the ways we might survive it.

Getting the Metaverse Out of Neutral

The metaverse is stuck in neutral and all the combined spending of top tech companies isn’t shifting it into a forward gear. Despite its almost magical promise of augmented reality and digital teleportation, the jury is out on whether the metaverse is the next big platform for the apps of the future or yet another hyped-today-gone-tomorrow technology.

This talk details a blueprint for the metaverse's success. Yes, it is a mess of different platforms that don’t play well together. Yes, it is early-generation hardware that is too expensive for the masses. Yes, it hasn’t really found its killer app and appeals mostly to hobbyists. However, the same could be said about the PC, the web, and the smartphone during their early days. We’ve seen over-hyped technologies emerge from their infancy to achieve dominance before. All the metaverse has to do is follow their playbook.

In this talk you will be dazzled by the insights of a master storyteller with a trip down memory lane of how each of these now-prominent technologies managed to shift out of neutral. Can the metaverse make that gear change? You are about to find out.

The 7 Stages of Creativity
Developing Your Creative Self

Creativity is the one universal ingredient of success. Creatives report higher job satisfaction and lead more fulfilling lives than any other class of people. And yet our school curricula focus on rote learning and test taking at the expense of creativity, problem-solving and higher-order thinking. Microsoft Distinguished Engineer James Whittaker shows you how to develop your creative mind and use it as the fulcrum of a lifestyle where creativity doesn't just happen, it becomes the default case for everything you do in work and life. Come to this session and learn to supercharge your creativity to make your work more interesting and your life more exciting.


How to learn faster and retain knowledge better.
How to merge your passions with your day job.
How to discover and nurture your creative biorhythms.
How to become an expert in your field.
How to turn your creativity on at will.

The Storyteller's Spellbook
Mastering the Art of Personal Expression

Boredom. Nowhere does it manifest more aggressively than in corporate conference rooms where speakers struggle to get an idea across in an engaging way. That boredom is killing those ideas, sapping audience energy and slowing down progress. Microsoft Distinguished Engineer James Whittaker has decoded the solution to engaging stage presence and cast it as a set of spells to be woven into the fabric of a presentation. Like actual spells, these techniques are activated by 1) what you say, 2) how you say it and 3) what you do while you are saying it. James presents these concepts, not by lecturing them, but by demonstrating them. Expect to be thoroughly entertained with authentic stories while you learn how to command a stage and turn an audience into a room full of believers. Whether you want to improve the story of your company, product or yourself, this course will turn you into a storytelling wizard.


How to conceive and structure a presentation for proper flow and maximum impact.
How to prepare for your presentation to conquer stage fright and ensure recall.
How to make important points stick in the minds of your audience.
How to weave story, voice modulation and movement to spellbind your audience.
How to tell your own story to improve your career.

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