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Gerd Leonhard

  • Bern, Switzerland
  • Fee Range: On Request

Tagline: Technology Futurist

Over the past two decades, Gerd Leonhard has risen to one of the top 10 futurist keynote speakers worldwide. With over 2,000 engagements in 60+ countries since 2004, and a combined audience of over 2.5 million people, Gerd has been listed by Wired magazine as one of the Top 100 Most-Influential People in Europe, and […]

Over the past two decades, Gerd Leonhard has risen to one of the top 10 futurist keynote speakers worldwide. With over 2,000 engagements in 60+ countries since 2004, and a combined audience of over 2.5 million people, Gerd has been listed by Wired magazine as one of the Top 100 Most-Influential People in Europe, and as ‘one of the leading media futurists in the World’ by The Wall Street Journal.

Gerd focuses on the future of humanity and technology, digital ethics, artificial intelligence, future-leadership and foresights. His keynotes, are renowned for their hard-hitting and provocative  style – inspiring, humorous, motivational, and always personal. Using cutting-edge creative  motion design, Gerd’s performances have become a unique immersive experience on the big screen, reinventing the visual side of the conference industry.

Gerd Leonhard is highly regarded as a global influencer and has advised many business leaders and government officials around the globe. His diverse list of clients include governments, NGOs and Fortune 500 companies such as SAP, Microsoft, Google, Accenture, Deloitte, KPMG, Sony, UBS, Tetrapak, Mastercard, BBC, Unilever, Lloyds Bank, WWF, Sony, The Guardian, Telkom Indonesia, Siemens, RTL, France Telecom, The Financial Times, Ogilvy, Omnicom, The EU Commission, VISA, Audi, NetAPP and many others.

A true thought leader in the futurist space, Gerd Leonhard is above all a dedicated humanist who believes that  all technological progress should further collective human flourishing. His credo is simple: People, Planet, Purpose and Prosperity.

Gerd uses his keynotes, presentations, workshops and advisory sessions to deep-dive on complex topics. Recurring themes include the coming redefinition of human-machine relationships, exploring what it means to be human in a world of machines and algorithms, the future of work and jobs, and the ethics of technology. As Gerd Leonhard likes to say, humanity will change more in the next 20 years than in the previous 300 years – so let’s maintain and protect what makes us human!

Gerd Leonhard has spent his lifetime  engaging  with change, as a professional artist, internet entrepreneur, and author; now exploring the role of visionary thinker and speaker. Gerd’s background is in the music business; in 1985 he won Berklee College ‘Quincy Jones Award’ and subsequently spent 12 years working as a professional guitarist, composer and producer. He then caught the internet-bug and became a digital music & media entrepreneur.

From 1995 to 2002 he served as Founder/CEO of several internet startups, based in San Francisco.  In 2002, following the .com meltdown and the 9/11 crisis, Gerd Leonhard returned to Europe and discovered his new calling as a futurist and as the CEO of The Futures Agency, a global network of over 40 leading futurists, speakers and personalities. The future is already here – we just haven’t paid enough attention!

Gerd Leonhard | Technology Futurist

As we rush headlong into a machine-led world where the very essence of human being is being increasingly challenged, Gerd is reminding us to consider what moral values are we prepared to stand up for before “being human” alters its meaning forever.

Gerd Leonhard travels around the globe to speak at leading conferences, events and seminars, helping individuals, enterprises and government organizations to deal with ‘future shock’, and to embrace change. Gerd is also an influential author. He is the co-author of the visionary book ‘The Future of Music’ and the author of five other books including his last best-seller, ‘Technology vs. Humanity’, which is now available in ten languages.

Gerd’s films on the future of technology and humanity, digital transformation and artificial intelligence have reached millions of viewers. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA, London) and an advisory board member of the Indian and Canadian Research Institutes. He resides in Zürich, Switzerland and presents both in English and German.

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Keynote Topics

Amidst the fears and everyday realities of wars and pandemics, the urgency to address global warming and the societal challenges of technological hyper-transformation the world continues to change at a mind-boggling pace.

Radical and once unthinkable climate-emergency measures like new carbon taxes (such as for airline tickets or  for buying meat) are becoming increasingly likely as consumers and concerned citizens around the world push for real and unheard-of change.

At the same time, Company CEO’s are touting their new commitments to stakeholder values, not just shareholder values. So how can we make The Good Future a reality?

Investors and the media is buzzing with excitement as businesses and individuals alike are starting to tap into Generative AI models like Dalle2, ChatGPT and many others. ChatGPT churns out unique texts that often have a disturbingly human-like quality.

Already being utilized in customer service, content production, paper-writing, coding and so on, it appears that generative AI is getting ready to transform the internet as we know it – with Google entering into ‘Red Alert’ mode and Microsoft investing 10 Billion US Dollars into OpenAI. But their impacts on society could be just as vast, in many good ways and in many quite worrisome ways.

How can these tools – and AI in general – help us to achieve what I call ‘The Good Future‘?

Here’s what’s so exciting about ChatGPT: It’s a state-of-the-art language model that can generate human-like text. This makes it useful for a number of natural language processing tasks. Because it is based on OpenAI’s GPT architecture, it can also be fine-tuned to specific tasks and domains.

On the other hand, ChatGPT‘s potential to perpetuate bias has sparked concern as it is trained on ‘random’ internet texts that may include biased or deceptive information.

This raises worries about its use in education, employment, law enforcement, and healthcare. ChatGPT can also to be used to generate deep fake texts, so it could be used to spread misinformation and disinformation, influencing public opinion and elections.

It could be heaven or it could be hell – how to get it right

“The metaverse is a hypothesized iteration of the internet, supporting persistent online 3-D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual and augmented reality headsets” (Wikipedia).    

“The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world” (Facebook’s Meta briefing).

On the one hand, the Metaverse could be ‘the Internet we’ve always wanted’: Immersive, real-time/feel, 3D… and that could be great for business, commerce, retail and of course technology companies:)

On the other hand, it could end up to be more of a MetaPERverse, replacing human relationships and experiences with deep surveillance and a bizarrely monetized simulations, reducing complex human life to data feeds, fancy graphics and AI-fuelled convenience: Consensual hallucinations sold as ‘human empowerment’?

Imagine social media’s aberrations and abuse – but x 1000!

In this talk, I outline both the ‘heavenly’ possibilities of the Metaverse as well as the more troubling aspects while depicting possible ways forward, based on my motto of ‘embracing technology but not becoming it‘


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