Richard Yonck

Futurist & Founder of Intelligent Future

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Richard Yonck is founder and lead futurist for Intelligent Future Consulting where he consults to businesses, speaks to audiences and writes about artificial intelligence and other emerging trends and technologies, with a focus on their impacts on business and society. Richard explores short to long-range futures with an eye to how this knowledge can help prepare for potential eventualities and to promote preferred futures. His clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Samsung, and Xerox, as well as smaller businesses, organizations and government agencies.

"Yonck is a sure-footed guide and not without a sense of humor….[He] provides a compelling and thorough history of the interaction between our emotional lives and our technology." –Ray Kurzweil, inventor, author, futurist

Writing regularly about the future and emerging technologies, Richard's work has appeared in numerous publications including The Futurist Magazine, Scientific American, World Future Review, Fast Company, Wired, Psychology Today, H+ Magazine, Mensa Bulletin, American Cinematographer and The Seattle Times. He's been interviewed and quoted about foresight issues in numerous mediums, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, Forbes, Investor's Business Daily, SAP Digitalist, Sports Illustrated, Singularity Hub, Next Avenue and numerous podcasts and radio programs. His paper, "Toward a Standard Metric of Machine Intelligence" explores the need for a standardized intelligence test for artificial intelligences and was published in the peer-reviewed World Future Review. His cover story, "Connecting with Our Connected World" explores the developing 'Internet of Things' and was included in The Futurist magazine's list of Best Stories of the Year.

Richard's perspective on the future is informed by over 25 years experience as a computer systems programmer-analyst, during which time he guided clients through the rapidly-shifting technological landscape. Formerly the Computing and Artificial Intelligence contributing editor for The Futurist Magazine, Richard is a Board member and Treasurer of the Association of Professional Futurists, a member of the National Association of Science Writers and a TED speaker. His new book "HEART OF THE MACHINE: Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence" explores the emerging technologies allowing computers and robots to read, interpret, replicate, even influence human emotions. Now required reading in several college courses, it was well reviewed by Time Magazine and Ray Kurzweil in The New York Times Book Review.

His TEDx Talk:

Richard's speaking programs include:

The Coming Era of Emotional Machines

Author of the best-selling book about the future of artificial emotional intelligence, Richard's deep understanding of the developing emotion economy has made him a global thought leader on this subject. With the recent development of artificial emotional intelligence – or emotion AI, this new branch of computer science is developing systems that can read, interpret, mimic and even influence our emotions.

Because emotion is such a core aspect of the human condition, these technologies are being, or will be used, in everything from education, health care, the military, social robotics, law enforcement, autism detection and therapies, political campaigns, advertising, marketing and much more. What will be the repercussions of such technology? How will it alter our society and personal relationships? Ultimately, what can – and can't – we do to protect ourselves?

Automation, Employment and the Future of the Workforce

According to recent research, as much as 47% of all jobs will be eliminated by artificial intelligence and other forms of automation during the next two decades. While two-thirds of Americans believe robots will soon perform most of the work done by humans, fully 80% believe their jobs will not be among those affected.

At the same time, an enormous number of new jobs will come into existence that have never been heard of before. Augmented Reality Docent. Autonomous Vehicle Wranglers. Training Data Auditors. Genetic Findings Interpreter. Digital Reputation Scrubber. VR Addiction Rehabilitation Counselor. These are but a few of the new jobs that will need a human hand, at least for the immediate future.

As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it's increasingly evident that we aren't prepared for the changes that await us. What can we do in the face of such socially disruptive forces? How can we survive in a world that no longer needs people for many traditional tasks. If re-education is to be part of the solution, how can we prepare for future jobs that don't even exist yet? And once a path is chosen, what guarantee do we have the new occupations will still be needed once we've completed our course of study?

Life in the Age of Human Augmentation

In recent years we've developed increasingly sophisticated ways of incorporating devices into our bodies: hearing aids, cochlear implants, artificial hearts, pacemakers, deep brain stimulators, artificial bones and joints, insulin pumps, and much more. But while these technologies have primarily been developed to replace lost function, we're on the verge of using such devices to improve our natural abilities as well. Humanity is rapidly entering an era in which technology can not only repair and replace failed organs and lost functions, but actually augment and enhance them.

What can we expect in this new world of Human 2.0? Will it lead to indefinite life extension? Will a world already filled with economic disparity, give rise to physiological, or even mental, "haves" and "have-nots" as well? What dangers will we face when the very systems that allow our bodies to function are hackable? How do we protect our humanity in such a world?

Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies and the Future of the Block Chain

In 2008, a paper authored by an individual or a group, known only as Satoshi Nakamota laid out the basis for the first decentralized digital currency. In doing so, they also developed the first blockchain database ledger, thereby solving what is known in the world of digital currency as the "double-spending problem."

Since then, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have taken the world by storm. However, the real game-changer was the invention of the block chain, a decentralized, cryptographic ledger that can be put to an untold number of uses. These include traditional trust and transaction instruments, such as loans, sales deeds of trust, and stock transactions, as well as new, digital era methods for automating trust for everything from livestock exchange and food quality protections in the developing world to ensuring adherence to trade embargos and arms reduction.  What opportunities and risks can we anticipate from these innovative financial instruments?

Augmented Reality and the Future of Marketing

Imagine window shopping on the high street for clothes and accessories. As you pause to look at the merchandise, your view is overlaid with a range of information and offers, tantalizing you to come inside. You see yourself reflected in the window, wearing the latest fashions that grace the displays. How can you pass up the opportunity to enter the establishment and try it in IRL – in real life!

With major companies investing heavily, augmented reality is finally ready for widespread use. Its first killer app could very likely be in the retail space, transforming marketing, advertising and the shopping experience. How will we utilize this exciting technology, what should we be concerned about it and will it be more than just a passing fad?

Feedback slice

"Richard is a brilliant speaker, writer, and futurist. Don't miss the opportunity to hear his ideas about AI and emotional machines."  Dr. Cindy Frewen, FAIA, Architect and Urban Futurist

"You left our workforce deans with plenty of food for thought as they navigate the complex education and employment world we're preparing students for."  Nancy Dick, Director, Workforce Education, WA State Board for Community & Technical Colleges

"Recently we organized the first-ever Emotion AI Summit: featuring 28+ speakers and 300+ attendees at the MIT Media Lab. Richard joined tech leaders in the day-long event as a panelist on our "Future of AI: Ethics, Morality and the Workforce" panel. Richard helped make the Ethics of AI session one of my favorite of the event."  Ashley McManus, Director of Marketing, Affectiva

"I thought you were so professional and with such a command of your topic. It was a joy working with you." Prof. William E. Halal, PhD, George Washington University, President, TechCast Global

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