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Artificial Intelligence is disrupting every industry. You must act today to turn this disruption into opportunity.

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Expert | Founder of the Creative Destruction Lab | Bestselling Co-Author of Prediction Machines and Power and Prediction

Ajay Agrawal | Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Expert | Founder of the Creative Destruction Lab | Co-Author of Prediction Machines and Power and Prediction
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Our Automated Future: Thriving in the Era of Intelligent Machines

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Why Your Company Must Develop an AI Strategy

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Gaining an A.I. Edge: Becoming a Global Leader in Machine Learning

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How Your Company Can (and Must) Develop an AI Strategy

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AI Will Drop the Cost of Prediction—and Change Entire Industries

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Our Automated Future: Learning to Adapt in the Era of Intelligent Machines

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Why Entrepreneurship Is About More Than Jobs and Wealth

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How ChatGPT is Changing How We Think About AI (2:38)

Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Artificial Intelligence is disrupting our entire economy, and we’re just at the beginning—which means massive opportunity for those who take advantage of it today. Economist Ajay Agrawal can show you how to leverage AI right now. Ajay is the founder of the Creative Destruction Lab, which boasts the greatest concentration of AI start-ups of any program on the planet, as well as co-author of Prediction Machines and Power and Prediction, which former World Bank Chief Economist Lawrence H. Summers calls “the best book yet that considers what AI will mean for all who participate in our economy.” Ajay’s talks illuminate how machine prediction gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to optimize the way we do business, run governments, and provide healthcare, leaving us the space to be human where it really counts: decision-making.

Ajay Agrawal reveals where artificial intelligence is taking us by separating hype from reality, while delivering a steady stream of fresh insights. He speaks in a language that top executives and policy makers will understand.Dominic Barton, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company

Ajay is an economist and professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.  He is the founder of the Creative Destruction Lab, a not-for-profit program with a mission to enhance the commercialization of science for the betterment of humankind. Startup graduates of the program have created over $25B in equity value to date. Ajay is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts; an academic advisory council member at the Center on Regulation and markets at Brookings in Washington, DC; an advisory board member at Carnegie Mellon University’s Block Center for Technology and Society in Pittsburgh; and a faculty affiliate at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Toronto. Ajay conducts research on the economics of innovation and serves on the editorial board of the scholarly journal Management Science.

He is coauthor of two best-selling books on the economics of artificial intelligence: Prediction Machines and Power and Prediction, both published by Harvard Business Review Press. He is founder of Mind Lab 56: a studio that creates startups building enterprise AI solutions that leverage generative AI. He is a co-founder of Sanctuary, which is on a mission to create the world’s first human-like intelligence in general purpose robots. Ajay was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2022.

As founder of the University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab, Ajay unpacks the full potential of AI and machine prediction in his talks. His first book, Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence is a must-read survey—and practical toolkit—for anyone seeking to leverage the disruptive, transformative power of AI in the coming decades. His new book, Power and Prediction, is a must-read guide for any business leader or policy maker on how to make the coming AI disruptions work for you rather than against you. As AI prediction machines improve, old ways of doing things will be upended, and this process will have winners and losers. How can businesses leverage, or protect, their positions?

Ajay has been awarded Professor of the Year by MBA classes at the Rotman School seven times, the Martin-Lang Award for Excellence in Teaching, and most recently the Distinguished Scholarly Contribution Award, among several other honors. He conducts research on the economics of artificial intelligence, science policy, entrepreneurial finance, and the geography of innovation. He serves on the editorial boards of multiple management and economics journals and holds a Ph.D. in Strategy and Economics and an M.Eng./MBA from the University of British Columbia. He served as a Visiting Scholar at MIT, London Business School, and Harvard University, as well as a Visiting Professor at Stanford.

Speech Topics

The Creative Destruction LabHow to Transform Tech Innovation into Business Success
How can you transform a tech breakthrough into a viable commercial success? This is the question that Rotman professor Ajay Agrawal considers with his program the Creative Destruction Lab. The main impediment to creating a scalable, financial business from a tech invention is a failure in judgement, says Agrawal. An elusive skill that can’t be bought,  judgement—or lack thereof—is why so many good ideas never materialize, even though there is a market for them. Agrawal has developed a way to overcome this failure through a combination of people and process. He gathers the shrewdest, sharpest minds—each who have built a successful business from scratch—to help advise research scientists on forming their own companies. The program begins with 25 early-stage companies, and every eight weeks mentors design business objectives and then either invest or vote them out. Though it may seem counterintuitive, Agrawal maintains that an efficient process of killing ideas is essential to innovation.
Today, the Creative Destruction Lab—which began as a bold experiment at the University of Toronto—has become a billion dollar pipeline for high-tech superstars, already making an impact on a full and competitive startup ecosystem. With a background teaching entrepreneurship, and a track record of accelerating companies, Agrawal is an economic leader to follow. In this talk, he draws on his rigorous methodology and proven successes to help universities, governments, and organizations large and small, transform ideas and seed projects into tangible innovation.
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Artificial Intelligence
AI and the Shift of PowerStrategizing for a World of Artificial Intelligence
While many applications of machine intelligence enhance productivity, some applications have an even more profound effect: they shift power. For example, certain skills become more valuable than others, thereby shifting power from some types of people to others. Certain jobs become more important, shifting power from some occupations to others. Certain firm-level characteristics become new sources of competitive advantage, shifting power from some companies to others. Certain market characteristics become more salient, shifting power from some industries to others. Finally, certain country-level characteristics become more critical, shifting power from some nations to others.
When AIs simply improve upon existing predictive analytics and power structures are left unchanged, the strategic implications are limited. In these cases, success depends primarily upon well-managed implementation. The objective is enhanced operational efficiency. Decisions concerning when, where, and how to deploy these AIs require oversight from the COO, but not the CEO. These AIs are tactical, not strategic.
However, when the implementation of AIs lead to shifts in power, the implications for strategy can be significant. In this talk, business academic and machine-learning expert Ajay Agrawal explores state-of-the-art machine intelligence in several domains against the backdrop of power. How are these technological advances poised to impact jobs, markets, and nations via strategies for deploying capital, allocating labour, competing for customers, and enhancing society? And what can we do about it?
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Our Automated FutureLearning to Adapt, and Thrive, in the Era of Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence has been with us for decades. But today’s machines are gaining the ability to learn from data and make sophisticated predictions—more cheaply, and more accurately, than human beings. Like the advent of the Internet and the dot-com explosion, machine learning is set to affect foundational changes to our lives (think driverless cars—but that’s just the beginning). From navigation to the Internet of Things, manufacturing to agriculture, health care to the robotic workers set to replace even top-level positions, deep learning will open as many doors as it will close. And to understand these shifts, experts turn to Ajay Agrawal. A leading authority in AI, the co-author of Prediction Machines—and, as a business speaker, a great explainer of complex economic forces—he translates the sweeping power of machines and breaks down why it all matters. How can we take advantage of the growing market for AI? How can we allocate capital and investments today to best prepare for tomorrow? How do we prepare for the disruptions—to long-standing industries, to millions of jobs, and to age-old notions about work, employment, and leisure—that will result? No matter who you are or where you work—a company, an investor, a university or government—Agrawal will help you adapt, and thrive, throughout this economy-wide transformation.

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Artificial Intelligence
AI, Robotics & TradeHow Will AI Change the Way We Trade Goods and Services?
The potential of AI has taken politics, economics, and the future of technology by storm. There’s more urgency than ever to discuss how prediction, machine learning, and robotics can and will affect the way we trade goods and services, nationally and abroad. In this dynamic “double-header,” AI specialist Ajay Agrawal and expert on international trade Marc L. Busch deliver a collaborative keynote on how international trade rules are going to collide with AI when coupled with robotics. How will AI test the contours of existing trade? As they explain, so much of the infrastructure supporting our lives is oriented around humans, particularly within the domain of goods and services. But trade is set to shift and become more politically charged when challenged by the possibilities of automation. With clear and fascinating examples, these two experts reveal how AI has the potential to challenge, improve, and complicate trade in the global market—and how we can start addressing these things together.
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Gaining an A.I. EdgeBecoming a Global Leader in Machine Learning

To Rotman professor, Creative Destruction Lab founder, and machine learning speaker Ajay Agrawal, many western nations have a problem with productivity. We’re educated—and we’ve got plenty of innovative ideas—but problems with scale and commercialization leave us underperforming. However, countries now have a new opportunity to compete globally—if we decide to take a lead in the realm of artificial intelligence and machine learning. In this keynote, Agrawal outlines the ways businesses, funding agencies, universities, and other institutions can pioneer research into A.I. and become global leaders. In other words, when inventors, scientists, programmers, and entrepreneurs are working at the very frontiers of deep and reinforcement learning, there are nearly limitless applications for business. If you invest now, and secure your global presence, you can transform your productivity and win on a world stage. Drawing on his work with the Creative Destruction Lab and the NextAI, Agrawal outlines how investors and business leaders can seize these new opportunities, capitalize on foresight, and reap the benefits of an early engagement with the next great shift in economics.

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