Alec Ross: New York Times Best-Selling Author & Former Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation at the State Department

Alec Ross

New York Times Best-Selling Author & Former Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation at the State Department

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Alec Ross is one of America’s leading experts on innovation. He has been an entrepreneur, served for four years as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State, and advised President Obama on the intersection of technology and geopolitics during his first presidential campaign. In his role with the State Department, Ross was tasked with maximizing the potential of technology and innovation in service of America’s diplomatic goals. He advanced the State Department’s interests on a range of issues including Internet Freedom, cybersecurity, disaster response, and the use of network technologies in conflict zones. Currently, he continues to educate various world leaders and top CEOs about these topics.

Ross’ best-selling book, The Industries of the Future, explores the technological and economic trends and developments that will shape the next decade, from cybersecurity and big data to the commercialization of genomics to the code-ification of money, markets and trust. Since its publication in February of 2016, it has been published in 24 languages.

The next ten years are going to be even more disruptive than the last ten. What are the industries and innovations that are going to shake the marketplace? Drawing on his New York Times best-seller The Industries of the Future and his experience in government and industry, Alec Ross describes the next big drivers of change from artificial intelligence and robotics to cybersecurity and cybercrime. Ross describes the changes which are going to impact our future, for good and ill, and the geographic and cultural contexts out of which they are emerging.

Ross discusses innovation, automation, and education in tomorrow’s economy, focusing on several key questions: How will increased automation impact the labor market in the United States and around the world? What should companies and entire industries be doing to benefit from the growing power of artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning while safeguarding the interests of American workers? How should we think about educating our children and retraining our employees to ensure that they can compete and succeed in tomorrow’s economy? Having confronted these issues during his tenure in government and in his global best-seller Industries of the Future, Ross frames the issues that will be at the forefront of the national and global conversation over the next several years, and offers practical ideas and inspiration focused on ensuring that growth fueled by innovation will benefit our companies and workers.

In a world growing more chaotic, Alec Ross is one of those very rare people who can see patterns in the chaos and provide guidance for the road forward. He has an unusual diversity of expertise that allows him to apply multiple lenses to the world’s challenges and dream up the kind of innovative solutions that are changing the world.

- Eric Schmidt
Alphabet Chairman and Former CEO, Google


About Alec Ross

Alec Ross is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Industries of the Future. The book explores the technological and economic trends and developments that will shape the next ten years including robotics and artificial intelligence, advanced life sciences, cybersecurity, big data and the code-ification of money, markets and trust. Described by the Financial Times as “a lucid and informing guide on even the most technical issues” The Industries of the Future goes beyond the technical and provides the geopolitical, cultural, and generational contexts out of which new innovations are emerging.

Alec serves as an advisor to investors, corporations and government leaders to help them understand the implication of factors emerging at the intersection of geopolitics, markets and increasingly disruptive network technologies.

He has served as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and as a Senior Fellow at the Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs.

He served for four years as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State, a role created for him to help modernize the practice of diplomacy and bring innovative solutions to advance America’s foreign policy interests. He led national security projects across the globe.

Prior to his service in the Obama Administration, Alec served as the Convener for the Technology & Media Policy Committee on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.

In 2000, he and three colleagues co-founded a technology-focused social enterprise and grew it from modest origins in a basement into a global organization serving millions of low-income people, with programs on four continents.

Alec was outstanding. You could tell he did his research about the organization and his audience.

- International Interior Design Association

His recent recognitions include being named one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine, receiving the U.S. Department of State “Distinguished Honor” Award, the Oxford University “Internet & Society” Award, and the TriBeCa Film Festival “Book of the Year” Award.

His writing has appeared in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Foreign Policy. His academic writing has appeared as the journal cover articles in publications including the SAIS Review of International Affairs and the NATO Review.

Alec started his career as a sixth grade teacher through Teach for America in inner-city Baltimore where he lives with his wife and their three children.

Speech Topics

  • Forecasting the Future: What Donald Trump's Presidency Means for Business, Trade, Tech & Innovation
  • Innovation, Automation, and Education in Tomorrow's Economy
  • Cyber Crime & Cyber War: Your Industry on the Battlefield
  • The Code-ification of Money, Markets, and Trust
  • Futureproofing Your Children: Parenting for a Changing Labor Market

Books and Media

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