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Jesse Hirsh

Speaker Featured

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Futurist & Digital Strategist

Jesse Hirsh is a futurist speaker and internet strategist. An experienced innovator and collaborator, his passion is educating people on the potential benefits and perils of technology. Jesse helps audiences understand what the future holds for them by sharing strategic, provocative and often humorous forward-thinking insights. He makes the discussion about new technology accessible and empowers groups to embrace the opportunities available to them in this technological age, especially at the forefront of sustainable living.

Keynote Speeches

Virtual Keynotes & Webinars
Contact us for more information about this speaker & their virtual presentations. Click here for some of the most popular formats for virtual events.
The Future of Innovation, Authority, and the Rise of Artificial Intelligence

Who we listen to and who we trust is changing, while at the same time, smarter systems and machines are emerging that are ready and willing to make decisions on our behalf. Automation and machine learning are having a disruptive and transformative effect on every sector and industry, driving innovation, and offering the potential for greater scale and efficiency. In some areas this technology is increasing capacity and capability, enabling new products and services, while fueling growth. Yet in other areas, automation will lead to dramatic consolidation and disruption, especially with regard to employment. There are also significant ethical issues to consider as we embrace these smart systems, especially when algorithms are wrong or exhibit prejudice. We’re in a unique historical moment to discuss and ultimately shape the role of automation in our lives and the opportunities and challenges it presents.

Participatory Cyber Security and Inclusive Computing

The increasing complexity of our technological society reinforces the necessity for responsible and participatory cyber security practices. The stakes have never been higher, and yet the number of incidents and data breaches continues to increase in severity and sensationalism. Part of the problem is that the average user is either alienated from, or lacks the necessary literacy, to follow current best practices. Yet we can’t blame the victim/user. As IT professionals we need to step up and adapt our methods to increase our effectiveness. An excellent example is the rise of participatory design and inclusive computing. As values and methodologies, these concepts argue that rather than design tools for users, we should be designing and building tools with users. While bias in AI is an obvious and important example of where this is currently being applied, cyber security is arguably just as important, and in need of immediate attention, or rather participation. In this session we’ll explore participatory cyber security, inclusive computing, what it means, and how it can be used by admins and developers.

The Future of Education is Each One Teach One

We live in a technology driven society where almost all the world’s knowledge is available to us on our mobile devices. The key question becomes, what are we going to do with it all? Knowledge alone is not enough, we need each other, as the secret to success is both social, and interactive. The world is our classroom, and technology allows us to be simultaneously students and teachers. While automation and artificial intelligence have an important role to play in making education as accessible as possible, we cannot forget that learning is what makes us human, and knowledge increases in value the more it is shared. That’s why the future of education is peer to peer, on demand, and in abundance. Learning as we go, sharing what we know, and building knowledge networks to ensure we all benefit from the process. This is the pedagogy of the Internet, and the path to our collective prosperity and success.

Smart Farms: How technology is transforming agriculture

Farming continues to be a significant source of innovation as farmers hustle to make the most of their land and livestock. Robots, automation, and technology in general are enabling a new era in agriculture that has the potential to address global hunger, climate change, and ensure we all have good food to eat. However all of this depends on how the technology is used, and more importantly who controls it. As farms become smarter, the opportunity is not just better agricultural practices, but a better relationship between the grower and the eater, and everyone in between. The pandemic illustrated how brittle our food supply chain can be, and the economic crisis it induced has left many farmers struggling to survive. How can technology and transparency ensure sustainability and success?

Upgrading Government: Digital transformation and Emerging Technologies

For the past couple of decades, governments around the world have recognized the power and potential of digital technologies but have been slow to adopt them, for a wide range of legitimate reasons. However the pandemic has induced a genuine urgency as governments wrestle with the combined challenges of remote work for their civil servants and the demand from the public for digital service and program delivery. Most governments have been relatively successful in responding to this crisis, however there’s still no end in sight. How can governments continue with their upgrade amidst this ongoing pandemic? What is working? What’s not? What does the future hold for digital government? How can we adapt? How can we lead?

Customized Presentation

Jesse also offers a unique and customized approach to his presentations. 

Platform Plus Presentations

Unique formats and ways to connect with audiences.
Workshop or Keynote | Learning at the Speed of Light: How Technology Accelerates Education
The challenge for organizations and educators in the face of rapidly evolving technology is not only how to keep up with changing tools, but also how to keep up with your employees and students themselves. How do you do more with less, while operating at a speed that makes critical thinking difficult? How do we bridge the digital divide and ensure that everyone has access to the education and empowerment our emerging society requires?
Workshop or Keynote | Technology, Leadership, and Authority: What it Takes to be Taken Seriously in an Era of Rapid Change
Jesse Hirsh has been engaged in a major research project focusing on the future of authority. The premise being that in a society that is constantly changing it is increasingly difficult to establish legitimate authority and provide the kind of leadership that is in great demand. Technology continues to have a disruptive impact on how and who people trust, leading to an unstable environment that requires a reconfiguration of how we relate to our leaders.
Video/Online Program
As a freelance journalist, Jesse's been doing radio and television work for a decade and a half, having worked for CFRB, Jazz FM, TVO, Global TV, Citytv, Rogers, OMNI, and MuchMusic. He knows what keeps audiences engaged with on-screen content.
Event Moderator
A researcher and broadcaster, Jesse Hirsh is a great moderator for discussions on a wide array of topic matter. He comes prepared with interesting facts and current events related to the subject at hand. Jesse keeps the conversation flowing, posing specific questions that bring out unique insights from each panelist. He makes sure the conversation is balanced and brings forward various opinions and points of view.
Panelist/In Conversation

Audience reviews:

  • I was very pleased that Jesse integrated our business of workers' compensation into his presentation and concluding remarks. I think he is a brilliant man with an ethical conscience. I would recommend him to other groups - especially those who value thinking forward and being analytical of their circumstances.

    - CEO, Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada
  • Jesse knocked it out of the park. We had numerous comments from attendees about how much they enjoyed it and the insight they gained. The group was definitely more engaged than I have seen with any guest speaker we have used in the past. Total 10 out of 10 job by Jesse.

    - Newmarket Group/AFD Marketing
  • Listening to him on the radio is one thing, but to see him in person and to hear what he has to say on the use of technology and social media by public servants and the public in general was really thought provoking and eye opening. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was talking about it at the breaks, over lunch, and likely when they returned home to their families.

    - Health Canada
  • Feedback was exceptionally positive... Great ideas, made people think out of the box and his personal stories just added to his messages.

    - COACH: Canadian Health Informatics Association
  • I know of no one who understands modern society, the turn of events or especially the internet, better than Jesse. He is the smartest young man I have encountered over my professional career.

    - Chairman of Harris/Decima
  • Jesse Hirsh has a unique feel for the new media and what is happening. He is the "go to" guy on technology and its uses and abuses.

    - Hon. Bob Rae, P.C., O.C., O.Ont, Q.C.
  • Jesse was absolutely fantastic. Great ideas, great presentation, terrific speaking style. He was also very down to earth and approachable. Really we couldn't be happier with Jesse... I hope we will have an opportunity to engage him again in the future.

    - Adastra
  • His presentation was entertaining, engaging, provocative (as we requested) and very, very well received. He started a twitter discussion with his points, points that we are repeating in our conference summary and in the follow up action plan from the conference.

    - Communications Consultant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • I was very pleased that Jesse integrated our business of workers' compensation into his presentation and concluding remarks. I think he is a brilliant man with an ethical conscious. I would recommend him to other groups - especially those who value thinking forward and being analytical of their circumstances.

    - CEO, Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada
  • Everything went very well…super smooth AV-wise and Jesse was very engaging. - Sr Program Manager / Deputy Executive Director · Local Government Management Association (LGMA)

Speaker Biography

Jesse Hirsh is a futurist farmer who brings an outsider’s perspective and literal critical distance, operating from his farm in rural Eastern Ontario. Yet this is no ordinary farm. Wired up with high speed fiber optic Internet, the Academy of the Impossible engages in a wide range of research regarding agriculture, media, technology, and culture.

He has a Masters degree from Toronto Metropolitan University in algorithmic media, and his current work focuses on the rise of automated media, as well as the governance and ethics of artificial intelligence, data protection, and privacy.

Jesse is also a co-founder of the Eco Punks, a trans-disciplinary agency that analyzes the ecosystems and communities that our clients operate in, helping us identify opportunities resulting from, as well as responses to the ever changing challenges that are imposed on us by an increasingly unpredictable and unstable reality.

Jesse has an infectious energy that lifts spirits and enables creative critical thinking. He’s always learning, sharing, and helping others to do the same.

Here’s a sample review that highlights his style in 2024: He was phenomenally well prepared, and took the time to attend a few of our conference sessions in the morning to get to know more about our industry and the impacts of AI.  Jesse’s style is somewhat unconventional, but extremely engaging and thought provoking. He made a strong connection with our audience and had their full attention, generating a great question and answer period after his talk.