In a world quickly spinning out of control, Dr. Chris Kutarna is a lone point of balance and clarity. Chris rips up the outdated mental maps that have served us so poorly in recent years—maps that led us to think that Brexit was impossible, that Trump was unelectable, that globalization was irreversible, that China’s democratization was inevitable, that facts were incontrovertible.
Chris draws a fresh map—one that describes the new world we’re in now—so that you, your organization, your profession or industry or country, can captain humanity’s voyage to a second Renaissance.
Chris Kutarna is the co-author of Age of Discovery: Navigating the Storms of Our Second Renaissance, a best-selling, internationally acclaimed book published by Bloomsbury and St Martin’s Press in eight languages. Among other predictions, Dr. Chris Kutarna accurately predicted Brexit and the election of Donald Trump points out that “history rhymes,” where historical patterns of human behavior can be applied to present-day movements. He uses maps as a metaphor to explain his thinking and says that we need to renew our societal maps to shape our future by “looking at the world with a lens that is updated.
In late 2018, Chris launched the Renaissance Expedition: a global journey to find, connect, support and challenge the pathfinders who are leading society and business into the new world. The non-profit Expedition convenes invite-only “basecamps” around the world. The first, held in North America, brought together Nobel Laureates, award-winning artists and singers, billionaires, disadvantaged youth and other leaders to shake up their own paradigms and make new maps together.
Chris is the lead-off presenter for two of the three flagship Executive Education programs at Oxford Saïd Business School—the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme and the Oxford Advanced Management & Leadership Programme. (Oxford’s flagship programs are currently ranked #2 in the world by Financial Times.)
Chris’ monthly essays (published at www.kutarna.net) are read by thousands of senior executives, journalists, academics, policymakers and business leaders.
He has been a two-time Governor General’s Medallist, a Commonwealth Scholar, and a Fellow of the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University. Chris consulted with BCG in New Zealand, Australia, and China. Chris holds a doctorate in Politics (of China) from the University of Oxford, started a business in Beijing, and speaks Mandarin.
“AI: History, Hype, Hysteria—and Hope ”
Chris’ latest offering is “AI: History, Hype, Hysteria—and Hope”.
A.I. is an emerging general-purpose technology. It will be widely adopted. It will present new opportunities for action inside your organization—and in your own role—every single day. The returns on A.I. literacy, and the costs of A.I. ignorance will likewise accrue daily.
Dr Chris Kutarna is a synthesizer and sense-maker. In this talk, he makes sense of “Artificial Intelligence” in a way that helps you and your team to lead the development, adoption and consequences of emerging algorithmic technologies in your organization and in society.
Chris’ keynote answers four big questions to help non-specialists lead through the AI storm:
- History: How has AI suddenly become a dominant issue in our field of vision?
- Hype: What is real within the present-day mix of fear, enthusiasm, and ignorance about AI—and what is just marketing aimed at profiting from those emotions?
- Hysteria: What are the real possibilities and risks of an AI-rich future?
- Hope: AI is going to take over many mundane tasks that humanity manufactured for itself over 200 years of industrialization. AI might unburden us from a lot of those. That presents society with some big choices. Will we recognize those choices? Will we make them? Which way will we choose?
Along the way, Chris will:
- Translate A.I. gobbledygook into plain concepts you’re already familiar with, enabling you to bring more of your own intuitions and experience to bear when assessing A.I. opportunities, threats and investments
- Help you understand what data scientists and their algorithms are actually doing, using a bag of everyday objects (plus some gummie bears)
- Renew your appreciation for human intelligence, and make plain the vital role of executive leadership and foresight to correct AI’s inherent shortsightedness and avoid some big strategic errors. Chris will highlight the big mistakes that an artificial idea of intelligence has already led other executives to make.
As a result of this keynote experience, your organization will widen the group of people who can convene strategic conversations and make strategic decisions about AI.
Additional talks available:
“How to See the Future”
- I explode two myths that commonly cloud our foresight: that the future is linear, and that it will be a technological utopia. ‘What's left is a simple, powerful truth: we never arrive to the future. Instead, whether through our action or inaction, we are creating the future ourselves—right now, and all the time.’
- Pushing that insight beyond its trite motivational qualities, I apply it to set better expectations about our own future by studying what humanity created out of similar circumstances in the past.
- With a depth that varies with the talk’s duration, I develop the comparison between the ‘First Renaissance’ and today and offer lessons from that past to help us navigate the present.
“Our Age of Discovery and How to Navigate It”
- I open by recognizing that to understand the human story, yes, we need the best available facts and analyses, but we also need a strong imagination to weave the threads together into a coherent whole.
- I expertly canvass major demographic, economic, and technological trends shaping the world today. I argue two broad conclusions: that this is the best time in history to be alive, and simultaneously the most fragile.
- Having empowered my audience with a solid fact-base for this perspective on the present, I then equip them to navigate these twin truths successfully by drawing upon wisdom gained the last time humanity faced these twin, conflicting conditions: the Age of Discovery
“Navigating The A.I. Storm”
- Translate AI gobbledygook into plain concepts you’re already familiar with, enabling you to bring all your intuitions and experience to bear when assessing AI opportunities, threats and investments
- Actually teach you the key “algorithms” and “architectures” that power the most popular AI applications today, using nothing but a bag of everyday objects (no math required!)
- Separate the self-serving hype of AI evangelists and VCs from the genuinely breakthrough applications and possibilities
- Shatter our collective “AI delusion”—namely, that machine intelligence is superior because it doesn’t suffer from the same computational limits that humans do
- Renew your appreciation for human intelligence and make plain the vital role of executive leadership and foresight to correct AI’s inherent shortsightedness. Chris will tear apart the most common AI assumptions and highlight the big mistakes that this artificial idea of intelligence has already led executives across many industries to make:
- The assumption that math & statistics can fully capture human phenomena and social values. They cannot;
- The assumption that the data we feed into algorithms, or the algorithm itself, is value-free and unbiased. They are not;
- The assumption that rational calculation trumps emotional or intuitive judgment. It does not;
- The assumption that the past is the best predictor of the future—especially in times of radical uncertainty. It is not;
- The assumption that we should aim to optimize complex systems. We should not. Rather we should aim to keep the most number of options open, while still maintaining stability.
“Leadership in the Second Renaissance”
On this journey, Chris:
- Pulls you out of your immediate context and helps you see the big picture of the moment we’re all in—a rare, renaissance moment
- Clarifies the fundamental task that leaders face today—to make new maps that help your business, your industry or your society navigate to a new and different world
- Illustrates, with historical examples drawn from his research and with live contemporary stories drawn from his ongoing Renaissance Expedition, the profound new possibilities that open up when leaders redraw the maps we all navigate by
- Strengthens your own mapmaking powers, by exercising your capacity to shift perspectives and to forget the old maps that hold you (and your team/organization) back
- Brings you back to your present context with different eyes—and different questions
You will take away:
- A clear and powerful context that helps you to cope with an increasingly volatile, complex and ambiguous business- and social- environment
- A rich set of perspectives (ranging from cultural to cosmological) that stretches your awareness of what is going on in the world
- A customized list of questions that helps you to see the old maps that you, your organization and your industry are still navigating by
- A challenge to understanding “leadership” differently for a different Age, and an invitation to practice Renaissance leadership
“Trade in the Second Renaissance”
- The three keys to a revitalized trade agenda, for policy-makers and business, that can overcome the anti-globalization rhetoric that has stuck trade development in its tracks:
- New lens: The big picture behind “why trade matters” that has been missing from public discourse
- New language: Why ‘globalization’ is dead, and the rhetoric that must replace it
- New maps: Why our conceptual maps of the world need to be redrawn