Sophie Hackford

Sophie Hackford

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Futurist, Technologist & Researcher

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Synopsis

A first-hand witness to many of the latest innovations and the creative thinkers behind them, Sophie is a practised translator between academia, technologists, corporates and governments. Rather than providing answers, she challenges organisations to question themselves and reassess their core business. If cheap satellite technology allows you to watch your competitors’ supply chain from space, how will that affect what you do? What questions can you now ask, using these new technologies? Today your competition doesn’t look like you, and Sophie helps to uncover where the new threats and opportunities lie.

Biography

Sophie Hackford is a futurist, technologist, researcher and anthropologist. She asks challenging questions about the accelerating technologies that are shaping the future. She travels the world visiting maker, hacker, science and space communities, from Shenzhen to Detroit, discovering emerging technologies off the beaten track. Sophie uses these insights to speak to corporate and government audiences about our global future, from virtual technologies and AI to genetics to existential risk.

Previously Sophie launched WIRED magazine’s consulting business, bringing original thinkers and troublemakers into corporate boardrooms. Prior to WIRED, she lived and worked at Singularity University, the NASA joint-venture exploring the cutting edge of everything from genetics to AI to engineering and their effects on business and society. At Oxford University’s Oxford Martin School, Sophie helped grow it from an interdisciplinary research department to a world-famous academic community of experts on global challenges from pandemics to food insecurity to systemic risk.

A first-hand witness to many of the latest innovations and the creative thinkers behind them, Sophie is a practised translator between academia, technologists, corporates and governments. She demystifies AI, quantum computing and virtual technologies, whilst considering the social impact of everything from digital spaces to data identities to genomics. Sophie challenges organisations to question themselves and reassess their core business, while helping them to understand and prepare for the future. Her ability to explain emerging technologies like supercomputing or gene sequencing, against a backdrop of global meta-trends like demography, economics and regulation, provides businesses with a unique insight into the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Sophie believes that one day we could be living and working in a ‘digital metaverse’, from digital twinning and avatars to next-gen user interfaces (UI). This data-driven metaverse is made up of different but connected virtual worlds with a single currency or non-fungible token (NFT) ‘flowing’ through them, driven by the numerous disconnected (but growing) number of virtual worlds in use currently.

Sophie has co-founded an AI spin-out from Oxford University and sits on the boards of two start-ups– Classlist and Not Just A Label. She is an advisor to John Deere where she looks at the future of industry, food and climate, and has been a contributor to World Economic Forum, Google, and Victoria & Albert Museum publications.

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