Juan Enriquez

Co-founder, Synthetic Genomics Inc Managing Director, Excel Venture Management | Author, "Right/Wrong: How Technology Transforms Our Ethics"
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Juan Enriquez is a business leader, bestselling author, and academic. He is a world leading authority on the economic and political impacts of technology, life sciences and brain research.  He co-founded Excel Venture Management, a venture firm that invests in life sciences, neuro, and AI. He and his partners co-founded or invested early in startups that created the world’s first synthetic lifeforms, programable cells, desktop RNA printers, stapled peptides, rapid-portable brain readers. He advises global CEOs as well as the leaders of many countries on technology and competitiveness, playing a key leadership role during COVID. He was the founding director of Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences Project and is currently an affiliate at MIT’s Synthetic Neurobiology Lab. 
Enriquez has an extraordinary ability to predict and invest in world changing trends very early. In 2000 he wrote the bestselling As the Future Catches You: How Genomics and Other Forces Are ChangingYour Life, Work, Health & Wealth, detailing the broad impact life sciences would have on business and society. In 2005 he published The Untied States of America: Polarization, Fracturing, and Our Future laying out why there would be a global financial crisis, driven by over leverage and real estate. He concluded the long-term impact would be extreme global political fragmentation. He then co-wrote Evolving Ourselves: Redesigning the Future of Humanity—One Gene at a Time, detailing what Darwin might write were he alive today. His latest book is RIGHT/WRONG: How Technology Transforms Our Ethics shows how what we consider right today can flip 180 degrees tomorrow because of scientific discoveries. He is now co-authoring a book, with Ed Boyden, on how new instruments to map and alter the brain will transform humanity.
A native of Mexico, Enriquez headed Mexico City’s urban development corporation, developed the Santa Fe area, and oversaw the development and construction of Papalote Children’s Museum, The National Auditorium, the National Zoo, Proyecto Alameda, and many other urban development projects. He served on the Peace Commission that negotiated the Zapatista cease fire. Enriquez serves on various boards including The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Boston Science Museum, GBH, the Visiting Committee of Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center, Questbridge, and two blue ribbon National Academies commissions on the impact of AI.  He earned a BA and MBA from Harvard, with honors, and has received multiple academic and national awards.


What will The Century of Biology Mean to the Global Economy? How extraordinary advances in life sciences are changing the way we live and do business.

Genetics and digital are becoming the dominant languages of this century. The genetic revolution and other technologies will have unprecedented political, ethical, economic, and financial impacts on almost every business. You can begin to see this in both the pattern of mergers and acquisitions as well as new investments. Gene data is already transforming how pharma, biotech, hospital, food, feed, fiber, insurance, chemical, and energy companies do business. This session will map out how these discoveries and applications will change your business and life.

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The Evolution of Humans in the Next Century

The genetics revolution means that life can be thought of as code, according to the futurist and genomics expert Juan Enriquez. As we understand that code, we can rewrite the sentences of life. Vaccines will be produced faster, organs for transplant will be grown on demand and we will be able to edit ourselves genetically. This will lead, said Enriquez, to a system in which people will be able to edit, alter, insert and delete memories because we are “beginning to decode the brain”. The pinnacle of our use of genetic technology could, suggested Enriquez, be in designing an interplanetary species. Earth faces threats from, for example, asteroid impacts, so humans should settle other planets. But as we suffer myriad health problems in space, we must redesign the human being. If we believe in human rights, Enriquez said, we should pursue these efforts to ensure the human race's long-term survival.

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Homo Evolutis

There have been at least 25 prototype humans. We are but one more model, and there is no evidence evolution has stopped. Juan Enriquez will take you into a world where humans increasingly shape their environment, their own selves, and other species. It is a world where our bodies harbor 100 times more microbial cells than human cells, a place where a gene cocktail may allow many more to climb an 8,000 meter peak without oxygen, and where, given the right drug, one could have a 77 percent chance of becoming a centenarian. By the end you will see a broad, and sometimes scary, map of life sciences driven change. Not just our bodies will be altered but our core religious, government, and social structures as humankind make the transition to a new species, a Homo evolutis, which directly and deliberately controls its own evolution and that of many other species. By the way, these changes are already altering some of the world’s largest companies.

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As the Future Catches You

The rise and fall of nations and economies and industries and your own company depends— and has always depended—on how literate you are in the dominant language of wealth generation; that is, in the dominant language used to transmit data over time. Once, that language was hieroglyphics. Then phonetic alphabets and the characters used for Asian languages. Recently, it has been the digital language of ‘1s’ and ‘0s’. Increasingly now, and in the future, the dominant language for generating new wealth will be bio-related, especially the ATCGs of the human genome, and it can be digitized. In this presentation, Juan Enriquez opens the window onto the genomic future of the next twenty years, and offers this message: Genomics—the code of life—is the language and the code that will drive the economy of the future. Master this language and you will thrive. Fail to become at least literate in this language and you will not survive. Already, of the top five patent categories in the U.S., only one is digital; the other four are bio-related. The digital language is already falling behind. An orange is really code, biological instructions for making another orange tree. We are beginning to understand this code well enough to rewrite it to specifications. And not just for oranges but for humans, also. Here lies the future of wealth generation and of competitive advantage. Another metaphor: The single most important map ever created was published on February 12, 2001—the map of the human genome. Maps matter, and this map will radically change the balance of power in the world. It’s still very crude, as crude as those drawn of the new world in the late 15th century, but it’s even more valuable. It leads to a new world whose outlines we cannot even guess. Countries and companies that miss the importance of this map will be navigating in the wrong direction. Countries and companies that learn how to read it will enter that new world.

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Sparks! | Juan Enriquez | Evolving technology changes ethics
Juan Enriquez
Will our kids be a different species? | TEDx
Juan Enriquez
What will humans look like in 100 years? | TED
Juan Enriquez
We can reprogram life. How to do it wisely
Juan Enriquez
TEDMed 2010
Juan Enriquez
TEDMed 2011
Juan Enriquez
A personal plea for humanity at the US-Mexico border | TED 2019
Juan Enriquez


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Will our kids be a different species?


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