"Over the past decade, Reese has quietly pioneered a new breed of media company"

“Byron Reese is typical of the new wave of internet entrepreneurs out to turn the economics of the media industry on its head.”

"Reese is a tall Texan ... who created the idea-spawning algorithm that lies at the heart of Demand's process."

“In fact, Reese says, good news has been trumping bad for some time: "We've cured childhood diseases, ended legal segregation, lengthened the average lifespan and improved the quality of life for millions of people."

Meet Byron

With 25 years as a successful tech entrepreneur, with multiple IPOs and exits along the way, Byron Reese is uniquely suited to comment on the transformative effect of technology on the workplace and on society at large. He writes books that explore the wonders of the world of tomorrow and delights audiences around the world with his vivid and energetic presentations on the future of work and life.

“The biggest problems of tomorrow will not be a lack of jobs but a shortage of humans to take advantage of all of the opportunities technology will offer.” – Byron Reese

Byron in Action

Watch the Demo Reel above and get to know Byron via a personal introduction and select clips of previous talks.

Byron keynotes at CANHEIT, Canada's National Higher Ed IT Conference, hosted by Queen's University.

Byron presents "Achieving Greatness Is A Choice," at TEDxAustin.

Byron's keynote at the PICNIC Festival in Amsterdam.

An interview with Byron on DisrupTV.

Talks on Tomorrow

Automation, AI, and the Future of Work

How will automation reshape the workplace? Will robots take all the jobs? Will artificial intelligence displace human intelligence? Are we destined to a future where we work harder and harder for less and less?

Futurist, author and technologist, Byron Reese dispels the fearful myths around these topics and describes a world where workers of all skill levels use new technology to increase their own productivity.

Byron explains, “Technology will continue to transform the workplace. That is certain. But it will do so by making humans more valuable.  The biggest problems of tomorrow will not be a lack of jobs, but a shortage of humans to take advantage of all of the opportunities technology will offer.”

While much of this talk focuses on how technology will reshape the workplace, Byron pays special attention to what workers can do today to maximize their productivity tomorrow. “A few simple rules,” he explains, “will help anyone position themselves to prosper in the world of tomorrow.”

“Workers today should be no more fearful of AI and robots than our great grandparents should have been fearful of mechanization and electricity. Those devices changed the workplace, but they did so by empowering workers, not replacing them. This is what will happen this time as well.” - Byron Reese

Robots and Jobs

Daily, the media greets readers with a variant of “THE ROBOTS ARE COMING FOR YOUR JOB!” The logic is simple: Everyday robots get smarter, learn faster, and they will never ask for a raise. But Byron believes this simplistic reasoning is entirely wrong. "Just as electricity and the assembly line weren’t bad for workers, in spite of shrill predictions otherwise, AI and robots won’t be either," he says. "In fact, they will create so many new jobs that our bigger problem will be a labor shortage."

Sharing insights from his upcoming book, "The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers and the Future of Humanity," to be released in April 2018 by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Byron invites us to explore the many advances leading to today's technological age, and then to consider the vast possibilities of the future, the coming Fourth Age.

What skills will be useful to have in the future? Which technologies should we adopt? How will technology affect the workplace, the home, and society in general?

Answering these questions, Byron suggests that the future is not going to be a frightening place where humans become displaced, but rather "one in which the things that make us human become incredibly valuable. We are entering a world of more choice and more opportunity than ever before," says Byron, and "the best response is to expand our dreams and expectations, not our fears and concerns."

Attendees can expect to gain an understanding of:

  • AI and robots
  • Why AI and robots will create jobs
  • How what makes you human makes you valuable
  • The coming labor shortage

"When 90% of people farmed, the 10% that didn't undoubtedly looked upon those that did as capable of little else. The idea that those very people could become lab techs, marketing directors, and ice sculptors would have struck them as ludicrous. 'They are just plain farmers,' would have been the common retort. But people farmed because we needed farmers, not because that was all they could do. And I believe that a great part of the workforce needs to be liberated from the drudgery of doing the work a machine can do." - Byron Reese

The Jobs of Tomorrow

While audience members once commonly asked, "What should I teach my kids to make sure they have a job in the future?” Byron says today they ask, "What do I need to learn to stay relevant in the future?" And, "How do I keep from falling behind?" Everyone agrees that technology is changing the world. The question is how should we change in response to it? In this talk, Byron tells the story of technology's advancement from the invention of language until today. He explores what's to come in the next decade, and examines what we as individuals can do to make the most of changing times.

What skills are useful to have in the future? Which technologies should we adopt? How will technology affect the workplace, the home, and society in general? In this empowering talk, Byron suggests that the future is not going to be a frightening place where humans become displaced, but rather "one in which the things that make us human become incredibly valuable."

"We are entering a world of more choice and more opportunity than ever before, and the best response is to expand our dreams and expectations, not our fears and concerns." - Byron Reese

These highly customizable talks may be tailored to specific industries or presented to a general audience.

How to Innovate in a Rapidly Changing World

No matter your industry, you probably have a sense that you are in one of those radical disruptive periods where everything seems to be changing. You may be wondering when it is all going to settle down so you can take a bit of a breather. 

In this talk, futurist, author, and technologist, Byron Reese explores how businesses operating in industries undergoing dramatic changes can prosper and be successful. While traditional futurists seldom bridge the gap between “here is what is going to happen” and “here is how you capitalize on it,” Byron explores how it is that radical technology advancement creates new multi-billion dollar companies, and destroys old ones.

What would you have foreseen seven years ago? There were no self-driving cars or Apple watches. Would you have seen the transformative effect that tablets and smartphones would have? The next seven years will have much more change than the prior seven years. We know this. And this is the change for which we need to prepare.

Attendees can expect to learn:

  • How to profit in times of great change
  • How to innovate in a rapidly changing world
  • How AI and big data will change business
  • How to use AI in business ... without a data scientist

"Think about AT&T, 3M, NCR and Geico. They are all acronyms. And if you know what they stand for, you will notice something interesting: None of them simply do the thing that is in their name. These companies transformed themselves. And yet, why doesn’t Blockbuster own streaming video? Why doesn’t Kodak dominate in the digital camera world? These cases, and many more like it, are examples of entrenched companies failing to adopt a transformative technology." - Byron Reese

These highly customizable talks may be tailored to specific industries or presented to a general audience.

The Fourth Age: Answering the Big Questions of Tomorrow

Our present age is grappling with big questions around technology: What is really possible with artificial intelligence? Should we fear it or welcome it? Will robots take all the jobs, and if they did, would that be a good thing? Can computers achieve consciousness, and if so, do they then acquire rights?

In a talk from his upcoming book, "The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity," futurist, author, and technologist, Byron Reese identifies these as fundamentally philosophical, not technical, questions. Instead of telling the audience what he thinks, he teaches them how to apply their own beliefs and values to them to come up with their own answers.

Byron then proceeds to tell the story of technology over the last 100,000 years, focusing on three times in the past when we created a technology so profound that it permanently altered our bodies and minds, changing the trajectory of human history in a dramatic way. Byron believes that humanity is about to be so transformed a fourth time, due to artificial intelligence and robots.

"As humans progressively “outsource” our cognitive activity to computers and our physical activity to machines, once again we will be permanently changed, and in this Fourth Age, humanity will embark on the next stage of its evolution, towards a better world for everyone." - Byron Reese

This talk overflows with reasoned optimism and is suitable for all audiences, as its focus is not specific technologies, but how to think about technology.

The Next Seven Years

What would you have foreseen seven years ago? There were no self-driving cars or Apple watches. Would you have seen the transformative effect that tablets and smartphones would have?

"The next seven years will have much more change than the prior seven years. We know this. And this is the change we need to begin preparing for." - Byron Reese

This talk overflows with reasoned optimism and is suitable for all audiences, as its focus is not specific technologies, but how to think about technology.

The Coming Golden Age of Humanity

The world has, throughout human history, changed. Almost always, this change is for the better. Through civilization, we have raised life expectancy, the standard of living, access to education, and political liberty. How has this change been brought about?

Futurist, author, and technologist, Byron Reese explains the change is driven largely by the actions of individuals driven to change the world. This talk focuses on how that change happens and looks at how virtually any individual can literally have a worldwide effect on the history of the planet.

On this topic, Byron demonstrates how current technological changes will ultimately bring about the end of poverty, disease, hunger, ignorance, and war. Additionally, Byron explores how these historical problems of humanity are fundamentally problems of technology, and thus will have technological solutions, solutions we will find much sooner than is commonly believed.

Attendees can expect to learn:

  • Why the gloom and doomers always get it wrong
  • How technology will transform the world
  • What is needed to end misery and want; disease and death
  • What to expect from the coming golden age of humanity

We are entering a world of more choice and more opportunity than ever before, and the best response is to expand our dreams and expectations, not our fears and concerns. - Byron Reese

These highly customizable talks may be tailored to specific industries or presented to a general audience.

Education in the 21st Century

How should education change? How will it? What skills will ensure that a person can economically contribute in a world of radical technological change?

In this talk, futurist, author, and technologist, Byron Reese answers these questions and explains that the University system is a 12th Century French invention that remains to this day largely unchanged from it origins in the Middle Ages. "Our K-12 system is a 19th Century German invention designed to produce homogenous factory workers," he says. "It too remains unchanged since the late 1800s. Now, we find ourselves in a world that has changed in ways no one expected. Now, the two most important job skills are the ability to independently learn new skills and working collaboratively with a team, neither of which are taught in our existing framework."

Attendees can expect to learn:

  • How education will be different in the next decade
  • What skills will be needed in a technical future
  • How to spot a robot-proof job
  • What a 21st Century education could look like

"Our world is full of countless institutions, each of which evolved over that long history to fill a specific purpose. The institutions upon which our world rests will play a big part in how the future unfolds."

- Byron Reese

These highly customizable talks may be tailored to specific industries or presented to a general audience.

Byron in Print

"The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers and the Future of humanity"

As the CEO of Gigaom, one of the world’s most respected technology research companies, Byron has spent the better part of his life exploring the interplay of technology with human history.

Today, he explains, we are grappling with big questions around technology: What is possible with artificial intelligence? Should we fear it or welcome it? Will robots take all the jobs, and if they do, would that be a good thing? Can computers achieve consciousness, and if so, do they then acquire rights?"

In "The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers and the Future of Humanity," Byron identifies these as fundamentally philosophical, not technical questions, and in doing so, invites the reader to consider these from that vantage point, beginning with the question, “Are humans machines?”

"The Fourth Age" then proceeds to tell the story of technology over the last 100,000 years, focusing on three times in the past when humanity created a technology so profound, says Byron "that it permanently altered our bodies and minds, changing the trajectory of human history in a dramatic way."

Byron believes that humanity is about to be so transformed a fourth time, due to artificial intelligence and robots. "As we progressively 'outsource' our cognitive activity to computers and our physical activity to machines, once again we will be permanently changed, and in this Fourth Age, humanity will embark on the next stage of its evolution," he says.

In captivating and clear language, Byron explores the wide-ranging implications of the Fourth Age as he tackles the questions of artificial general intelligence, employment, automation, creative computers, consciousness, radical life extension, income inequality, artificial life, AI ethics, the future of warfare, superintelligence, and the implications of extreme prosperity. He eschews simple dogmatic answers to these complex questions and analyzes the basic assumptions that undergird each one. Thus, "The Fourth Age" doesn’t foist the opinions of the author but offers a framework for understanding how technology and human history come together to create the future.

This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to move beyond the warring viewpoints of techno-pundits towards a methodology for answering the questions that we now face. Consider it a guidebook to the future that readers can turn to again and again as we rocket towards this fourth species-changing rendezvous with technology.

Available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, and Indie Bound, "The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers and the Future of Humanity," will be released in April 2018 by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and translated versions will appear in several Asian and European languages shortly thereafter.

 

Reviews

The Washington Post

"In fact. Reese says good news has been trumping bad for some time. 'We've cured childhood diseases, ended legal segregation, lengthened the average lifespan and improved quality of life for millions of people'..."

Austin American Stateman

"‘Infinite Progress’ author has endless optimism."

Stephen Wolfram, Founder & CEO of Wolfram Research, creator of Mathematica & A New Kind of Science, and creator of Wolfram|Alpha"

"Infinite Progress is a prophetic book that deserves to be widely read. Drawing on Byron Reese’s insights about both technology and history, its energetic optimism about the future is a wonderful inspiration."

Stephen Wolfram

Founder & CEO of Wolfram Research, creator of Mathematica & A New Kind of Science, and creator of Wolfram|Alpha

Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature

“This is a valuable book – an antidote to the harmful gloom and moralizing that pervades most discussions of the future, and a beacon showing us the paths we should take.”

Steven Pinker

Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of, "The Better Angels of Our Nature."

GoodReads.com

"With a rational and researched optimism, Reese sees the future not as a world in a downward spiral, but as destined for progress beyond our imaginations. If you want to get excited about the future, then this is the book for you."

ReadingGluton.blogspot.com

"...an informative, well-argued breath of fresh air." "Infinite Progress is chock full of great ideas."

 

AudioFile's Earphones Award Winner 2013

"...this audiobook is packed with so many great facts, anecdotes, and sideways perspectives—if the Internet were a person, it wouldn’t be old enough to buy a beer—that you’ll find yourself quoting from it at the next water cooler gathering ... Highly recommended for both cynics and optimists."

AudioFile's Earphones Award Winner 2013

"Infinite Progress: How the Internet and Technology Will End Ignorance, Disease, Poverty, Hunger, and War"

Gloom-and-doom pessimists have it all wrong. This objective look at the trajectory of history, technology, and civilization shows that we are about to enter a great new epoch of human existence, a golden age like we have never seen; a world free of ignorance, disease, poverty, hunger, and war.

With the art of a storyteller, Byron synthesizes history, technology, and sociology into an exciting, fast-moving narrative showing how new technology has had dramatic effects on humanity in the past. He then looks forward at the technological changes we know are coming–from genetics, nanotechnology, robotics, and many other fields–and explores how they will vastly increase wealth, prolong our lifespans, redefine human rights, and alter the social fabric of the world.

With a rational and researched optimism, Byron sees the future not as a world in a downward spiral, but as destined for progress beyond our imaginations.

“When we invented email, everyone started writing. We made blogs, and a hundred million people started typing. YouTube was created, and millions of us started making video. Add product reviews to the Internet, and people started weighing in, billions of times. It turns out we all have a desire to create and be heard. We just didn’t have tools before.” - Byron Reese

Byron's Latest

AI Minute

Gigaom brings you the AI Minute. A one-minute daily podcast hosted by Byron. Available on Gigaom.com, iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Alexa.

Listen Now

Voices in AI

Byron’s one-hour podcast featuring one-on-one chats with the leading thinkers in artificial intelligence. Coming soon.

Coming Soon

National Geographic

"How We Will Age Within 20 Years" by Byron Reese

Read Now

Get in touch or Book a Talk Here 

Get in touch with Byron

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