Gerd Leonhard


About Gerd Leonhard - Futurist, Visionary Thinker, Keynote Speaker and Author:

Gerd Leonhard is listed by Wired Magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in Europe (2015), his work focusses on the future of humanity and technology, digital transformation, big data, automation, AI and robotics, media, content, marketing and advertising, telecommunications, culture and tourism, banking and financial services, government and leadership. In his keynotes, presentations, workshops and advisory sessions Gerd often addresses topics such as digital darwinism and the challenges of digital transformation, the redefinition of human-machine relationships, the future of work and jobs, privacy in the era of big data, the sharing economy, and many more. His presentations are renowned for a hard-hitting and provocative yet inspiring, humorous and motivating style.

Gerd is a much sought-after speaker, having presented at more than 1,500 events in 40+ countries since 2005. His list of clients include Google, Sony, UBS, Mastercard, Unilever, Lloyds Bank, WWF, Nokia, The Guardian, Telkom Indonesia, Siemens, RTL, ITV, BBC, France Telecom, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, MTN, The Financial Times, DDB, Ogilvy, Omnicom, The EU Commission, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, VISA, and many others. Gerd Leonhard is a member of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA, London). He resides in Zürich, Switzerland.

Gerd is a global citizen of the future who spends his life travelling through worldwide meetings, workshops and conferences on transformational change. A star speaker on topics of major strategic importance – from digital disruption to business remodeling to specific vertical scenarios across public and private sectors, Gerd is a rare hybrid of artist and scientist, with a pioneering background in digital music ecosystems and a head start in the disruption game. For the last fifteen years he has been the first choice in business leaders’ minds for inspirational and paradigm-shifting advice. Gerd presents both in English as well as in German language.

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What Gerd Leonhard Talks About:

Technology vs Humanity?
In this groundbreaking new talk based on his latest book Technology vs Humanity, Gerd addresses the “future shocks” that lie in wait for humanity as it tumbles into a world of Big Data / Tech / AI dominance. This impactful presentation at the intersection of technology and ethics will engage your audience way beyond their daily concerns, and challenge the very core of being human – our shared values, beliefs and desire for happiness. This talk is an always-evolving continuation of Gerd’s best-selling new book, and explores the coming clash of machine and mankind in detail – one that will make all other ‘industrial revolutions’ seem like kindergarten.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) And The Future Of Humanity
Artificial Intelligence has become a global buzzword, and investments in AI, machine/deep learning and many related fields are exploding. The excitement is clearly infectious yet many leading scientists and technologists have voiced grave concerns about controlling AI, or rather, AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), and an AI-arms-race between the U.S. and China seems almost inevitable. At the same time, the benefit of Intelligent Assistance (IA) and so-called narrow AI holds huge promise for all sectors of business and industry, such as in financial services and banking, healthcare and medical, logistics, smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT), in general. In this talk, Gerd outlines his 7-year view of the opportunities and challenges of AI, with a particular focus on what the implications for our society and culture as well as for humanity overall might be. Technology is morally neutral until we apply it – and we apply it everywhere, now!

Human-Machine Relationships – Are You On Team Human?
Perhaps the most burning issue facing humanity is our ever-deepening relationship with computers, bots, devices, robots and machines that increasingly surround our lives, everywhere and at all times. Humans and ‘intelligent machines’ are increasingly interconnecting and overlapping; and some Silicon Valley pundits may even argue that a full symbiosis of man and machines is near. The Internet of Things (IoT) is already here, and AI has become a global buzzword. But how will we – as linear and utterly inefficient beings – cope with this increasing empowerment of software and machines, and this global tsunami of real-time information? What will happen to our values and ethics in a world of ultra-smart intelligent agents, AI and the coming ‘singularity’? Most importantly, how will we define a good man-machine balance, going forward, and how will we keep humans-in-the loop?

Man And Machine: Is It Heaven Or Is It Hell?
In an era when machines are not only taking our jobs but are starting to run our lives, as well, how will we respond to the unprecedented economic, societal and ethical questions that this human-machine symbiosis will raise? Exponential technological change is impacting our lives at every turn, and Intelligent Digital Agents (IDAs) and bots are about to become as normal as smartphones. What will it mean to be human in the near future? What will happen to work and jobs, to our social contracts and ethics, and to the way we do business? HellVen (Hell+Heaven) challenges and opportunities will abound: this could be heaven based on total abundance that may create a kind of ‘Startrek-Economy’, or it could just as easily be a dystopian hell – depending on how we prepare and lead with foresight, today. What do we need to do to make sure our future is mostly heaven, collectively? What are the political consequences, and what about regulation, treaties and agreements?

The Digital Transformation Of Business And Society
Successful businesses always maintain a constant conversation about the future: what lessons need to be operationalized today in order to avoid future irrelevance or worse, extinction? It is essential to understand that everything that can be digitized, automated or virtualised, will be. Cognification, automation, disintermediation and robotization are now taking place across all industries, not just in media, content and marketing. Digital transformation – going from an analog or semi-digital world to a digitally-native world – is certain to be the #1 challenge-opportunity in the next 5-7 years. How can people and companies become better at understanding, and move faster to implement the transformations that are required? How will a company or an organization prosper in a world that is quickly becoming inter-connected and interdependent? What skills and mindsets will we need, and what should remain human even if it is inefficient?

The Megashifts – The Next 7 years In Technology, Business And Society
The leading global technology brands and digital platforms are growing faster than ever before, while many incumbent enterprises and brands are forced to ‘pivot’ and dramatically reinvent themselves, or face sudden disintermediation and irrelevance – the car industry makes for the best possible example for this challenge, right now. In this session, Gerd looks at how to go beyond this Darwinian phase of ‘Cybermorphosis’ and evolve into a future-ready organization (using a process that Gerd likes to call ‘futurizing‘). Exponential technological progress is fuelling a multitude of combinatorial developments such as The Internet of Things (IoT), AI, deep learning and robotics, the re-definition of privacy and security, new human-machine interfaces (such as voice-control and intelligent bots), the total reboot of marketing and advertising and the rise of smart-cloud-everything-everywhere (i.e. content, money, education, health, transportation etc). Plus, in this coming decade we may also need to examine the future meaning of ‘capitalism’ based on interdependence and eco-systematic thinking rather than on traditional profit & growth paradigms.

In this riveting talk, Gerd depicts the key trends and reveals the likely minefields and identifies the key opportunities, dishing up a mixture of future-shock and awesomeness to stimulate some serious thinking.

From Disruption To Construction: Futurizing Your Business
In this dynamic talk, Gerd delivers the immersion and the excitement that is often necessary to truly futurize your business or organization, and to challenge and change established mindsets, toxic assumptions or satisfied attitudes. Understanding that the ‘digital default’ is becoming the new normal is often crucial to the process of constructing a new future. Angling for quick disruptions is no longer sufficient: everything and everyone is getting connected, everywhere and at all times; mobile devices have already become our external brains while bots and intelligent assistants are next – connected devices are now truly becoming the ‘the extension of man’. This coming hyper-networked society will not just change the very definition of ownership, property and control, but business models in general will become increasingly transient rather than permanent and predictable. How can you get ready for this kind of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity (VUCA) future, personally and professionally? How will you move beyond disruption towards constructing a truly sustainable future?

Leading Into The Future
Enterprise leadership has until now been largely based on military examples – hence the chief “officers” of various kinds. But because of exponential technological developments, leadership is changing in radical ways, as well. How can you grasp the changing nature of your role above and beyond shareholder value? What human skills will you need to evolve alongside the strategic, financial or technological and engineering ones you may have already mastered? And how can you leave backward-looking, or ‘toxic-assumption’ – decision-making behind and start deploying a future mindset? In this new talk, Gerd Leonhard addresses a world of leadership where most of the old models are suddenly obsolete, and delivers inspirational precepts from the parallel worlds of imagination and invention.

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 Recent Publications

Working with Gerd was an excellent experience, and he definitely pushed our executives’ thinking forward. Not only did he outline major technological and societal trends affecting our business, he did so in a way that was engaging and personal.

VP, Inter Public Group (IPG), Global Talent Management

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