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Sophie Hackford

Global Technology Futurist

Sophie Hackford is a futurist. She has given hundreds of provocative talks to boards and executive teams on novel science and technology. Her clients come from every industry, although the best questions have, so far, come from audiences of schoolchildren.

Sophie looks at how technologies change how we live, work, transact, and love by weaving together complex developments in quantum computing, AI, data, asteroid mining or virtual reality. She learns by visiting weirdos and troublemakers in labs, makerspaces, and garages around the world. And despite very real threats, Sophie is an optimist about the future.

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Fee Range: $25,000 - $40,000

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A metaverse may emerge, where we live out aspects of our lives in data-powered simulations. This requires a new mental model of the internet, taking into account digital objects, currencies, identities, experiences.

Whether allowing us to merge with a piece of music or work with synthetic colleagues, metaverse technologies are more than just NFTs or cryptocurrencies. They are an opportunity to do impossible things and solve impossible problems.

Furthermore, autonomy is powered by simulation technologies – only if born digitally and tested in a virtual proving ground, can robots live and work alongside us.

As we gradually build up simulation infrastructure – avatar versions of warehouses, or container ports –  we can then stitch such digital twins together in a ‘twinternet’. This internet of simulations would allow us to step inside our critical systems (supply chains, electric grid, health system, a city, or even the human body) and run/monitor them remotely?

It’s the simulations’ world, we’re just living in it…

Sophie explores planetary scale computation, where our familiar devices disappear, liberated by AI.

The world itself then becomes a computer.

In this computer world, we become the interface. Screens and keyboards give way to robotic landscapes, homes, offices, that are constantly sensing: watching, listening, talking and making decisions. Here we ‘meet’ the AIs for the first time, powered by massive flows of data.

As we build this shadow world, with digital replicas of airports, factories, even our bodies, Sophie ponders the profound questions that emerge as we hook up to the machine.

Web3 technologies (NFTs, blockchain, etc.) promise to help the internet ‘earn back our trust’. Sophie explores how advances in identity, privacy, consent, security technologies are the essence of this next generation of the internet. She explores the opportunities presented by autonomous companies, or avatar commerce, made possible by new internet architectures.

She looks beyond the hype to think critically how these new – distributed – technologies can provide business value.

Biography

Sophie Hackford is a futurist, business builder, and speaker, synthesizing explosive and interconnected technology and science breakthroughs from around the world. From satellite swarms to artificial intelligence (AI) demonstrating intuition, we are becoming entangled with machines and will be surprised by the consequences.

Sophie’s talks are designed to create enthusiasm and constructive dialogue around emerging technologies, which are often viewed with fear and inertia by the business community. She wants to help audiences ask big questions about the future and tries to provoke positive debate amongst decision makers. Sophie Hackford gave more than 50 talks in 2016 from Seoul to Miami, chaired panels, conducted interviews (including with the chief futurist at the FBI), and curated conferences on the future.

Sophie Hackford is currently on an under-the-radar research program, to discover extraordinary breakthroughs and investigate the social contexts in which they are built and used. The curriculum requires spending time in creative communities, new markets, and universities—weather satellites in Buenos Aires, eGaming in Scandinavia, drones in China, astropreneurs in LA. The aim is to map these technologies over shifting demographics, economics, geopolitics, and hopefully provide a richer understanding of the interconnected challenges and opportunities ahead.

She previously launched and ran WIRED magazine’s consulting business, bringing the entrepreneurs building the future into boardrooms. Sophie Hackford spent two years in Silicon Valley working at Singularity University, a group based at a NASA research park tasked with understanding and harnessing exponential technologies. Prior to California, she worked at Oxford University, bringing more than $120m of investment to a futures research group called the Oxford Martin School. She speaks regularly for corporate audiences on our explosive tech future.

 

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