Neil Jacobstein

Faculty Chair, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics at Singularity University
Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s mediaX Program
On the Earth and Life Studies Committee for US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Inquire About Neil

Neil Chairs the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Track at Singularity University. He has given talks worldwide on the technical, business, and ethical implications of AI, robotics, and nanotechnology. Neil Jacobstein is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s mediaX Program, where his research focuses on augmented decision systems. He was CEO of Teknowledge Corporation, a pioneering AI company, that developed hybrid AI applications systems for industry and government. He has served as an AI technical consultant to leading business, government, and defense organizations including GM, Ford, Toyota, Boeing, ING, Wells Fargo, Citibank, J.D. Edwards, UBS, FMC, P&G, Harman, GE, Wipro, Dow, Genentech, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Applied Materials, Samsung, Fijitsu, Mount Sinai Harris Center, Texas Medical Center, PWC, E&Y, Deloitte, XPRIZE, YPO, Google, IBM, NSF, DARPA, NASA, NIH, EPA, DOE, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and the intelligence community.

Read More

Neil was appointed by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to the Earth and Life Studies Committee for the period 2015-2021. He has been reviewing technical papers for the AAAI Innovative Applications of AI conference for over 20 years. He was appointed in 2016 to the Founding Editorial Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Science Robotics journal. Neil is a Henry Crown Fellow and seminar moderator at the Aspen Institute.

He is currently serving in a variety of executive and advisory roles for industry, startup, nonprofit, and government organizations.

Read Less


Applications of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Jacobstein discusses the technical, business, environmental, and ethical implications of AI and robotics. He explains how artificial intelligence and robotics are advancing exponentially as increasing computing power, improved algorithms, and access to massive amounts of data power the ongoing revolution in AI, and the future revolution in robotics. Neil discusses the latest breakthroughs in AI and robotics. He distinguishes what has been proven in the lab and which technologies are ready for immediate application. He covers:

  • deep learning
  • reinforcement learning
  • autonomous vehicles
  • algorithms for medical diagnostics
  • robotic surgery
  • manufacturing robots
  • drones
  • personal assistants
  • biotech automation

Drawing on decades of AI project experience, Jacobstein provides a custom framework for the successful business applications of these technologies. He has a delivery that is both engaging and accessible, including to experts and beginners in science and technology. Jacobstein covers specific technical opportunities and implications for a wide variety of established industries and entrepreneurial startups. He also addresses how AI and robotics will transform the creation and distribution of wealth and jobs over the coming years, and what we can do to prepare proactively. Finally, Jacobstein addresses topics in the ethics of AI, including in medical, military, social media applications, and prospects for the risks and benefits of superintelligence.

The Future of Exponential Technology

From artificial intelligence and 5G to quantum computing and nanotechnology, Jacobstein looks at the new technologies coming our way. He offers a concise, no-fluff look at how they will affect the ways we work and live. Distinguishing real gamechangers from marketing hype, Jacobstein addresses the business, technical, and ethical implications of a variety of exponential technologies that double in price performance every two years. His presentations are continuously updated with the latest research breakthroughs and commercial technology. Each talk is customized to the audience at hand. He presents thoughtful forecasts on what we can expect 5, 10, and 15 years out. Jacobstein highlights what business audiences can learn about innovation from the disruptive technology accelerating all around them. He helps audience members prepare for changes so that they can capture opportunities and avoid getting left behind in the digital dust.

The Future of Work

Jacobstein captivates audiences through a clear and engaging briefing on the latest improvements in AI and Robotics and the resulting effects on jobs, industries, and the economy. Unlike the movement of farm workers into factories, and factory workers into white collar office jobs, Jacobstein provides evidence that this time, the pattern may be different. He predicts we can look forward to millions of new jobs, but that the real issue will be the ratio of new jobs to jobs displaced by machine learning and robotics. Jacobstein emphasizes the critical importance of education, particularly in science, technology, ethics, critical thinking, art, design, math, and machine learning. He addresses the merits and potential incentive pitfalls of universal basic income, and specifies what businesses need to know to increase productivity and profitability while mitigating social problems. Jacobstein provides an eye-opening look at the future of AI, robotics, and the accelerating business environment that includes opportunities for both disruption and real abundance.

AI Ethics: Privacy, Bias, and Trust in Machine Learning

Can we trust our technology? There is no doubt that AI will change human life in profoundly meaningful and positive ways. But it won’t come without a price: loss of privacy, risks of biased social and business judgments, task displacement, errors in machine learning algorithms in vehicles, and the potential for error in critical infrastructure decisions. Jacobstein suggests that there are no easy answers, and we need to improve our proactive handling of many new ethical questions. Here, Jacobstein addresses what AI means for jobs, the way we define ourselves, our self-esteem, the distribution of wealth, and our surprisingly limited sense of what is possible. He provides vivid and compelling examples of AI applications utilized in the market today and addresses specific and practical AI insights culled from a wide variety of industries. Jacobstein shares his expertise and passion for AI, highlighting how it can be combined with other technologies to generate vast new wealth and potentially solve some of humanity’s critical grand challenges. Finally, he facilitates an interactive discussion on the principles necessary to use this powerful technology responsibly and ethically, including near-term issues like privacy, bias, trust, and accountability, and longer-term issues including alignment with potential superintelligences. In spite of the many immediate challenges in our world from war to COVID-19, Jacobstein communicates the very real possibility of our creating happier, healthier, and more secure lives in the future.

Finance and Investment in the AI Revolution

Jacobstein has experience with over 50 large banks as AI application customers. He provides a framework for thinking about what is driving the AI Revolution, and how it is revolutionizing Fintech and investment opportunities. He looks at what specific roles AI can play in finance and the bottom-line value it can add. Drawing on case studies of companies already using this revolutionary technology, Jacobstein discusses the task areas where companies are using AI to deliver entirely new digital financial products and services. He also addresses the implications for jobs, business disruption, and ethics as businesses plan to capture the benefits and reduce the risks of this rapidly evolving technology.

Autonomous Vehicles: An Imperfect Way to Save Millions of Lives

Jacobstein covers the possibilities and transformations brought on by autonomous vehicles in everyday life. He reviews both the technology that makes these vehicles possible as well as the implications of driverless cars. Jacobstein acknowledges that the technology is currently imperfect, but he makes the case for a world in which millions of lives are eventually saved by AI-powered vehicles. He discusses the implications of autonomous vehicles for other aspects of our lives, including: our use of commuting time, optional car ownership, reduced demand for parking, changes in city planning and real estate values, reduced pollution, and the increased production of electric cars. This is a powerful, evidence-based look at a nascent technology on the verge of ubiquity.

Atomically Precise Manufacturing: Programming Bits and Molecules

Nanotechnology is more than just exploiting the extraordinary properties of materials at scales under 100 nanometers or billionths of a meter. The larger opportunity is atomically precise manufacturing, and scalable molecular robotics, which is technically feasible, but still a future prospect. This talk describes visually and clearly the technical foundations for programming molecular robotics and atomically precise manufacturing. It gives many examples of the precursor devices which have already been demonstrated in the laboratory. Neil is extremely articulate about the future prospects for nanotechnology. He predicts that “Nanotechnology will alter our relationship with molecules and matter like the computer altered our relationship with bits and information. Specifically, it will enable the inexpensive and ubiquitous control of molecules and matter.” Neil discusses the technical, business, environmental, and ethical implications of atomically precise manufacturing in ways that are engaging to technical people, and accessible to people who are beginners in science and technology.


“Neil spoke at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Directors meeting in Scottsdale yesterday. He had many very positive comments, but three separate times an exec came up to me and said: “That wasn’t just a good talk, that was the best talk I have ever heard in years of coming to NAM.”

Faculty Chair, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics at Singularity University
Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s mediaX Program
On the Earth and Life Studies Committee for US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Inquire About Neil
View All of Our Speakers

Interested in booking Neil?

As the saying goes “you’re either disrupting or being disrupted”, -- and that has never been truer than it is today. Let us help you get connected to the right speakers.