Advisory Board

Amy Webb, M.S.

Amy Webb, M.S. is a quantitative futurist, author and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Strategic Foresight at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where she developed and teaches the MBA course on strategic foresight and futures forecasting. She is the founder of The Future Today Institute, which researches emerging technologies at the fringes and tracks them as they move towards the mainstream.

The method they use to see the future is described in her new book The Signals Are Talking, which details what technological changes are ahead, what impact they’ll have on business and society, and how you can forecast the future yourself. Her book is a Washington Post bestseller, was selected as one of Fast Company’s Best Books of 2016, won a 2017 Gold Axiom Medal for the best book about business and technology, and was one of Amazon’s best books 2016.

Founded in 2006, the Institute advises Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies, government agencies, large nonprofits, universities, and startups around the world.

Amy’s special area of research is artificial intelligence, and she has advised three-star generals, White House leadership, and CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies on the future of AI.

Starting in 2012, Amy began to publish her methodology and tools in the Harvard Business Review, Harvard University Nieman Reports, and the MIT Sloan Management Report. She was a 2014–15 Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where her research received a national Sigma Delta Chi award.

In 2016, Amy made all of her foresight tools and methodology, and all of FTI’s research, open source and freely available to the public.

Her research focuses on strategic foresight and using data to model probable, plausible, and possible scenarios for the future. She was named to the Thinkers50 Radar list of the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led and won the prestigious 2017 Thinkers50 RADAR Award for her research and work in strategic foresight.

Her bestselling memoir Data, A Love Story is about finding love via algorithms. Her TED talk How I hacked online dating has been viewed more than 6 million times and has been translated into 32 languages. Data, A Love Story is being adapted as a feature film, which is currently in production.

Her upcoming book, The Big Nine: How The Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Will Change Humanity launches on March 5th, 2019. It’s a call-to-arms about the broken nature of artificial intelligence, and the powerful corporations that are turning the human-machine relationship on its head.

In 2015, Harvard University published How To Make J-School Matter (Again), Amy’s research on the challenges facing journalism, educators, and the future of journalism.

Amy started her career as a journalist covering technology and economics. She was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal, and then relocated to Hong Kong to work as a staff reporter with Newsweek, covering emerging technologies. In 2011, she cofounded Spark Camp, an invite-only leadership conference focused on the future of business, government, and society.

Amy was 2017–18 delegate in the US-Japan Leadership Program and was a delegate on the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, where she worked on the future of technology, media, and international diplomacy. Amy serves as a script consultant for films and shows about artificial intelligence, technology, and the future.

Most recently, she worked on The First, a drama on Hulu set in the year 2031 about the first humans to travel to Mars. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Interactive Media Peer Group — previous Blue Ribbon Emmy award judge). She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Forbes named her one of the Women Changing the World (technology category). In 2012, she was named one of Columbia Journalism Review’s 20 women to watch. She was on the expert panel at the Wall Street Journal Future of Everything Festival in 2018, where she spoke about the growing role of artificial intelligence in daily lives.

For the past 15 years, Amy has been dedicated to helping inform and shape the future of journalism. She is a member of the accreditation council of the ACEJMC, where she is helping to recalibrate accreditation standards for journalism and communication programs throughout the country.

She is chairing a committee to develop a new, international digital certification program. Every year, Amy lectures about the future of media and technology at Harvard University as well as at a number of universities worldwide, which have included Institut d’études politiques de Paris, Tokyo University and the National University of Kyiv. She was a David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecturer at Ball State University in 2016.

She often gets asked about how one becomes a futurist.

Our work is sometimes called "strategic foresight" or "futures forecasting", and you don’t need a license to practice. Futurists—the good ones—aren’t alchemists, or oracles, or fortune tellers. Identifying socioeconomic, geopolitical, media, and business trends is really more of a science than an art. The Wall Street Journal recently wrote about my forecasting methodology, and it will give you a sense of what’s involved. I’m influenced by earlier futurists Hayashi, Jantsch, Gordon, and Helmer, with Clarke, Fuller, and Toffler providing a hefty backdrop of inspiration. Understanding the future means carefully observing, from unusual places, the changing nature of the present.

Amy originally attended the Jacobs School of Music to study classical clarinet. She earned her B.A. in political science, game theory and economics from Indiana University and her M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She also earned Nikyu Certification in the Japanese government-administered Language Proficiency Test. In addition, she earned the rank of Shodan (first-degree black belt) in Aikido, but a serious accident during training a few years ago forced her to retire.

Amy has had a number of jobs: she was a piano and clarinet teacher, the Deputy City Clerk of Bloomington (Indiana) and a Justice of the Peace, a Guardian ad litem, a teaching assistant in game theory and economics, a Senate Page, and she had a small business doing tech support for computers. Amy is Jewish. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband and their daughter.

Read Amy’s take on “How I Work” from LifeHacker.com.

Watch her speak at 2018 SXSW or at the TWiT Netcast Network YouTube channel.

View her LinkedIn profile and her NYU Stern profile. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Visit her homepage and her Wikipedia page. View her company website The Future Today Institute.