Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang is an educator and an entrepreneur. She received her MA and Ph.D. in Communication from Syracuse University and the University of Maryland. Ai is the founder of Classroom Without Walls, an alternative school for entrepreneurship. As an Adobe Education Leader, Ai is passionate about incorporating social media and creative technologies to enhance student learning and to acquire skills that help them become future-ready. Ai’s work has been featured in Forbes, Inside Higher Education, Pearson Education, and Mark Schafer’s book among others. She additionally contributes to Entrepreneur and Thrive Global. Ai hosts two weekly live streaming shows, where she interviews thought leaders in social media and education such as Seth Godin. Ai is also a HubSpot Academy instructor, and frequently speaks at academic and industry conferences including VidCon, Global Marketing Day, Social Media Week Lima (the largest social media marketing conference in the midwest, and others.
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Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist based in Mountain View, California, USA, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, a California-based 501(c)(3) biomedical research charity that performs and funds laboratory research dedicated to combating the aging process. He is also VP of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics, a biotechnology startup developing new therapies in the field of biomedical gerontology. In addition, he is Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. He received his BA in computer science and Ph.D. in biology from the University of Cambridge. His research interests encompass the characterization of all the types of self-inflicted cellular and molecular damage that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and/or obviate that damage. Dr. de Grey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits (uncompensated) on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organizations. He is a highly sought-after speaker who gives 40-50 invited talks per year at scientific conferences, universities, companies in areas ranging from pharma to life insurance, and to the public.
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Ethan Decker, PhD, is president of Applied Brand Science. Ethan unearths and distills the latest and most relevant research on marketing and human behavior to increase the effectiveness of his clients’ advertising and branding expenditures. Having spent a dozen years leading strategy and research at some of the world’s best agencies for some of the world’s biggest brands, he saw firsthand the waste and damage that many modern marketing beliefs and “best practices” are causing to firms. Now he is pioneering the field of brand science to help companies that want to embrace a more effective, evidence-based approach to advertising and brand growth.
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Rana el Kaliouby, PhD, is co-founder and CEO of MIT spin-off Affectiva, the pioneer in artificial emotional intelligence (Emotion AI), the next frontier of AI. A Muslim-American computer scientist and entrepreneur, Rana is on a mission to humanize technology, building next-generation interfaces–ones that are conversational, perceptual and can truly understand humans. She leads the company’s award winning AI software that can understand complex and nuanced emotions and cognitive states from face and voice using deep learning and massive real-world data–more than 4 billion facial frames analyzed in 87 countries. Her technology is used by 25% of the Fortune Global 500 companies to test content, as well as in other industries, including automotive, HR video recruitment and mental health.
Rana is one of few women leading AI companies and has raised over $26 million in capital for Affectiva. Prior to founding Affectiva, Rana was as a research scientist at MIT Media Lab where she spearheaded the applications of Emotion AI in a variety of fields, including mental health and autism research. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker, Wired, Forbes, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, CBS, TIME Magazine, Fortune and Reddit. A TED speaker and co- Host of the PBS NOVA Wonders series, Rana was recently named to 2018 Fortune’s 40 under 40, Thinkers50 and was recognized by Bloomberg as one of three Global Business pioneers in 2017. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and member of the Partnership on AI, alongside founding companies Amazon, Apple, Google/DeepMind, and others. Rana holds a BSc and MSc in computer science from the American University in Cairo and a PhD from the computer laboratory, University of Cambridge.
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Jim Forster is passionate about extending the Internet. He started at Cisco in 1988 when it was quite small and spent 20 years there, becoming a Distinguished Engineer. While at Cisco he started working on projects and policies to improve Internet access in developing countries. Now he is working with several for-profit and non-profit efforts to extend communications in unserved areas in Africa, India. His foundation, NetworktheWorld.org has supported AfNOG, and his firm, INIHoldings.com, has invested in five ISPs (Mawingu Networks (Kenya), Too Much WiFi (South Africa), Habari Node (Tanzania), and CTN (Malawi), AirJaldi (India). He and Ben Matranga have started a Debt Fund, ConnectivityCap.com, to offer loans for ISPs in Frontier Markets.
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Lauren Gifford, PhD is a critical geographer exploring the intersections of global climate change policy, conservation, markets and justice. Her work asks how, and by whom, climate and conservation policies are enacted. She is a Research Affiliate at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and teaches courses on climate change and human-environment interactions at CU Boulder and Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is founder of the Somes Group, a climate and environmental policy consulting firm that helps governments, foundations, NGOs and start-ups understand financialized conservation management and carbon pricing. She is also host of the podcast Carbon Social Club.
Dr. Gifford holds a PhD in Geography from University of Colorado, Boulder, an MA in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College, a BA in Communications from American University, and completed courses in greenhouse gas and forest carbon accounting through the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute (GHGMI). She has conducted mixed methods field research in the Peruvian Amazon, on Cuban organic farms, throughout Maine’s forests, at the United Nations’ annual climate negotiations, and at countless civil society meetings around the world. Recently she’s been studying the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to verify carbon offsets.
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Mike Hess is the founder and executive director of the Technology and serves on its Board of Directors. Determined to reduce the high unemployment rate among skilled blind and visually impaired IT and tech professionals in the U.S., Mike leads BIT’s mission to prepare blind and visually impaired people and the employers who hire them for success in the workplace.
Before founding BIT – a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Colorado in February 2013 – Mike spent four years as a senior software engineer for Level 3 Communications, where he led a variety of IT and other technical projects. Prior to Level 3, Mike held IT, software engineering and other technical positions with , U.S. West and other companies during the course of his 18-year career.
Mike, who has been legally blind since first grade, graduated from in 1995 with a certificate in applications programing and also received the Student of the Year award from the Computer Training for People with Disabilities (CTPD) program.
An English proverb states, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Mike began his journey as a disabled person at the age of seven in a small, Midwestern town in Ohio. As an April Fools baby, he was a natural class clown and wanted to sit in the back of the class cracking jokes as early as first grade. He quickly moved to the front of the class after realizing he was not able to see the chalkboard.
After visiting several optometrists, Mike ended up in a large Cleveland hospital. It was there that he and his mother learned that Mike was losing his sight and would be completely blind by the age of 18. At such a young age, he had no idea what blind even meant. When he asked his mom, she simply stated that he was going to be special. At this point, in many ways, Mike began to fulfill her prophecy.
Mike’s mom was determined to keep him within the public schools and did not want to send him to a school for blind and deaf children. Disabled children are commonly placed into special learning programs within the public school system and Mike was no exception. This established a clear line in the sand with his classmates, stating plainly that he was different. However, he maintained the belief instilled in him by his mom that he was special, regardless of the large print books and dark colored paper he needed to aid his learning. Mike learned to make friends quickly and refused to allow classmates to bully him for being blind. Thus, Mike plotted the course along his thousand-mile journey by either engaging people with his sense of humor or by being tough.
At the start of junior high school, Mike’s family moved to Colorado and it was there that Mike began using low-vision technologies for the first time. His secondary school education was split between proactively learning the skills he would need in the future to live as a totally blind person (cane training and Braille classes) and the low-vision technologies that would assist him in the present.
Throughout his college career, Mike had to continue pushing through challenges. With the limited technology at that time, he needed to collaborate with others and use alternative methods to achieve success. In one instance, he paired up with a fellow student who had carpal tunnel syndrome. Mike was able to do the typing while his classmate acted as his eyes. So as a blind young person, Mike had experienced the shunning of someone who is different, but also the thrill of achieving goals that were widely considered unattainable for a blind person. His success and accomplishments continued to grow, and so did Mike’s belief that his journey was meant for greatness.
Immediately after college, Mike married his wife, Natalie, and adopted her two daughters. His family grew again in 2008 with the addition of Maddox (aka ‘Little Man’). Mike believes it’s important to show his children and others that his disability does not affect his life and that he is just as capable as people who have sight. Mike’s family continues to be his driving force whenever it seems like the world is unfair, supporting and inspiring him as he inspires others through all his successes and challenges.
Mike’s family, friends and business colleagues have seen him live his mantra that vision loss is simply an inconvenience and nothing more. They have watched Mike keep a positive attitude throughout all his trials and tribulations. In addition to his education and career accomplishments, Mike competed in martial arts, became a snow and water skier, ran half marathons and climbed 14,000 foot mountains.
Mike’s journey has been both trying and thrilling. However, his thousand miles are far from over. Thanks to his leadership, Board of Directors, corporate partners, talented blind and visually impaired IT and tech pros, family, friends and volunteers, the current phase of Mike’s journey – the Blind Institute of Technology — is materializing right before his mind’s eye.
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Ryan Holdaway is an educator passionate about helping people unlock their potential, regardless of circumstance. When he isn’t helping students build real life software applications or prepare for job interviews, he’s playing golf, watching baseball, or taking his three little daughters to Disneyland.
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Aditi U. Joshi MD, MSc is Medical Director of , Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s on-demand telemedicine program and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Her position is multi-faceted in telehealth and tele-intake: working in operations, quality assurance, provider training, resident and medical education and implementing new programs and use cases for telehealth. She is also co-director of the at Sidney Kimmel Medical College, teaching medical students how digital health technologies will influence their careers. She runs a Telehealth fellowship for physicians. Nationally, she is the chair elect for the telehealth working group and on the consensus committee for ’s consensus conference. Prior to Jefferson, she worked at a telemedicine startup, learning barriers in uptake, marketing and business development. She is considered an expert in acute care telehealth and regularly speaks on the topics of how digital technologies will impact the future of healthcare and the workforce. She completed her residency at and has a Masters in International Health Policy from the London School of Economics.
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Dr. Nathan D. Lang-Raad is a speaker, author, and professional learning facilitator. He is the Chief Education Officer at WeVideo. Throughout his career, he has served as a teacher, assistant principal, university adjunct professor, and Solution Tree consultant. He was director of elementary curriculum and instruction for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, as well as education supervisor at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He speaks at both local and national professional conferences and is the cofounder of Bammy Award-nominated #LeadUpChat, an educational leadership professional learning network (PLN) on Twitter. Nathan is also the cofounder of #divergED, a Twitter chat focused on divergent thinking and innovations in education. He is a Google Certified Educator, Microsoft Innovative Educator, and 2016 Apple Teacher, serves on the board of the Student Voice Foundation, and serves on the International Literacy Association Task Force.
He has written several blog posts that have been featured on the EdTech K-12, Corwin Connect, Education Week, K-12 Blueprint, and the Solution Tree Blog.
Nathan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in general science-chemistry from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, a master of education degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston-Victoria, and a doctorate of education degree in learning organizations and strategic change from David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.
He resides with his husband, Herbie Raad, in beautiful Maine.
To learn more about Nathan’s work or follow him on Twitter @drlangraad.
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Shane Mauss is a stand-up comedian whose act focuses on science communication and consciousness. Hailing from rural Wisconsin, Mauss is best known for his appearances Conan, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central and Showtime and podcasts including The Joe Rogan Experience, Pete Holmes’ You Made it Weird, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour and many more. Shane’s natural interest in science is showcased in his podcast Here We Are, featuring interviews with over 300 scientists about the brain, behavior, and decision making. He currently on tour with his show Stand Up Science, where in each city he is joined by two scientists for a half comedy, half science show. Shane is a special contributor to Dr. Peter McGraw’s forthcoming book Shtick to Business (2020), which presents serious business lessons from masters of comedy.
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Phil McKinney is president and CEO at CableLabs, a non-profit research & development lab funded by the global cable industry. McKinney leads the development of technologies and specifications for the secure delivery of high-speed data, video, voice and next-generation services. He oversees testing, certification facilities and guides the technical leadership for the industry, charting the course for future technology and innovation.
During his career, McKinney has held leadership positions in major companies including serving as vice president and CTO for Hewlett-Packard’s Personal Systems Group. There, he was responsible for long-range strategic planning and R&D for the company’s PC product lines. In addition, he founded and led HP’s Innovation Program Office (IPO), a nationally recognized incubator for new HP technologies, products and services. McKinney also served as senior vice president and CIO at Teligent and as a director at CSC.
Author, speaker and innovation guru, McKinney shares his rule-breaking approach to innovation and creativity in his book “Beyond the Obvious.” He has been recognized by Fast Company, BusinessWeek, MSNBC, Vanity Fair and other media outlets for his industry contributions. In 2015, his podcast, Killer Innovations™, became nationally syndicated and carried by more than 30 radio stations. In 2017, The Cable Center named McKinney an Innovation Laureate in recognition of his role as a key influencer in mentoring, teaching and motivating the next generation of cable industry leaders.
McKinney serves on the advisory board for Hacking Autism, he is chairman of the board for Pioneer Education Africa, and oversees the Techtrend Group, which invests in entrepreneurs in developing countries to create jobs that fuel economic growth.
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As Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company—the influential magazine championing creativity, innovation, and thriving workplace cultures for a new generation of business— Mehta is the rare editor who talks to pure creatives and corporate leaders in equal measure. She draws on her decades in business journalism to show us how to inject imaginative thinking, entrepreneurial zeal, and unbridled innovation into everything we do.
Whether she’s investigating the prodigious rise of Silicon Valley, the domino effect of technology on our lives, or what makes a workplace truly innovative, Stephanie Mehta has her finger on the pulse. She brings over twenty-five years of experience in business journalism to her new role as Editor-in-Chief at Fast Company, the publication that businesses all over the world turn to for inspiration and guidance. The magazine has a storied history of eschewing traditionalism, rules, and the “old way” of doing things, instead showcasing the people, teams, and organizations inventing the future of business. Today, the company operates a number of franchises that highlight the world’s most progressive leaders and companies, including “Most Creative People,” “Most Innovative Companies,” and “World Changing Ideas.” With a prolific career that includes long-term posts at Vanity Fair, Fortune, Bloomberg LIVE and The Wall Street Journal, Mehta has come to value a human centered approach to her work, modeled by her commitment to thoughtful, radical storytelling. “[Businesses] are part of an ecosystem that includes more than just their shareholders—they are part of communities, they have employees and customers,” Mehta explains. In her dynamic keynotes, she draws on those stories to show the next generation of business leaders how to push creative boundaries, nurture a radical vision, and make innovation happen.
Prior to Fast Company, Mehta was Deputy Editor at Vanity Fair, where she coedited the influential New Establishment ranking, curated the New Establishment Summit, and oversaw the Founders Fair conference for women entrepreneurs. Previously, she was editor of Bloomberg LIVE, and Bloomberg Media’s global conference division. Mehta spent 14 years as a writer and editor at Fortune, where she rose to the No. 2 position on the masthead. While at Fortune, she directed the magazine’s technology, management, Washington, and international coverage, and helped set its overall editorial direction. Mehta also spent six years as an editor and writer at The Wall Street Journal. She received a BA in English and an MS in journalism from Northwestern University.
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Mathew Portell has dedicated a decade and a half to education in his role as a teacher, instructional coach, teacher mentor, and school administrator. It is through the collaborative team approach and building positive relationships that Portell is leading his school into success. He is currently in his fifth year as principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary, a nationally recognized innovative model school for trauma-informed practices in Metro Nashville Public Schools. The school’s work has been featured on National Public Radio, the local documentary Enough, PBS, and Edutopia, one of the world’s top educational practices website funded by the George Lucas Foundation. Principal Portell had the honor of presenting Fall-Hamilton’s work to Tennessee State Legislative and Senate Education Committees, at the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the National Commission of Social Emotional and Academic Development. In January 2019 he traveled to England as the keynote speaker for Towards Trauma Informed in Northampton. He served as a monthly contributor to the Education Week blog tilted "Learning is Social and Emotional" where he is documenting the journey of sustaining a trauma-informed school. He is the founder of the Trauma Informed Educators Network Group on Facebook which has connected over nearly 12,000 educators in over 90 different countries around becoming more trauma-informed! In July of 2019 his consulting company Paradigm Shift Education hosted an international conference in Nashville title Trauma-Informed Educators Network Conference: Cultivating Connections. It was a huge success and he has already schedule next year’s conference for July 2020. He launched the Trauma Informed Educators Network Podcast in October of 2019. The focus of the podcast will focus on educators globally who are making a difference in their areas around being trauma-informed.
Mathew’s work extends past his educational experience. As a classroom teacher in 2008, he combined his passion for literacy and cycling and founded the double award winning national non-profit Ride for Reading. The organization promotes literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to underserved children. Ride for Reading has donated over 500,000 books to children nationally.
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Michael K. Powell is the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), nominated by President Bill Clinton and sworn in on November 3, 1997. He served as a member of the FCC for eight years during which time he was designated its chair by President George W. Bush in January 2001 and continued in that capacity until April 2005.
During his time as FCC chair, Chairman Powell oversaw the rapid transformation of communications markets into the Digital Age. During his tenure, the Internet came into widespread commercial use, as did smart phones, Wi-Fi networks and satellite radio.
In his current role as President & CEO of NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, Mr. Powell leads one of the largest trade associations in Washington, D.C., representing the communications and content industries. Prior public service includes Chief of Staff of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and service as an armored cavalry officer in U.S. Army. In the private sector he practiced law and was a senior advisor in a private equity firm. Chairman Powell also served on the boards of Cisco and AOL.
Chairman Powell serves on several nonprofit boards, including the Mayo Clinic, The William and Mary Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance. At America’s Promise, he co-chairs the Grad Nation project, an effort to address the high school dropout crisis.
Powell received his bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and also holds an honorary doctorate from the College. He also served as Rector of the school’s Board of Visitors. He received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center.
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From four-time track and field all-American to Gulf War Army veteran to amputee to Paralympic silver medalist, John has never allowed adversity to hold him back. He continues to hurdle adversity and turn obstacles into opportunities and show others how to do the same.
During a training session in Hays, Kansas, Register, the 8th fastest 400m hurdler at the time, landed awkwardly dislocating his left knee. His artery behind the kneecap was blocked. A 11-hour vein graph surgery was conducted but was inadequate. 5 subsequent operations were not able fully save the limb. Register made the decision to amputate his leg, and his dreams.
With his dreams of Olympic glory dashed, John’s wife Alice told him they would come through this together, it was just their new normal. Armed with this new determination, John decided to take a new step every day.
It began with swimming. His steps to the pool each day resulted in making the Paralympic swim team. He then turned his attention back to running. He and his prosthetist crafted a running leg which took John to the Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia, where he won the silver medal in the long jump.
With his previous goal now accomplished, John turned his sights on creating opportunities for people with disabilities by utilizing the lens of sport.
His post athletic career accolades are equally impressive as he founded the sport program which assist wounded, ill, and injured service members in their recovery to a healthy and active lifestyle and serving in a variety of capacities to include special advisor to two U.S. Secretary of State on disability foreign policy and being a U.S. Sports Diplomacy Ambassador (Envoy). The latter attracted the attention of President Barack Obama and John was asked and served in the capacity of being one of 35 co-chairs for 44th Presidents’ re-election.
As a highly sought-after keynote speaker, John believes in audience engagement and collective learning. In either his interactive keynote address, or half day training sessions, experiential learning is at core of each presentation.
John’s partial client list now includes American Airlines, BP, KPMG, Southwest Airlines, Hewlett Packard Enterprises and ReMax, to name a few.
John is the President and CEO of Inspired Communications International, LLC, an experiential professional speaking company showing businesses how to hurdle adversity and create the new normal to win the medals in their life.
Oh, yeah, he sings, plays piano, and is a recovering cellist.
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Jean M. Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, is the author of more than 140 scientific publications and the books iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before and The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (co-authored with W. Keith Campbell). Dr. Twenge frequently gives talks and seminars on teaching and working with today’s young generation based on a dataset of 11 million young people. Her audiences have included college faculty and staff, high school teachers, military personnel, camp directors, and corporate executives. Her research has been covered in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, and The Washington Post, and she has been featured on Today, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Fox and Friends, NBC Nightly News, Dateline NBC, and National Public Radio. She holds a BA and MA from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
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Prof. Alyssa K. Whitcraft is the Deputy Director and Program Manager for NASA Harvest, a thematically and geographically diverse consortium of more than 50 institutions focused on advancing the use of satellite-based EO by agricultural and food security decision makers.
She has a broad portfolio ranging from management of large, multi-national programs to applications research in remote sensing of agriculture and in the social, political, economic, and technical aspects of transforming decision support systems through the integration of Earth observations (EO). She is also an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Geographical Sciences at UMD, and since 2015, she has served as Program Scientist at the G20’s Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM). She has co-developed the foundations of the GEOGLAM program, serves as Agriculture Point of Contact to the world's space agencies (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites – CEOS), and founder and director of the Agricultural Monitoring in the Americas Initiative.
She is an expert in organizational and institutional change with respect to new satellite technologies. She regularly provides insight into new satellite mission design, based on real-world decision support needs. In the process, she’s developed collaborations and partnership models with public and private sector, emphasizing sustainable business models and value to all actors. She firmly believes in intersectionality in all things, acknowledging the role that each of us has in revolutionizing the food system in the face of pressing global challenges.
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Shoshana Zuboff is the author of three books, each of which signaled the start of a new epoch in technological society. In the late 1980s her decade-in-the-making In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power became an instant classic that foresaw how computers would revolutionize the modern workplace. At the dawn of the twenty-first century her influential The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism (with James Maxmin), written before the invention of the iPod or Uber, predicted the rise of digitally-mediated products and services tailored to the individual. It warned of the individual and societal risks if companies failed to alter their approach to capitalism. Now her masterwork, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, synthesizes years of research and thinking in order to reveal a world in which technology users are neither customers, employees, nor products. Instead they are the raw material for new procedures of manufacturing and sales that define an entirely new economic order: a surveillance economy. She is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor Emerita at Harvard Business School and a former Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.
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