Kenneth Cukier

Senior Editor, Data and Digital, The Economist
New York Times bestselling co-author, Big Data

Your definitive guide to the coming digital revolution
and disruption

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Kenneth Cukier is a Senior Editor for Digital at The Economist, overseeing data analytics and digital products. He is also the host of “Babbage,” The Economist’s weekly podcast on technology and science.

Kenn is the coauthor of Big Data: A Revolution That Transforms How We Live, Work, and Think. It was a New York Times Bestseller and translated into 21 languages. It sold over 1 million copies worldwide (notably in China, where it won the National Library of China's Wenjin Book Award). It was a finalist for the Financial Times Business Book of the Year in 2013. Kenn coauthored a follow-on book, Learning with Big Data: The Future of Education in 2014.

His writings have also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Prospect, The Financial Times and Foreign Affairs, among others. He has been a frequent commentator on business and technology for CBS, CNN, NPR, the BBC and others. He was a member of the World Economic Forum's global agenda council on data-driven development. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2016 from Wittenberg University in Ohio for his contribution to technology journalism.

Cukier is active on several boards. He is a trustee (board director) of Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs. He serves on the board of directors of International Bridges to Justice, a Geneva-based NGO promoting legal rights in developing countries. He is also on the board of The Open String, which provides classical instruments to children in poverty. Additionally, he ia on the board of advisors to the Daniel Pearl Foundation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Kenn is a regular keynote speaker. Among the organizations where he has spoken is TED, Google, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, McKinsey & Co, Schroders, Visa, Baker & McKenzie, OECD, IMF, World Bank, US State Department, Word Economic Forum, Royal Statistical Society, O’Reilly Strata, Council on Foreign Relations, Chatham House, Aspen Institute, Harvard, USC, Oxford and LSE.


Learning With Big Data


Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier

Homework assignments that learn from students. Courses tailored to fit individual pupils. Textbooks that talk back. This is tomorrow’s education landscape, thanks to the power of big data. These advances go beyond the much-discussed rise of online courses. As the New York Times-bestselling authors of Big Data explain, the truly fascinating changes are actually occurring in how we measure students’ progress and how we can use that data to improve education for everyone, in real time, both on- and offline. Learning with Big Data offers an eye-opening, insight-packed tour through these new trends, for educators, administrators, and readers interested in the latest developments in business and technology.

Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 4, 2014)

Big Data

A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier

A revelatory exploration of the hottest trend in technology and the dramatic impact it will have on the economy, science, and society at large.

Which paint color is most likely to tell you that a used car is in good shape? How can officials identify the most dangerous New York City manholes before they explode? And how did Google searches predict the spread of the H1N1 flu outbreak?

The key to answering these questions, and many more, is big data. “Big data” refers to our burgeoning ability to crunch vast collections of information, analyze it instantly, and draw sometimes profoundly surprising conclusions from it. This emerging science can translate myriad phenomena — from the price of airline tickets to the text of millions of books — into searchable form, and uses our increasing computing power to unearth epiphanies that we never could have seen before. A revolution on par with the Internet or perhaps even the printing press, big data will change the way we think about business, health, politics, education, and innovation in the years to come. It also poses fresh threats, from the inevitable end of privacy as we know it to the prospect of being penalized for things we haven’t even done yet, based on big data’s ability to predict our future behavior.

In this brilliantly clear, often surprising work, two leading experts explain what big data is, how it will change our lives, and what we can do to protect ourselves from its hazards. Big Data is the first big book about the next big thing.

Eamon Dolan/Mariner Books; Reprint edition (March 4, 2014)
Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (March 5, 2013)


Big DataBoing Boing
Big Data: Book reviewZDNet
Watched by the Web: Surveillance Is RebornThe New York Times


Kenn tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

How AI revolutionized business strategy

For centuries, the decisions made in a company were the responsibility of the top managers. But when firms harness AI and big data, algorithms can make millions more decisions in the same time, and probably better ones. Kenneth Cukier explores how this affects the ways that companies are organized and how they compete and set strategy (as opposed to just execution) as he outlines what is happening now and what to expect in the future.

AI: your work, your life

A fast, funny, fact-filled talk on what AI is, how it works and what it means for the future of business and society, by the award-winning journalist and author of books on big data, Kenneth Cukier.

Disruption and Business Strategy: Lessons for Leaders

New technologies are changing how to run a business and the nature of competition in fundamental ways.


  • AI and machine-learning means tasks done by people can be automated — in particular white-collar “knowledge work”.

  • The internet of things (putting sensors and chips into everyday things to collect information and connect them to a network), mean that products will become services, and a new commercial power-struggle emerges between manufacturer and retailer — and customers.

  • Big data means existing firms are sitting on a goldmine of information they can tap to unlock new forms of economic value, be it improving existing products, services or operations — or developing new revenue streams.

Harnessing Big Data

It is impossible to predict the future — but it is often knowable within a reasonable probability if we tap the world's new abundance of information. Big data lets us observe phenomena and behaviors that we were never able to track before — vital for risk managers in industries as diverse as insurance and banking, to transport and energy. By harnessing big data, we can spot patterns and identify trends that in the past were largely based on hunches, not empirical evidence. Kenneth Cukier, the data editor of The Economist and co-author of the bestselling book "Big Data," will unveil many of the ways that businesses can put data to use to reduce risk and improve corporate performance.

Winning the Big Data Revolution: What Businesses Leaders Need to Know

Everyone has heard of big data but few know what it means, or how companies can harness its power for a competitive edge. This talk, designed for a general business audience explains — in clear language and with fascinating examples — what big data is and why it matters. It reveals the new business models that are emerging and the ”big data value chain.” It also notes how all kinds of companies can restructure their processes and develop the “mindset” to become successful big-data businesses.

Big Data Beyond the Bull$#%!

For IT professionals, the idea of big-data is hardly new — but there is a risk that the recent hype blurs the very real ways that the technology can help companies unlock new forms of business value. This talk, aimed at a high-level audience of business executives with technology expertise, looks at some of the latest developments in the field and points to ways in which firms can use data to improve existing operations or innovate by developing new business areas.

Tomorrow’s World Today: Nine-and-a-Half Trends Changing Business

Everything you know about the future of business is wrong — because smart executives naturally focus on big opportunities and miss the “weak signals” that point to the future. This talk reveals nascent trends and surprising places they lead. In this amusing, fact-filled, anecdote-driven speech, Kenneth unveils trends such as:

  • Managing an “Upsourcing” world
  • Big data’s invisible assets: sensors and sensibility
  • Turning products into — and into intellectual-property
  • The end of “emerging economies” and rise of “frontier markets”
  • Not brand equity, but brand “ubiquity”
  • The secret value in Womenomics

It is perfect as a luncheon address or after dinner speech, to get business leaders and their teams to see the world around them in an entirely new way.

Other Subjects

  • Lessons for Business from Obama’s Big Data Victory
  • The Regulatory Risks of Data-Driven Businesses: Privacy & Prediction
  • The Mystery of Sushi: What Japanese Business Can Teach the Rest of Us


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A video gaming event:
The session was a blast ;-)
Kenneth rocked the place.
A truly inspiring and insightful presentation.
We are very satisfied and only got super positive feedback.

Two comments from a market-leading global news and information analysis organization:
Dear Kenneth: Huge thanks for being so wonderful. From the way you handled the Q&A before your speech to the fascinating insights you shared with us. I love your book, loved your talk and am grateful for the shift you have enabled us to make today. Several people have contacted me with ideas for follow up from your speech. I couldn’t have wished for a better result.

Kenneth was fantastic…we were all delighted with his presentation and what a very nice, approachable and impressive person he is! Thanks for everything and, again, we were delighted with Kenneth’s professionalism and contribution to our conference.