Technology Futurist, Geopolitics Expert, Sci-Fi Novelist, Keynote Speaker
Jamie Metzl is a technology futurist and geopolitical expert, novelist, entrepreneur, media commentator, and Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council. His recent book, Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity, is taking the country by storm. From the leading geopolitical expert and technology futurist comes a groundbreaking exploration of the many ways genetic-engineering is shaking the core foundations of our lives ― sex, war, love, and death. Passionate, provocative, and highly illuminating,
You may have seen Jamie’s recent editorials in the New York Times, Financial Times, and TechCrunch, excerpts from the book in the Economist and Quartz, or his many interviews in media around the country and world. CNN’s Sanjay Gupta says, “If you can only read one book on the future of our species, this is it.” Former CIA Acting Director Mike Morell calls it “a must-read for the entire planet.”
Jamie also appears regularly on national and international media discussing Asian economic and political issues and his syndicated columns and other writing on Asian affairs, genetics, virtual reality, and other topics are featured regularly in publications around the world. He is the author of a history of the Cambodian genocide, the historical novel The Depths of the Sea, and the genetics thrillers Genesis Code and Eternal Sonata. His non-fiction book Hacking Darwin: Genetic Revolution and the Future of Humanity, published by Sourcebooks, can be purchased here.
In February 2019, he was appointed to the World Health Organization expert advisory committee on developing global standards for the governance and oversight of human genome editing. Jamie previously served in the U.S. National Security Council, State Department, Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as a Human Rights Officer for the United Nations in Cambodia. He is a former Partner of a New York-based global investment firm, serves on the Advisory Council to Walmart’s Future of Retail Policy Lab, is a faculty member for Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine conference, was Chief Strategy Officer for a biotechnology company, and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District in Kansas City in 2004. Jamie has served as an election monitor in Afghanistan and the Philippines, advised the government of North Korea on the establishment of Special Economic Zones, and is the Honorary Ambassador to North America of the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy.
A founder and Co-Chair of the national security organization Partnership for a Secure America, Jamie is a board member of the International Center for Transitional Justice and the American University in Mongolia, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Brandeis International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations is a former White House Fellow and Aspen Institute Crown Fellow. Jamie holds a Ph.D. in Asian history from Oxford, a JD from Harvard Law School, and is a magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University.
Jamie speaks frequently to corporate, nonprofit, and academic audiences around the world.
Are New Genetic Technologies a Match for the Coronavirus?
The Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the most serious pandemic to hit the world in many decades, and things are likely get significantly worse before they get better. Given the rapid transmission of this virus and the long, asymptomatic incubation period, millions of people will soon likely be infected. As great as this threat poses, the tools of the genetics revolution give us essential new tools to respond. But as we ramp up the resources allocated to this crisis, we must also anticipate the even larger challenge we face. With our species urbanizing like never before, our climate warming, our interaction with the world around us becoming remodeled based on human designs, and our ability to modify viruses to create deadly synthetic pathogens growing, we have no idea what even bigger challenges may be coming. As an investment in our future health and well-being, we must be thinking far more deeply about how we can best use the almost god-like powers our genetic technologies give us. In this essential talk, Jamie Metzl explores how we can best use our most powerful genetic technologies wisely to save rather than destroy us.
From Precision to Predictive: Genetic Revolution to Healthcare and Beyond
The transition from today’s system of generalized medicine based on population averages to the new model of precision healthcare based on each person’s individual biology is already well underway. But the use of the precision medicine tools of genome sequencing, big data analytics, and targeted gene therapies to treat cancer and other diseases are paving the way for a system of predictive healthcare where parents will know and begin responding to their children’s future risk of developing hereditary disorders like early onset Alzheimer’s and coronary heart disease starting before their children have even been born. In addition to predicting these types of health outcomes, genetic analysis will also enable us to predict and ultimately influence the genetic components of broader human traits like the IQ, athletic ability, and personality style of our future children. The genetics revolution will fundamentally transform our healthcare, the way we make babies, and the nature of the babies we make, but health professionals, the business community, and society at large are not at all ready. In this provocative and mind-expanding talk, Jamie Metzl elucidates how genetic and other technologies are transforming healthcare, explores where things are headed and what is at stake, and lays out key principles for how health industry professionals and the business community can prepare for a revolution that is coming far sooner than most people recognize.
R/Evolution at the Intersection of AI and Genomics
After decades of slow progress during the long “AI Winter,” the field of artificial intelligence is now blossoming in an “AI Spring” fundamentally transforming the way we live, work, and innovate. But the AI revolution won’t just change what we do, it will ultimately transform who we are. Most people already appreciate that genome sequencing and other genetic technologies with alter the way we treat cancer and other diseases. But the healthcare applications of genomics are just a station along the way in this profound revolution at the intersection of AI and Genomics. The ultimate destination is nothing less than the transformation of our evolutionary trajectory as a species. While the idea of creating humans with exceptional traits like higher IQ, disease resistance, or the ability to live longer and healthier lives may seem the stuff of science fiction, this future is far closer than most people understand or appreciate. In this mind-blowing and highly entertaining talk, futurist Jamie Metzl explains in clear, colorful, and concise language the coming revolution at the intersection of AI and genomics with its incredible promise and frightening danger, and explores what every person, company, and country can and must do to prepare.
What You Need to Know About the Future
Converging political, geopolitical, and technological revolutions are making now the greatest moment of global change at least since 1945 and possibly ever. With nationalism rising around the world, the post-war international order in rapid decline, China significantly expanding its global influence, and the AI, genetics, blockchain, and other revolutions shaking the foundations of the world we’ve known, the pressure is mounting for individuals, companies, and countries to either understand and quickly adapt to these converging super-trends or pay a massive competitive price. In this talk spanning the wide range of factors transforming our world at lightning speed, geopolitical expert and technology futurist Jamie paints a vivid picture of where we are heading and outlines key principles for how individuals, companies, and countries can best position themselves to ride the rising tidal wave of revolutionary change.
Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity
After four billion years of evolution through the Darwinian principles of random mutation and natural selection, our species is about to take control of our evolution. The genetic revolution will allow us to eliminate genetic diseases which have plagued our ancestors for millennia, live longer healthier lives, and transform how we make babies and ultimately the nature of the babies we make. The genetics revolution will be the greatest opportunity of our era, and also the greatest challenge — and it will have massive business implications that will increasingly define organizational success and failure in the 21st century.
Hacking immortality: The Science and Science Fiction of Human Life Extension
In this exciting talk, Jamie Metzl explores the latest technological breakthroughs in the science of human life extension and their implications on the personal and societal levels. While the quest for immortality has been the stuff of fairy tales, the new science of life extension is very real and will soon be pushing the limits of aging and unlocking human potential. A rare combination of science expert and science fiction writer, Jamie brings the science to life and explains what people can and should be doing now to prepare for this revolutionary future that will fundamentally reorganize modern societies and have monumental implications for businesses and other organizations.
Beyond the Blue Zones:
What the Revolutionary Science of Human Life Extension Means for You
Most everybody knows we should exercise, eat well, build meaningful communities, and reduce stress to live healthy longer. But the revolutionary new science of human life extension is creating enticing new possibilities for using technology to extend our lives far beyond what nature intended. While the quest for immortality has been the stuff of fairy tales, the new science of life extension will soon be pushing the limits of aging and unlocking human potential in ways our ancestors never could have imagined. Technology futurist Jamie Metzl explores the latest breakthroughs in the science of human life extension that promise to gain is more of life‘s most precious commodity: time. Jamie explains what individuals, companies, and governments must do now to prepare for this revolutionary future that will fundamentally reorganize our societies and global economics.
Human Resource Management in a Genetic Age
The overlapping genetics and AI revolutions are transforming our healthcare, the way we make babies, and how long we live. This revolution will be the greatest opportunity of our era, and also the greatest challenge – and it will have massive business implications that will increasingly define organizational success and failure in the 21st century.
Corporations have struggled for decades to build open and inclusive workplaces comfortable to people of all races, nationalities, genders, ages, and sexual orientations. In the fast-arriving genetic age, companies will need to figure out such issues as how to deal with predictive health information, whether to cover egg freezing, embryo selection, and embryonic gene editing for employees, and how to help employees prepare for longer than expected lives. While this may seem like science fiction, this future is already here. The genetics revolution will alter our perception of workforce capabilities and potentials and challenge even the most forward-thinking of corporations. It will upend traditional notions of equity, diversity, and inclusion. It will change much of everything.
But are you ready?
Think Like a Sci-Fi Writer: How to unlock your and your organization’s hidden potential in an era of revolutionary change
The future is coming at us faster than ever before. As the pace of technological change in fields like artificial intelligence, genomics, and robotics increases exponentially, the sands of national and international politics are shifting under our feet more than at any time since the end of WWII. But while this moment of radical change creates great peril for organizations that stick too rigidly to traditional ways of thinking and operating, it provides unparalleled opportunities for those who challenge themselves to think differently, creatively imagine future scenarios, and set out on a journey to succeed in a radically new environment. Organizations must, in other words, begin thinking like science fiction writers. In this wide-ranging and highly focused talk, Jamie clearly explains the converging mega-trends reshaping our world, describes how science fiction writers draw on evidence from the present to build a world of tomorrow, and outlines a specific road map for how organizations can use the powerful tool of thinking more like science fiction writers to better prepare for the future and unlock hidden organizational potential.
What You Need to Know About Asia in One Hour and One Slide
Asia’s rapid rise is reversing a current of westernized globalization that has flown for five hundred years. Understanding how Asia is transforming itself and the world is no longer just a matter of curiosity for outsiders, it is essential to making smart decisions. In this wide-ranging talk spanning thousands of years and multiple cultures, Asia expert Metzl draws on history, culture, science, technology, and politics to explain the background, drivers, and implications of Asia’s rise.
Global Geopolitics in an Age of Trump
The “America First” foreign policy of the Trump administration is hastening the demise of the post-War international system that was already in a state of crisis. But how will global peace, security, and stability be maintained in a world that has become dependent on American internationalism? In this talk spanning five hundred years of history, Jamie Metzl explores how our world today is structured in response to the destruction of the two World Wars and what it will mean to return to a world defined by strong states in a balance of power system. As the post-War era draws to a close, the ghosts of history are returning with a vengeance — with the world order, the global economic system, and the military balance hanging in the balance. The coming world disorder will create enormous challenges for companies and other organizations but even greater opportunities those who understand and prepare for what is coming.
Rising China and the Shifting Geopolitics of Asia
Fast-rising China is not just changing Asia, it is fundamentally transforming the global order. China’s economic growth, military expansion, behavior in the South and East China Seas, growing presence around the world, and increasingly emboldened foreign policy present a growing challenge to the US-led global system created in the aftermath of the Second World War. With America less able to serve as guarantor of the international system, and Europe incapable of realizing a coordinated foreign policy strategy and unwilling to invest sufficiently in military readiness, efforts to address major crises, promote a single set of rules governing the global economy, and support human rights around the world are faltering. But with China’s investment and manufacturing-based growth strategy losing steam, China itself will need to find a new model if it is to avoid stagnation. Living in a post-American world will have enormous consequences and touch every aspect of our lives. Jamie explores the key drivers of our fundamentally transforming world, what it will mean for global politics, economics, and culture, and how businesses and other organizations can best prepare.
"A gifted and thoughtful writer, Metzl brings us to the frontiers of biology and technology, and reveals a world full of promise and peril." ― Siddhartha Mukherjee MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene
Passionate, provocative, and highly illuminating, Hacking Darwin is the must read book about the future of our species for fans of Homo Deus and The Gene.
After 3.8 billion years humankind is about to start evolving by new rules...
From leading geopolitical expert and technology futurist Jamie Metzl comes a groundbreaking exploration of the many ways genetic-engineering is shaking the core foundations of our lives ― sex, war, love, and death.
At the dawn of the genetics revolution, our DNA is becoming as readable, writable, and hackable as our information technology. But as humanity starts retooling our own genetic code, the choices we make today will be the difference between realizing breathtaking advances in human well-being and descending into a dangerous and potentially deadly genetic arms race.
Enter the laboratories where scientists are turning science fiction into reality. Look towards a future where our deepest beliefs, morals, religions, and politics are challenged like never before and the very essence of what it means to be human is at play. When we can engineer our future children, massively extend our lifespans, build life from scratch, and recreate the plant and animal world, should we?See More
Homo Sapiens 2.0: The Future of Human Genetic Engineering (Atlantic Council)
Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity
The National Security Implications of the Genetics Revolution
Trump’s diplomatic skills in question over NoKo summit (with Jamie Metzl)
Jamie Metzl on Where Technology Will Be in 20 Years
The author of Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity & a member of the WHO Int'l advisory committee on human genome editing
“San Jose State thinks a great deal these days about how to approach healthcare studies with our students, how that interacts with technology and the humanities, and the complexity of programs we need to create that will allow us to think differently about our place in an ever changing world, as well as how we can have a positive impact. At our event, Jamie was exceptionally engaged with the students, and in both sessions before the lecture, everyone one came up with him afterwards to talk further with him. He offered thoughtful insights into these issues in an engaging, entertaining way that I know is going to generate a great deal of discussion and debate among our students and staff. He reminded us that the future is already here and we should engage with it actively and in the spirit of our values.”
—Dr. Mary A. Papazian, President, San Jose State University
“Provocative, challenging, wonderful, exciting and a bit scary are just a sampling of the reactions from the nearly 1,500 attendees at Jamie Metzl’s talks we hosted in advance of the debut of his book Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity. Jamie’s fast pace and vast knowledge kept audiences of all ages and persuasions locked on.”
—John Carney, CEO, Center for Practical Bioethics
“Jamie’s fabulous presentation on genetic engineering — past, present and future — was at once thought provoking, inspiring, frightening and enlightening. It was simply the best presentation I ever have heard in all my 71 years. I look forward to the publication of Hacking Darwin and can’t wait to get my hands on it.”
—David Parker, Board Member, Brown University Hillel
“Jamie’s talk on ‘Donald Trump and the Changing Geopolitics of Asia’ was an absolute tour de force that blew away our members. Jamie took what could have been a narrowly focused topic and put it in a far broader historical and political context that helped the audience to see the big picture of U.S.-China relations and the dynamics shaping it. His thought-provoking and expansive talk generated a fascinating discussion and left us seeing the world from an entirely different—and deeply appreciated—perspective.”
— Courtney Doggart, President, Network 20/20
“IVY hosts dozens of incredible lectures led by leading minds around the country each year, but I’ve never seen our members as engaged with the speaker and the subject matter as they were with Dr. Metzl. He captivated the room with the intricacies of the future of science and humanity. After the lecture members lingered for more than two hours discussing the implications of the future of genetic engineering and debating what, if anything, should be done about it.”
— IVY Connect “Jamie is a fantastic authority and resource on all things related to China. I hired Jamie as a panelist and keynote speaker in 2016 after hearing Jamie speak at an Atlantic Council event. He was extremely knowledgeable, flexible and a pleasure to work with on our event programming. I was particularly impressed by Jamie’s presence and command of the topics and his ability to engage with the audience in a meaningful way. Throughout our preparation, Jamie was always accessible and provided constructive ways to improve our program. Jamie is at the top of my list for my speaking engagement needs.”
“Jamie Metzl spoke to a captivated audience about a fascinating and complicated subject. Bio-engineering and its impact upon the future of mankind was the topic Dr. Metzl aptly articulated in an enthralling yet relatable style. From the start, he built a genuine rapport with the audience as he communicated so that each person understood as clearly as possible the subject matter. Jamie’s presentation was amazingly fluid and perfectly paced as he spoke effortlessly without notes or prompts. ‘Jamie is the best speaker we’ve ever had.’ ‘This event was a home run because of Jamie Metzl!’ ‘Jamie is engaging and smoothly breaks it down.’ These are just a few samples of the positive comments received from the audience after the presentation. Our community is excited about Jamie’s return for an encore!”
— Kansas City Jewish Federation
“Jamie spoke to the senior most lay leadership of our non-partisan, nonprofit organization on U.S. foreign policy and, particularly, as it relates to the Asia Pacific region—a topic that is difficult to address, both because it is inherently complex and politically sensitive. Jamie overcame these challenges and adeptly and tactfully addressed the issues, giving historical context and his own perspective in a clear and effective manner. His breadth of knowledge is impressive. Jamie is very personable, and his intelligence, confidence and personal charm were extremely well received. Many people commented after his presentation and the ensuing discussion that he is one of the best speakers they have heard in a very long while—and this is a group that is accustomed to hearing many high-level speakers. We look forward to the next opportunity to host Jamie as a speaker again.”
—Shira Loewenberg, Director, AJC Asia Pacific Institute (API)
Praise for Hacking Darwin
“Jamie Metzl’s book — ranging through genetics, human destiny and the future — is an incredible trove of information for scientists, futurists, technologists, entrepreneurs, and virtually every intrigued, interested reader. A gifted and thoughtful writer, Metzl brings us to the frontiers of biology and technology, and reveals a world full of promise and peril. This is a must-read book.”
Siddhartha Mukherjee MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene: An Intimate History
“In many ways, Jamie Metzl has been preparing Hacking Darwin for the last 20 years and his diligence shines through. Jamie is a gifted writer and his explanation of genetics are crisp, accurate, and wonderfully engaging. If you can only read one book on the future of our species, this is it.”
Sanjay Gupta MD, bestseller author, neurosurgeon, and Emmy-award winning chief medical correspondent (CNN)
“Whether you already run the whitewater of transhumanism or oppose changing one atom of any species, you will see we have a revolution in our midst — one of engineering genes, possibly surpassing the space, atomic, and electronic revolutions in its significance. It is a transformation we ignore at great risk. To help prepare us for what’s coming, Jamie Metzl guides us brilliantly down the twisting and ever-changing river of our genetic future in this important and thought-provoking book. Beyond the issues of efficacy and safety, he thoughtfully explores the ultimately more critical issues of diversity, equality, and respect for each other and our common humanity.”
George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and author of Regenesis
“Jamie Metzl’s Hacking Darwin is an outstanding guide to the most important conversation of our lives — how we humans will hijack our evolutionary process and transcend the limits of our own biology.”
Ray Kurzweil, inventor and futurist, author of The Singularity is Near and How to Create a Mind
“Jamie Metzl possesses a nearly superhuman ability to take in vast amounts of research and synthesize it into disruptive, beautifully-wrought prose. To borrow a term from the book, Hacking Darwin is an intellectual masterbatortium — at once stimulating and consummately satisfying.”
Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestselling author of Blue Zones Solution and Blue Zones of Happiness
“Genetic technologies contain extraordinary promise – and breathtaking challenges — with the potential to change virtually every aspect of our lives. In the pages of Hacking Darwin, Jamie Metzl takes us on a critical journey through opportunities and obstacles on humanity’s greatest expedition: the exploration and re-imagining of what it means to be human.”
Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles
“Jamie Metzl has written a personal, funny, unpretentious and ultimately deeply optimistic book about how the human race will transform itself through genomics. In his enthusiastic embrace of our technological future, Metzl gives voice to the adventure of biological discovery without losing sight of the risks. Hacking Darwin is a witty introduction to a wide variety of themes within genomics, and is at its most profound when imagining not just the science, but the social and geopolitical reactions that will accrue throughout the world. Metzl writes about real science with the flair of a science fiction writer, and in the process challenges us to begin a complex but necessary conversation about how humanity will evolve.”
Robert C. Green, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine (Genetics), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Broad Institute and Harvard Medical School
“This wildly exciting and highly accessible book kidnaps us on a ride to the future, demonstrating in thrilling detail how our species’ ability to transform and improve the genetic makeup of our offspring will explode over the course of our lifetimes and beyond. Even as a scientist working in the field of human longevity and genetics, this book blew my mind. It should be required reading for scientists, doctors, and anybody else whose life and those of their children will be touched by genetic technologies — which is just about all of us. Our world is changing rapidly, and we could have no better guide to the profound opportunities, challenges, and ethical complexities of the genetics revolution than Jamie Metzl.”
Nir Barzilai M.D., The Rennert Chair of Aging Research Professor of Medicine and Genetics, Director of The Institute for Aging Research; The Glenn Center for the Biology of Human Aging; NSC of Excellence in the Biology of Aging (NIH), Albert Einstein College of Medicine
“Jamie Metzl’s Hacking Darwin should be required reading for business executive, scientists, worriers, and dreamers — for anyone interested in the future of science and humanity. Bit by bit, with wit and grace, he shows how we are rebuilding the very notion of what it means to be human, and how we will inevitably be changed in that process.”
Debora Spar, author of The Baby Business and Baker Foundation Professor, Harvard Business School
“Humans taking control of human evolution is happening now and it could be the most significant thing we have done since we learned how to make and use fire. When history looks back on this period, it will not focus on the shiny objects that grab the attention of media today, but rather on the tech breakthroughs that Metzl explains in such clear language. Hacking Darwin is essential reading if you want to understand what will be seen as the most important thing happening in this epoch.”
Richard A. Clarke, bestselling author of Warnings and former White House National Security official
“Breathtaking advances in artificial intelligence, genomics, and gene editing are radically transforming our understanding of the human body and changing our practice of medicine. But as Jamie Metzl articulates in Hacking Darwin, the implications of the genetics revolution extend far beyond healthcare and into the realm of our very identity as human beings. Metzl lays out the underlying science and thoroughly examines the radical implications and thorny ethical issues raised by these technologies. A genetically altered future will be arriving far sooner and with far greater implications than most people appreciate. Hacking Darwin comes at a critically important time, with many scientific developments arising in the field. It is an essential guide as society navigates these developments and a clarion call for the inclusive global dialogue on the future of human genetic engineering we so desperately need.”
Victor Dzau M.D., President, United States National Academy of Medicine
“The bio-sciences revolution is coming at us faster than we realize and what better guide to its possibilities than Jamie Metzl. Hacking Darwin is a compelling read ahead of our genetic future, breathtaking on one hand, thought provoking and challenging on the other. A must read and entertaining guide if you care to know what lies ahead and what to do about it.”
James Manyika, Chairman, McKinsey Global Institute
“Evolution has changed since Darwin’s time. We are driving unnatural selection and nonrandom mutation. This gives us the power to alter all species, including ourselves. So the key emerging debate is: Should we redesign humans? Why? How far? How fast? Metzl lays out what we can do now, what we might be able to do, in an engaging, non-technical way. Let the debate begin.”
Juan Enriquez, Co-author Evolving Ourselves: Redesigning the Future of Humanity — One Gene at a Time
“Hacking Darwin paints a picture of our future that is both exciting and hopeful as well as dangerous and terrifying. Brilliantly written and deeply thought provoking, it is a must read — for the entire planet. I could not put it down, reading it in a single sitting.”
Michael Morell, former CIA Acting Director
BBC | April 29, 2019
Blue Zones | April 26, 2019
Smithsonian | April 25, 2019
Economist | April 25, 2019
Amanpour & Co., PBS | April 24, 2019
Genetic Literacy Project | April 23, 2019
Forbes | April 20, 2019
Bloomberg podcast | April 16, 2019 (interview with Jamie begins at minute 13)
Intelligence Matters, CBS News | April 16, 2019
Future State | April 15, 2019
Express | April 9, 2019
Kansas City Jewish Chronicle | April 5, 2019
Creative Life podcast | April 2, 2019
Publishers Weekly | January 24, 2019
Kirkus | January 21, 2019
NPR Tech Nation | December 12, 2018