Amy Webb

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Amy Webb
Amy Lynn Webb

1974 (age 45–46)
Alma materIndiana University Bloomington
Columbia University
OccupationFuturist, author, journalist, professor
Notable work
Data, A Love Story
The Signals Are Talking
The Big Nine
Brian Woolf (m. 2008)

Amy Lynn Webb (born 1974)[1] is an American futurist, author and founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute.[2] She is professor of strategic foresight at New York University's Stern School of Business,[3] and was a 2014–15 Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Webb was born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana.[5] Originally attending its Jacobs School of Music to study classical clarinet, she earned a bachelor's degree in political science, economics and game theory from Indiana University Bloomington in 1997.[5][6] She moved to rural Japan, where she worked as a freelance journalist and an English teacher.[5] She went on to earn a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2001.[5][7]


Webb 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.[5][7] In 2006, Webb founded the Future Today Institute (formerly Webbmedia Group), a management consulting firm.[2][7] Since 2007, Webb has authored the Future Today Institute's annual Tech Trend Report, an account of the future of technologies and their impact on society.[3][8] In 2011, she co-founded Spark Camp, an invite-only leadership conference focused on the future of business, government and society.[9]

Webb is a 2017-18 delegate in the US-Japan Leadership Program[10] and was a delegate on the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, where she worked on the future of technology, media and international diplomacy.[5] She was a futurist consultant for the 2018 Hulu television series The First, about a human mission to Mars in the 2030s.[11][12][13] Forbes named her one of the Women Changing the World (technology category).[14] In 2012, she was named one of Columbia Journalism Review's 20 women to watch.[15] She was named to the 2017 Thinkers50 Radar list of the 30 people most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led, and won the 2017 Thinkers50 RADAR Award.[16] 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.[17][18]

She was on a panel of AI experts moderated by Wired editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson at the World Economic Forum's 2019 conference in Davos, Switzerland, where she argued that there is "misplaced optimism" about AI technology, resulting from ignoring the fact that humans are in charge of its development and use.[19] She has recommended the formation of a Global Alliance on Intelligence Augmentation, a central organization that would develop standards for what should be automated when it comes to data collection and sharing, and to visualize a future with more intelligent systems.[20]


Webb's memoir Data, A Love Story was published by Dutton in 2013.[21][22] The book chronicles Webb's attempts at online dating.[22][23] Initially meeting with failure, Webb collected and analyzed data to game online dating.[24] Booklist called the book "clever and inventive",[25] and Publishers Weekly deemed it an "insightful, funny journey through online dating."[26] Webb's 2013 TED Talk about Data, A Love Story has been translated into 32 languages and has been viewed more than 6.7 million times.[5][27]

In 2015, Harvard University published How To Make J-School Matter (Again), Webb's research on the challenges facing journalism educators and the future of journalism.[28]

Webb's book The Signals Are Talking: Why Today's Fringe Is Tomorrow's Mainstream was published by PublicAffairs on December 6, 2016.[29][30][31] In the book she describes her methodology for strategic foresight and examines how weak signals become widely accepted.[29] It was selected as one of Fast Company's Best Business Books of 2016[32] and as one of Amazon's Best Books of December 2016.[33] It was a Washington Post bestseller,[34] and has been translated into Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.[5]

Webb's book The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity was published by PublicAffairs on March 5, 2019.[35] In the book, she predicts best- and worst-case scenarios about artificial intelligence (AI) over the next 50 years.[36] She uses the term G-MAFIA, which she coined, to refer to the large American publicly traded technology companies Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Apple. She says that the G-MAFIA and the Chinese companies Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (known as the BAT) have the most control over the future of AI, and explains the importance of considering the best interests of humanity when it comes to AI.[19][37][38][20] Excerpts of The Big Nine were published in Wired,[37] Fast Company,[39] Inc.,[40] and Business Insider.[35] VentureBeat called the book "an accessible and constructive imagining of what could come next."[36]

Personal life[edit]

Webb is Jewish.[22] She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband and their daughter.[5]


  • Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match, Dutton, 2013, ISBN 0-142-18045-9.
  • How To Make J-School Matter (Again), Nieman, 2015.
  • The Signals Are Talking: Why Today's Fringe Is Tomorrow's Mainstream, New York City, PublicAffairs, 2016, ISBN 1-541-78823-0.
  • The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity, New York City, PublicAffairs, 2019, ISBN 978-1541773752.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Christina Vuleta, "Don't Sit Back And Let The Future Happen To You: Listen To the Signals," Forbes, January 18, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Khari Johnson, "Future Today Institute: China will become the world's 'unchallenged AI hegemon' in 2018," VentureBeat, March 11, 2018.
  4. ^ "Nieman Foundation Announces Visiting Fellows Fellows". Harvard.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i McCauley, Mary Carole (January 27, 2017). "Baltimorean, data-obsessive Amy Webb IDs tech trends that will disrupt tomorrow". Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c Sentementes, Gus G. (December 26, 2010). "Amy Webb brings Awesome to Baltimore". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  8. ^ Oliver Pechter, "Amy Webb: Smartphones will be gone in 10 years," Business Insider, October 30, 2017.
  9. ^ Chris Gayomali, "What Happens At The Ultimate Summer Camp For Influencers," Fast Company, July 3, 2014.
  10. ^ "Meet the 2017 Delegates," The Leadership U.S.-Japan Program, March 30, 2017.
  11. ^ Elizabeth Howell, "Humans to Mars Summit 2018 Launches This Week,", May 8, 2018.
  12. ^ Roffman, Marisa (15 Sep 2018). "'The First' Creator Explains Why the Hulu Drama Took So Long to Get to Space". Hollywood Reporter.
  13. ^ Wood, Molly (13 Sep 2018). "When Hollywood producers need to get the future right, they call a futurist".
  14. ^ "Women Changing The World: Technology". Forbes.
  15. ^ "20 women to watch". CJR. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  16. ^ "Thinkers50 Radar". Thinkers50.
  17. ^ "The Future of Everything Festival: What's Next for AI?" Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2018.
  18. ^ "If Machines Take Over, Who Will Be in Charge?" Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Feloni, Richard (28 Jan 2019). "An NYU professor says the debate about the future of AI is distorted by 'a tremendous amount of misplaced optimism and fear'". Business Insider.
  20. ^ a b Hao, Karen (26 Feb 2019). "Why AI is a threat to democracy—and what we can do to stop it". MIT Technology Review.
  21. ^ "Nonfiction Previews, Feb. 2013, Pt. 1: American Tech, from Edison to Detroit to Online Dating". Library Journal. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  22. ^ a b c Nina Stoller-Lindsey, "She wanted a husband, so she did the math," Times of Israel, February 14, 2013.
  23. ^ "Can Online Dating Lead To Love?". Time Magazine. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  24. ^ "A New Formula For Love". CNN. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  25. ^ "Review: Data, A Love Story". Booklist. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  26. ^ "Review: Data, A Love Story". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  27. ^ "Amy Webb: How I hacked online dating TED Talk". TED.
  28. ^ "Amy Webb's new approach to curriculum and classroom education". Nieman Foundation at Harvard University.
  29. ^ a b Kevin Roose, "For Better or Worse: New Books Forecast the Next Technologies," New York Times, December 29, 2016.
  30. ^ Andrea Hanis, "'The Signals are Talking': Amy Webb teaches us to listen," Chicago Tribune, December 22, 2016.
  31. ^ Brian Bergstein, "How to Think Like a Futurist," MIT Technology Review, December 28, 2016.
  32. ^ "The 10 Best Books of 2016". Fast Company.
  33. ^ "10 best books of December 2016, according to Amazon's editors". Christian Science Monitor.
  34. ^ "Washington Post bestsellers: July 23, 2017," Washington Post, July 21, 2017.
  35. ^ a b "An NYU professor explains why it's so dangerous that Silicon Valley is building AI to make decisions without human values". Business Insider. 23 Feb 2019.
  36. ^ a b Johnson, Khari (5 Mar 2019). "Amy Webb's 'The Big Nine' predicts the impact of AI and tech giants over the next 50 years". VentureBeat.
  38. ^ Marvin, Rob (3 Jan 2019). "What Tech Will Look Like in 2039". PC Magazine.
  39. ^ Webb, Amy (4 Mar 2019). "How can we design AI for the best long-term interests of humanity?". Fast Company.
  40. ^ Webb, Amy (6 Mar 2019). "16 Uncomfortable Questions Everyone Needs to Ask About Artificial Intelligence". Inc.

External links[edit]