Richard Yonck Profile

  • Richard Yonck is a global futurist and consultant.

  • He is an international keynote speaker and best-selling author who guides audiences on a journey into the future in order to explore the potential impacts of emerging trends and technologies on business, industry and society.

  • The author of books on the future of AI, Richard is a clear-headed guide on artificial intelligence.
  • Richard Yonck is a futurist and best-selling author who has given keynote speeches to global audiences about the transformative power of technology. He is a highly sought-after speaker who draws on his experience as an entrepreneur and executive in the technology sector to provide a unique perspective on how innovation is changing our lives and businesses.

    Since 2007, Richard has been the lead futurist at Intelligent Future Consulting, a futurist enterprise that focuses on emerging trends and technologies and their implications for industry and government.

    He has more than 30 years of experience as a Systems Analyst Programmer for Acumen Computer Services and over a decade of experience as a Science Program Writer, Editor and Videographer for Crosswind Productions. He served as a Computing/AI Contributing Editor for The Futurist magazine and an Executive Board Member/Treasurer for the Association of Professional Futurists.

    As a keynote speaker, Richard has lectured extensively at various universities and colleges around the world, including Georgetown University, University of Washington, University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and University of Turku (Finland).

    In 2020, Richard published Future Minds, an investigation into the numerous ways in which our world is growing increasingly intelligent. This book is a follow-up to the 2017 Heart of the Machine, which examines the evolution of computers and robots and their ability to recognise, interpret and respond to emotional stimuli. Both books focus on the future of artificial intelligence and are international bestsellers.

    As a leading expert and pioneer in emerging technologies and trends, Richard has written for top publications such as Fast Company, World Future Review, GeekWire, Scientific American, Salon, and American Cinematographer. His work has been featured and quoted in other publications such as Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The New York Times, BBC News, Wired, Puget Sound Business Journal, Singularity Hub and Investor’s Business Daily. He has also made guest appearances on radio programs and podcasts.

    Richard is a keynote speaker who has appeared at various speaking conferences, including TEDx, where he examines emerging technologies across all sectors, from agriculture to education, healthcare, government, and information technology. By exploring potential scenarios and changes in emerging technologies and envisioning unanticipated consequences of those changes, Richard has helped companies such as Samsung, Amazon and Xero identify their preferred futures.

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    Richard Yonck's Speech Descriptions

    Artificial Intelligence: Our 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?

    Building the Innovation Ecosystems 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

    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.

    The Future is Human: Finding Our Way in an Everchanging World

    How can we ensure the future remains conducive to human life, values and experience? Explore the challenges and strategies that will help us become good stewards of the future.

    Propelling Mobility: Where is the Future of Transportation Taking Us?

    New transportation technologies will rapidly transform our cities, commerce and society. With everything from autonomous vehicles and micromobility to delivery drones and urban air mobility, what are the implications for infrastructure, vehicle ownership models, regulation and more?

    Building Your Organization’s Future Resilience

    The 2020 pandemic broke the global supply chain and experts say it will be five years before it’s fully functional again. How can we improve our future resilience to better weather the next worldwide crisis?

    Cultivating AgriTech: The Future of a Growth Industry

    One of civilization’s oldest activities is being transformed by 21st century technology. From vertical farms to artificial pollinators to Impossible proteins, how will AgriTech help us save the planet?

    What People are Saying about Seeing Richard Speak

    Rating Entries

    “The response on the day was very positive and our survey confirmed that people found your insights both engaging and rewarding. That’s no surprise to us, of course, and I hope you know how much we appreciate your contribution!”
    – Katarzyna Rymaszewska, Event Coordinator

    “I have to tell you that we are getting very positive feedback about the Conference and your keynote! Thank you again, so very much!!”
    – Cheryl Oncea, Event Producer

    “A brilliant talk! Richard has a wonderful way of explaining complex concepts that are critical to our understanding of how humans and machines can work together. He really got everyone thinking more deeply about these important topics.”
    – Tim Stock, Associate Professor

    “I believe your speech inspired many startups and attendees. Your participation made the event even more successful. I’m looking to forward working with you for startup ecosystem, and I hope to see you more often in Busan!”
    – Michael Kim, Director, Busan TechnoPark

    “Your presentation was absolutely great!”
    – Soo Nam, Exhibition Team Manager

    “Your presentation on anticipatory governance was so helpful to us, as was your guidance with our new curriculum.”
    – Dai Nguyen Van

    “Thank you for joining us. You inspired everyone!”
    – Giang Tran, Head of Experimentation, UNDP Vietnam

    “Thank you for your valuable insights!”
    – Luong Nguyen, Head of Solutions Mapping, UNDP Vietnam

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    Books by Richard Yonck:

    Future Minds: The Rise of Intelligence from the Big Bang to the End of the Universe

    For Readers of Michio Kaku and Stephen Hawking, an Epic Journey through the Intelligent Universe

    With the ongoing advancement of AI and other technologies, our world is becoming increasingly intelligent. From chatbots to innovations in brain-computer interfaces to the possibility of superintelligences later this century, our reality is being transformed before our eyes. This is commonly seen as the natural result of progress, but what if there’s more to it than that? What if intelligence is an inevitability, an underlying property of the universe?

    In Future Minds, Richard Yonck challenges our assumptions about intelligence–what it is, how it came to exist, its place in the development of life on Earth and possibly throughout the cosmos. Taking a Big History perspective–over the 14 billion years from the Big Bang to the present and beyond–he draws on recent developments in physics and complexity theory to explore the questions: Why do pockets of increased complexity develop, giving rise to life, intelligence, and civilization? How will it grow and change throughout this century, transforming both technology and humanity? As we expand outward from our planet, will we discover other forms of intelligence, or will we conclude we are destined to go it alone? Drawing on conversations with scientists and researchers at the forefront of AI, physics, cognitive neuroscience, complexity and other fields, Future Minds seeks to understand where all of this has come from and more importantly, where it is headed.

    Heart of the Machine: Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence

    Imagine a robotic stuffed animal that can respond to a child’s emotional state, a commercial that can change based on a customer’s facial expression, or even a company that can create feelings as though a person were experiencing them naturally. Heart of the Machine explores the world of affective computing and the next giant step in the relationship between people and technology: computers that can recognize, respond to, and even replicate emotions.

    Futurist Richard Yonck argues that emotions–the first, most basic, and most natural form of communication–are how we will soon interact with our technologies. And that instilling emotional awareness into computers is the next leap in our centuries-old obsession with creating machines that replicate humans.

    But with every step forward, there are pitfalls. Technology that can manipulate our feelings could open doors to unprecedented levels of mass control. And there is still our deep-seated anxiety about what might happen if machines could actually feel–only to break free from our control.

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