We’ve heard dramatic statements about the arrival of artificial intelligence for decades, yet little seems to have changed. Other than a few well-known applications—personalized news feeds, customer service chatbots, e-commerce recommendations—the world today may seem mostly unaffected by AI. Yet world-renowned AI expert Ajay Agrawal sees the power of this technology’s potential all around us in ways that aren’t always obvious. Named the engineer of a “Billion Dollar Breakout” by The Globe and Mail, Agrawal comes at AI’s potential as both an economist and a business visionary. Ajay’s keynotes show us that business leaders and entrepreneurs are in a position to enhance the way we all work by tapping into AI opportunities right now, not tomorrow. And if we want to see AI get to an even higher level of exposure, we’ll just need a few additional investments to make it grow even bigger. In many cases, those investments are well underway. Change isn’t just on the horizon—it’s already here.
As founder of the University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab, Agrawal’s talks unpack the full potential of AI and machine prediction. His first book, Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence is a must-read survey—and practical toolkit—for anyone seeking to leverage the disruptive, transformative power of AI in the coming decades. His new book, Power and Prediction, is a must-read guide for any business leader or policy maker on how to make the coming AI disruptions work for you rather than against you. As AI prediction machines improve, old ways of doing things will be upended, and this process will have winners and losers. How can businesses leverage, or protect, their positions?
As co-founder of the not-for-profit NextAI, Agrawal helps young entrepreneurs and technologists explore new commercial opportunities that are a direct result of advances in AI. He is also a co-founder of “Machine Learning and the Market for Intelligence,” an annual conference on the business of artificial intelligence. In addition, he is a co-founder of Kindred, a company that seeks to build machines with human-like intelligence.
Agrawal was named to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian order, for his “visionary leadership as an educator and entrepreneur, and for his mentorship of students and aspiring business owners.” He has been awarded Professor of the Year by MBA classes at the Rotman School seven times, the Martin-Lang Award for Excellence in Teaching, and most recently the Distinguished Scholarly Contribution Award, among several other honors. He conducts research on the economics of artificial intelligence, science policy, entrepreneurial finance, and the geography of innovation. He serves on the editorial boards of multiple management and economics journals and holds a Ph.D. in Strategy and Economics and an M.Eng./MBA from the University of British Columbia. He served as a Visiting Scholar at MIT, London Business School, and Harvard University, as well as a Visiting Professor at Stanford.