Greg Lindsay is a generalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is a 2022-2023 urban tech fellow at Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Institute, where he leads The Metaverse Metropolis — a new initiative exploring the implications of augmented reality at urban scale. He is also a senior fellow of MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab, a senior advisor to Climate Alpha, and a non-resident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Strategy Initiative.
He’s been cited as an expert on the future of cities, technology, and mobility by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, USA Today, CNN, NPR, and the BBC. He’s a partner at the advisory firm FutureMap, and has advised Intel, Samsung, IKEA, Starbucks, Audi, Hyundai, Tishman Speyer, British Land, André Balazs Properties, Aldar, Emaar, and Expo 2020, along with numerous G20 government entities. He was previously the urbanist-in-residence at URBAN-X — BMW MINI’s urban tech accelerator — the director of applied research at NewCities, and founding director of strategy at its mobility-focused offshoot CoMotion.
Greg speaks frequently about cities, mobility, innovation, and globalization, including appearances at 10 Downing Street, the United States Military Academy, Sandia National Laboratories, the OECD, Harvard Business School, the MIT Media Lab, and the Aspen Ideas Festival. His work with Studio Gang Architects on the future of suburbia was displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2012. His work has also been displayed at the 15th, 16th, and 17th Venice Architecture Biennales, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, and Habitat III. He sits on the board of CREtech Climate, and was guest curator of the 2018 and 2019 editions of reSITE.
He was previously a contributing writer for Fast Company and Fortune, and an editor-at-large for Advertising Age. He is co-author of the 2011 critically acclaimed international bestseller Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.
His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, The Financial Times, McKinsey Quarterly, Time, Wired, The Atlantic, The New Republic, New York, Slate, Quartz, Inc., Politico, The Economist Group, The World Economic Forum, The Nikkei Asian Review, World Policy Journal, Next City, Marie Claire Italia, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, and Departures.
Greg is a two-time Jeopardy! champion (and the only human to go undefeatedagainst IBM’s Watson).
The Big Rethink: Post-Post-Pandemic Cities
The office is empty. Downtowns are dead. Suburbia is the future. At least two of these are wrong – but why? The pandemic may be over, but work-from-anywhere is here to stay. That doesn’t mean the end of offices, but new ways of working more closely together, with more flexible real estate and companies to match. That, in turn, means rethinking who and what cities are for. Forget downtown vs. the suburbs — how can we imagine new uses for old high-rises and new districts to replace dead malls? Because behind the scenes, inflation and technology is quietly turning retail and dining inside-out through data, delivery, and automation. And looming above all is the threat of climate change and the opportunities of AI and the metaverse to reinvent the Internet as we know it. Drawing on his research and foresight work for Cornell Tech, Climate Alpha, and MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab, Greg Lindsay explores the business implications of the post-post-pandemic landscape and explains why the future will be less remote and more human than you might think.
Autonomous Everything: AI, the Future, and What We Can Do About It
The robots are coming — not to steal your job, but to invent entirely new ones. Advances in automation and artificial intelligence such as GPT-4 and DALL-E point toward an autonomous world in which perception, prediction, and action are embedded in thinking machines. Autonomy will not only transform how and why we work, but also how we think, discover, decide, and deceive ourselves. What we consume — as well as how we produce, transport, and sell it — will take strange new turns as robots increasingly predict, suggest and prepare to help us do it. In this wide-ranging and eye-opening talk on the promise and perils of cutting-edge AI, author and futurist Greg Lindsay explores how autonomy is already upending society, and what we can learn from organizations such as NATO, the U.S. military, and the Secret Service about what to do about it.
The Metaverse Metropolis
“The Metaverse” may be the future, but what is it? While Mark Zuckerberg hopes you’ll never leave your home again, in reality the next generation of the Internet will beckon us outside, into a world in which information is everywhere — if you can see it. Welcome to the real-world metaverse, where you can change reality like changing a channel. How will this then change our relationships with each other and to the world? And how will these “reality channels” transform where we live, how we shop, and how we move through enchanted worlds? Drawing on his “Metaverse Metropolis” project at Cornell Tech, futurist Greg Lindsay offers real advice and lessons from the technologists, designers, and experts building this real-world metaverse.
Where Will You Live in 2050?
Nearly half of Americans were victims of a climate disaster last year — whether fire, floods, heat waves or hurricanes — with insurable losses of more than $100 billion. As people wake up to the realities of climate change — and the growing threat to their homes, livelihoods, and families — many are beginning to ask, “Where should I live someday?” Fortunately, we have answers. Combining climate science with demographics and using artificial intelligence, we can predict tomorrow’s more resilient regions. Climate change isn’t just a story about mounting catastrophes, but also opportunity — if we harness the right technologies, policies, and political will to build back better elsewhere. Drawing on his work with the startup Climate Alpha, Greg Lindsay offers cutting edge analysis and maps to explain why and where a warming world may still have shelter for us all.
Everybody for Themselves: How to Work, Together
After two years apart, Americans have forgotten how to work together. This is evident in the ongoing tug-of-war over the office. This framing — are we better off alone or in-person? — has dominated debates about our post-pandemic destiny. But neither managers nor workers have stopped to ask what it means to be together, whom we should be together with, and how we can be together. If the overnight adoption of remote work proved many of us can work from virtually anywhere, with anyone, what’s stopping us from taking it a step further and working with, well, everyone? Because solving the challenges that lie ahead of us on the far side of the pandemic requires working together at a scale greater than any one government or company ever has. In this far-reaching new talk, Greg Lindsay explores new ways of being and working together in a world in which corporate silos have cracked open and frustrated employees have spilled out, desperate to reconnect. Drawing upon dozens of post-pandemic examples as well as his own web3 experiments in building a distributed autonomous organization, or DAO, he offers audiences a vision of what it means to be together — how, why, and with whom — very soon.
Where the Robot Meets the Road
A decade ago, self-driving cars were science fiction leftover from The Jetsons. Today, Google and Tesla are leading a breakneck autonomous arms race, as the global auto industry races to build electric AVs at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. But a self-driving SUV may prove to be the horseless carriage of autonomy — rapidly eclipsed by new species of self-driving scooters, deliverybots, and buildings with a mind of their own. How are these technologies already transforming the way we see, understand, and get around cities? How have they helped China, Japan, and Korea mitigate the worst effects of the coronavirus lockdown? What effects will they have on where we live, work and play, and what are the opportunities and threats for automakers, technology firms, public transit, employers, and developers? Drawing upon his work with BMW, Intel, MIT, the Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Aspen Institute, and NewCities, Greg Lindsay offers a tour of future urban mobility and how they promise to transform our cities in the coming decades.
The Future of the Future
The future isn’t what it used to be. As the pace of social, technological, and environmental change accelerates, organizations are struggling just to make sense of the present, let alone spot threats and opportunities looming just over the horizon. The ability to anticipate, understand, plan for, and innovate around uncertainty has become a critical skill for designers, innovators, and strategists everywhere. As the computing pioneer Alan Kay once said, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Futurist, author and NewCities director of applied research Greg Lindsay will teach a crash course in exactly that. The practice of creating futures, or “foresight,” offers a toolkit and framework for detecting signals of change, organizing insights, synthesizing possible futures, identifying potential barriers and opportunities, and designing innovative products, services or ideas that satisfy emerging needs. In addition to lecturing on possible futures, Greg is available to lead participants through a fun, fast-paced workshop in which they create futures of their own.
How do we bring the right people and the right ideas to the right place at the right time to create something new, when we don’t know who or where or when that is, let alone what we’re looking for? This is the paradox of innovation – new ideas don’t follow org charts or schedule themselves for meetings. Greg Lindsay describes how organizations like Google, the U.S. Military Academy, United Health Group, and the International Red Cross are “engineering serendipity.” They’re harnessing sensors, social networks, and new ways of working to break down the boundaries between new teams, discover new ideas, inspire collaboration and creativity, and to spur employee engagement, learning, and innovation. How, where, and who we work with will never be the same.