Jonnie Penn

Jonnie Penn Keynote Speaker

  • AI expert and historian of technology
  • Author of New York Times best-seller "What do you want to do before you die?"
  • Associate Teaching Professor of AI Ethics and Society at the University of Cambridge

Jonnie Penn's Biography

Dr Jonnie Penn, FRSA, is a historian of technology, #1 NYT bestselling author and technologist. He is currently Associate Teaching Professor of AI Ethics and Society at the University of Cambridge.

Jonnie explores the Future of Work for Millennial and Post-Millennials in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He has served as an expert speaker at the United Nations, European Parliament, Council of Europe, Davos, and to the UK House of Lords, as well as for global non-profits and corporations. His thoughts on the direction of AI research have recently been featured in The Economist, IBM Think Leaders, PwC, and elsewhere.

Jonnie serves as a Faculty Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University; a Research Fellow and Teaching Associate at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science; a Research Fellow at St. Edmund’s College; and an Associate Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence.

He was formerly a MIT Media Lab Assembly Fellow, Google Technology Policy Fellow, Fellow of the British National Academy of Writing and a popular broadcaster.

As a teenager, Jonnie co-founded The Buried Life youth movement, a community that asks, “What do you want to do before you die?” The project grew to encompass a cult-hit television series aired in seventy countries. He is currently based in Cambridge, UK.

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Jonnie Penn's Speaking Topics

  • • Making Sand Think: The Hard Ecological Limits on an AI Future:

AI and climate are on a collision course. Data centres will use 20% of global electricity by 2030. How can we allocate resources that do not renew on human timescales?

  • • Post Digitalism: Why the Next Tech Backlash Will Be All About Hygiene:

For centuries it was biology that made us sick. Now it is our lifestyles. This talk considers the iatrogenic qualities of digital technologies. They harm us even as we use them to be healthier.

  • • Rest Engineering: A Blueprint for AI’s Next Chapter:

‘Protected time’ gave us modern science. In an era that has forgotten how to rest, rest becomes a form of innovation. This talk introduces Dr Penn’s creation of the Rest Institute.

  • • Transformative Turbulence for SMEs: Embracing AI with Social Innovation:

It took four hundred years for the benefits of the printing press to reach the masses. Will the same be true of AI?

  • • Anticipating Polycrisis: Why Innovation in the 2020s Isn’t Digital:

A post-war world order premised on thick rules is giving way to one premised on thin rules, or ‘algorithmic thinking.’ This invites a reweaving of our social fabric in ways that AI cannot fake.

  • • Generation AI: Generative AI & Society:

Young people see dating apps as stale. Digital fatigue has set in. What does analog culture mean for our supposedly digital future?

  • • The Creativity Explosion:

Invent the ship and you invent the shipwreck. Invent AI and you invent… what? This talk tests claims of an AI-led ‘intelligence explosion’ against risks to democracy, markets, and wellbeing.

  • • Rest: Reclaiming it and Why it Matters:

How much digital is enough? In a moment marked by burnout and mental anguish, rest can redefine one’s legacy, approach to parenting, and understanding of wealth.

  • • Lies, Lies, Lies: Synthetic Misinformation in 2024:

2024 will see 80+ elections across 75+ countries. 3.65 billion people will see their governments change. The next time this will occur is in 2048. How will generative AI impact this transition?

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Videos of Jonnie Penn

Speaker Reel
Speaker Reel
What History Can Tell Us About the Future of Artificial Intelligence
What History Can Tell Us About the Future of Artificial Intelligence

Articles, Media & Podcasts

You Really Don’t Want to Sell Your Data

Books by Jonnie Penn

What do you want to do before you die?

Comments & Testimonials

He was exceptionally professional and engaging, fantastic at the pre-event briefing and delivered his presentation to the mark, making it personal to us which was great given that it was a pre-record. On the day/night, he went above and beyond, staying up well into the night to deliver a Q&A for our audience.
Urban Development Institute of Australia
Jonnie is an engaging, intelligent and witty speaker who makes the subject of AI accessible to a wide audience.
Ben Page Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI
Jonnie perfectly combined the aspects of AI as a tool and not a means and the priority of human relations. As our first speaker, he brilliantly opened the minds of our participants to our topic to worthfully enrich any thoughts for their future strategy!
Andreas Arntzen CEO Wort & Bild Verlag

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