The Practical Futurist, Technology Pioneer and Journalist
Michael Rogers is a technology pioneer, novelist and journalist whose consultancy, PRACTICAL FUTURIST, helps businesses and organizations worldwide think about the future. In recent years he has worked with companies ranging from FedEx, Boeing and Time-Life to Prudential, Dow Corning, GE and Genentech.
He is completing a two-year tenure as futurist-in-residence for The New York Times and also writes the Practical Futurist column for MSNBC. For ten years he was vice president of The Washington Post Company's new media division, guiding both the newspaper and Newsweek into the new century, as well as serving as editor and general manager of Newsweek.com.
After a decade as a writer for Rolling Stone, Rogers co-founded Outside magazine. He then joined Newsweek to create the magazine's Technology section, earning numerous journalism awards for his work. Rogers is also a best-selling novelist whose fiction explores the human impact of technology. His five books have been published worldwide, optioned for film and television, and chosen by the Book of the Month Club.
In 1993 he produced the world's first CD-ROM newsmagazine for Newsweek, going on to develop interactive areas on Prodigy, America Online and then a series of Internet sites including the award-winning Parents’ Guide to Children’s Software, which also appeared in book form. In 1999 he received a patent for the bimodal spine, a multimedia storytelling technique, and is listed in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. In 2007 he was named to the Magazine Industry Digital Hall of Fame.
Rogers is a frequent guest on radio and television and regularly addresses audiences worldwide, ranging from venture capitalists and corporate executives to educators, students and the general public. In 1989 he was founding chairperson of the European Technology Roundtable, an annual CEO gathering, which he continues to moderate along with the Asian Technology Roundtable.
Rogers studied physics and creative writing at Stanford University with additional training in finance and management at Stanford Business School’s Executive Program. He lives in New York and is at work on his next book.
Speech Topics Include:
Management Meets the Future
Managers are facing multiple new challenges: virtual work forces, flattened corporate structures, a
new generation of ambitious and cyber-savvy workers, a heightened atmosphere of public scrutiny—
not to mention the perennial pressure to do more with less. How are smart managers coping and
what’s next to come?
The State of Trust
In many ways, modern technology has temporarily eroded trust, as bloggers blow the whistle on corporate cover-ups or catch the big media companies in mistakes or misrepresentations. In families it
has created a new tension between parents and children, as kids seek freedom in the Internet world
while parents worry, quite rightly, about the dangers that lie online. But there are also some methods
emerging wherein new technology can be used to increase trust among families and communities.
The Virtualization of America
Over the next decade, more and more of our work, what we care about and how we interact with others is going to move into the virtual world, mediated by computers and the Internet. In addition, we’re
seeing the rise of a new generation of “digital natives” who are remarkably comfortable with virtual
relationships. What will this mean for how our businesses and organizations must grow and evolve in
the years to come?
The Digital Lifestyle
Computers, the Internet and the digitization of all media are changing many aspects of the American
lifestyle—from how we work, where we shop, how we entertain ourselves and even how we meet our
mates. It is also beginning to reshape the way our homes are built, furnished and lived-in. What does
the digital lifestyle mean for what companies must do to reach their customers and how products must
change to meet new needs? It’s necessary to tie together strands from pop culture, consumer electronics and even home décor to understand fully the scope of the transformation.
Telecommunications and Media
The rise of the Internet and the digitization of all media are having a profound effect on both the telecom and media industries. The relationship between the creators of content and the owners of “the
pipes” has never been more complex or volatile. And new technologies such as wireless broadband
and VOIP are only now arriving. What will the next decade see in content and services delivery, customer expectations, the protection of intellectual property, and the role of traditional media?
We have only seen the beginning of how globalization will change our world over the next decades. The
democratization of information via the Internet, the rise of middle class consumers in the developing
world, the spread of outsourcing to professions like law and medicine, new competitors dislodging Fortune 500 firms in global markets, increased pressure on natural resources…the list will only grow longer as market forces and technology spread across our planet.
Information technology and genetic science are combining to create a fundamental shift in the way we
think about and treat disease. At the same time, however, prices continue to rise and there is as much
pressure to use technology to cut costs as to advance health science. How do we balance the enormous
potential of advancing technology with the real world questions of delivering affordable health care?
The Next Generation
The first generation never to know a world without an Internet is rapidly approaching adulthood. It is a
cohort that has fundamentally different ideas and expectations about how to relate to businesses, employers, the media and each other. How do we market to this new breed? How will we manage them? What will they expect from products and services, and what new skills—or deficits—will they bring to the workplace?
It’s common knowledge that the US population is graying—but what’s less noted is that the United
States is also the fastest growing industrialized nation on earth. Between now and 2050, our population
could increase by as much as 40%—and the drivers of that increase are already in place, ranging from
the largest K - 8 population in history to longer lifespans and liberal immigration policies. Fixed resources—waterfront property, elite educations, room on our roadways, suburban open space—will be
under increasing pressure. How will population shape our nation in years to come?
After creating the award-winning Parents’ Guide to Children’s Software in 1996, Rogers has followed
education and technology issues closely. He often speaks to audiences of both parents and educators
about technology and learning—and specifically how the rise of computers and the Internet has actually
increased the importance of the thinking skills that underlie the traditional three R’s. Too much emphasis on technology, especially in early grades, may actually interfere with the lifelong learning skills that this century will demand from every worker.
Rogers has followed the world energy picture since he shared the National Headliners Award for coverage of the Chernobyl disaster and its implications for nuclear energy. He has written extensively on alternative energy and recently participated in the United Nations conference Bridging the Divide on bringing new energy technology to developing countries.