Understanding the impacts of emerging technologies on business and society isn’t just about becoming familiar with the latest gadgets or AI like generative programs ChatGPT and DALL-E.
In the 21st century, says Azeem Azhar – futurist, prize-winning technology analyst, founder of the popular Exponential View newsletter and podcast, and host of “Exponentially” on Bloomberg TV – it’s critical that leaders anticipate how technology on the fringes will change the world in the not-too-distant future.
A former corporate executive and a top advisor to business, government and societal leaders and current Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University, Azhar possesses unmatched expertise on exponential technologies – including AI, computing, climate tech and synthetic biology – that are leading the transformation of the world economy, business and society over the next 20 to 30 years.
Having been involved in emerging technologies as a researcher, investor and regulator since the early 1990s, his instant bestseller, “The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society” (2021), lays out a framework for thinking about a future that business and government leaders have no choice but to embrace as they plan forward.
Highly praised by executives at Spotify, LinkedIn and Accenture, as well as by economists and academics alike, “The Exponential Age” was named to best-of lists for 2021 by the Financial Times, London Times, MIT Technology Review and Harvard Business Review. A venture capitalist whose tech expertise is highly sought-after by governments, consultancies and financial firms around the world, Azhar has been a senior advisor to Hong Kong’s mass transit authority, MTR, consulted on AI and advanced technologies at Accenture and McKinsey & Co., and he’s advised PwC on climate technologies.
“We’re in the midst of a rapid and radical societal shift that’s being driven by a series of exponential technologies transforming how we live and interact with each other and the world around us,” explains Azhar, who was named to the Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2022.
“They are taking off at the same time, launching us into a whole new world that will challenge the economic and social fabric of business and society in chaotic ways, including how we work and learn.”
A Guide to Futureproofing Your Organization
With so many technologies developing and scaling quickly, leaders need to be able to cut through the noise to focus on which technologies they’ll need to directly contend with. Azhar excels as an executive’s key advisor by providing a methodology for understanding complex technologies, how those technologies will impact an industry or organization, and how leaders can act now to futureproof their companies.
“Decision makers need to understand the muscle they’ll need to exercise as they journey toward the future. There’s no magic pill,” Azhar cautions. “Artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, renewable energy and other innovations in technology and science are maturing rapidly. My work is focused on helping companies, governments and individuals understand and prepare for the future, leverage the best of what’s coming, and maintain their footing along the way.”
Breakthrough Technologies Will Transform the World Economy
As the world goes through a time of uncertainty regarding energy prices, manufacturing and supply chain efficiency, Azhar foresees a coming abundance of energy, products and computation thanks to investments in deep technology. Through emerging technologies like communications networks, sensors, renewable electricity and vertical farming, Azhar sees a bright future for humanity.
“We are on a path, if we choose, to a future of an excess of energy,” Azhar explains. “Which means lower energy prices, which means we can afford to do the carbon transition, which means we can afford to invest in public good.”
A high energy, engaging presenter, Azhar uses personal anecdotes and humor to empathetically connect with diverse audiences, from C-suite executives to frontline developers and users of emerging technologies. Audiences are left with memorable frameworks to see the world and where it’s going in an optimistic light.
“I want to help people think like ‘exponentialists’,” he says. “The old rule books and business books don’t necessarily apply anymore. The key principles for navigating the future are experimentation, learning, forgiveness and self-restraint.”
As technology accelerates, leaders must ensure their organizations are seizing the opportunities that come from AI. Stern Strategy Group connects you with renowned thought leaders whose insights, strategies and management frameworks help organizations fuel growth and disruptive innovation to better compete in a constantly changing world. Let us arrange for these esteemed experts to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting sessions, workshops and keynotes.