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Peter Nowak

Journalist, Syndicated Blogger & Author

Peter Nowak is an award-winning technology journalist and author of the winter 2015 book, Humans 3.0: The Upgrading of the Species. He’s also the author of the best-selling book Sex, Bombs and Burgers: How War, Porn and Fast Food Shaped Modern Technology, and a syndicated blogger and columnist.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Don’t Fear the Robot Reaper
Another day, another job lost to robots. As robotics and artificial intelligence improve on an exponential basis, it looks like humans are being made increasingly irrelevant. But is that really what’s happening? Not necessarily. Every prior advance in technology has made large numbers of existing jobs and professions irrelevant, but they have also multiplied the possibilities for new occupations. Just as the average person living a century ago couldn’t imagine video game or website design as a job, so too is it difficult for us now to envision what we’ll be doing in the future. Peter explains that the key lies in understanding combinatorialism – the ability to combine existing ideas into new ones, to stay ahead of the machines. New opportunities don’t add up, they use technological advances to multiply.

It’s Actually Not That Bad
In the 1970s, communications professor George Gerbner came up with the concept of Mean World Syndrome – the belief, garnered from too much exposure to negative television news, that the world is a much harsher place than it is. In an era of social media, this can be exacerbated, since it’s friends, colleagues and relatives who are flooding us with bad news. But the world really isn’t all that bad. In fact, it’s better than it’s ever been, by almost every measure. In this talk, Peter illuminates how technology has improved the human race by leaps and bounds and shares secrets on how to avoid getting bogged down by Mean World Syndrome.

  • Peter Nowak gave a perceptive keynote address to an audience of over 2,100 high-level international e-learning practitioners and experts from the government, corporate, education and public service sectors at ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN in 2011. His contribution... engaged the audience with pertinent remarks about the wider impact of technologies on global societies and the food sector in particular. His presentation skills are excellent and it was a pleasure to have him speak at the event.

    - Online Educa Berlin
  • Peter Nowak is an insightful observer of communications and technology trends – in Canada and around the world. Peter’s long experience as a journalist and blogger following trends on the front line has provided him with a well-grounded context for understanding our rapidly changing information, communications and technology environment. Peter has not only put in serious time to figure out what’s happening, but he does a great job simplifying and sharing his insights with others.

    - President, International Institute of Communications (Canadian Chapter)
  • Peter has the ability to inform and engage the audience when speaking. He brings a willingness to really discuss the issues with knowledge of real-world issues and developments that enhance the overall conversation. At mesh, Peter was invited to participate in a topic that required knowledge and tact, and he pulled it wonderfully.

    - Mark Evans, founder Mesh conference
  • Peter’s expertise and extensive experience in technology and journalism was what appealed to our attendees, but his ability to present his TEDx Talk in a way that was culturally relevant, engaging, and reflective of his personality and humour in front of our diverse audience was what made Peter one of the conference's most popular speakers. Peter was delightful to work with, and it was an honour to have him as a part of TEDxRyersonU.

    - TEDxRyersonU Organizing Committee

Summary Profile

Peter Nowak is the author of the winter 2015 book, Humans 3.0: The Upgrading of the Species, the follow-up to his 2010 bestseller Sex, Bombs and Burgers: How War, Porn and Fast Food Shaped Modern Technology. Humans 3.0 is a data-driven analysis of how technology is affecting the long-term evolution of our species and our planet, presented through an accessible and entertaining pop culture lens.

Peter has looked at the data and traveled the world to speak with the experts, from Buddhist monks in South Korea to venture capitalists in Israel to vampire writers in New Orleans. The result is a more optimistic conclusion than you might get from the nightly news. The book is the product of Peter’s 15 years’ experience in covering technology for The Globe and Mail, National Post, CBC and New Zealand Herald. Where other technology writers get bogged down rumours or technical specifications, Peter looks at the big picture and gets to the heart of what it all means. He has the remarkable ability to break complex issues down into understandable and relatable terms, without dumbing them down.

In 2006, the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand named him Journalist of the Year, while in 2009 the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance awarded him its Excellence in Science and Technology Reporting prize. His work regularly appears in The Globe and Mail, CBC, New Scientist magazine and the Daily Dot in the United States, and he’s a syndicated blogger for Canadian Business.

A lively and entertaining speaker, Peter is a regular guest and part-time columnist for CBC Radio, where he discusses the latest technology trends. He also performs stand-up comedy, a back-up plan in case all this other stuff falls apart.