Rob's specialty is extrapolating today's scientific, medical, and ethical
concerns into the near future, and making the radical changes that are
forthcoming understandable to any audience.
He's given keynotes and talks all
over the world, including at:
the Library of Congress in Washington
the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo
the China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing
the headquarters of Garanti Bank in Istanbul
the National Library in Singapore
the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona
Cambridge University in England, and
the St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland.
Called "the dean of Canadian science fiction" by
The Ottawa Citizen and a master of
"bold scientific extrapolation" by The New York Times,
Rob opens up people's minds about cutting-edge technologies such as
artificial intelligence, stem-cell research, and nanotechnology,
exploring the societal impact they are going to have.
"Robert J. Sawyer is a dynamic and animated speaker; we were
spellbound." Victoria Times Colonist
"Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I don't have to tell you the talk
hit the spot." CA (Computer Associates)
"Your presentation was very well received all evaluations ticked
excellent or outstanding!" Ontario Library Association
"Robert J. Sawyer is the most engaging speaker we have ever
hosted." Kansas State University
His audiences have included not just scientists, doctors, and engineers,
but also insurance brokers, school teachers, and public-relations executives.
"Sawyer's real gift is the ability to find the most
compelling and correct metaphor, guiding audiences effortlessly through
a landscape they might otherwise find forbidding or inaccessible."
Mark Askwith, Producer, Space (Bell Media)
Rob is a frequent science commentator for
Discovery Channel Canada, CBC Newsworld, the BBC,
He has over 700 radio and TV appearances to his credit, including
Rivera Live with Geraldo Rivera,
CTV's Canada A.M. and W-Five,
the CBC's Quirks & Quarks, and
NPR's Science Friday.
He has been quoted in page-one stories
in both USA Today and The Ottawa Citizen.
His talks and lectures have been broadcast on CBC Radio's Ideas,
TVOntario's Big Ideas, and Bravo's The Writing Life;
he's spoken at IdeaCity and TEDxManitoba; and he hosted the
27-part documentary TV series Supernatural Investigator.
"Robert J. Sawyer has mastered the skill of turning his powerful
visions of the future into relevant and thought-provoking commentary
on the major issues facing us today." Paul Lewis, President,
Discovery Channel Canada
New Scientist calls Rob's work "scientifically plausible and
ethically important," and he has published in both of the world's leading
scientific journals, Science (guest editorial) and
Rob's commissioned nonfiction has appeared on major websites including
Slate and the BBC; in such major magazines as
Canadian Business, Maclean's, and
Report on Business Magazine; in newspapers including
The Financial Post,
The Financial Times of Canada,
The Globe and Mail,
The Ottawa Citizen, and
The Toronto Star;
and in popular science publications including
Ad Astra, Archaeology, and
Sky & Telescope.
He has done consulting for DARPA, Google, Kodak,
Motorola, and NASA, and he was the only author invited by
Canada's Federal Department of Justice to contribute to its
think-tank on Canadian genetic laws.
"What sets Sawyer apart is the rigor of his research, the shapeliness
of his arguments, and the plausibility of his predictions and
extrapolations." The Globe and Mail
In addition to talks for numerous businesses and associations, Rob has been
selected to give prestigious annual keynotes, including
the Federation of State Medical Board's Bryant Galusha Lecture,
the Saskatchewan Library Association's Mary Donaldson Memorial Lecture,
and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's Peter Sim Memorial Lecture.
His books are top-ten mainstream bestsellers in
Canada, appearing on the Globe and Mail and
Maclean's bestsellers' lists, and they've hit number
one on the bestsellers' list published by Locus, the
U.S. trade journal of the science-fiction field, and on both the
Amazon.com science-fiction and technothriller bestsellers' lists.
Let him share his compelling insights with your group: e-mail Rob at
to arrange a booking.
Video: Rober J. Sawyer at TEDxManitoba: "Live Forever or Die Trying" (15 minutes)
Video: Rober J. Sawyer on TVOntario's "Big Ideas" lecture series
talking about "Humanity 2.0" (57 minutes)
Video: Robert J. Sawyer at IdeaCity talking about
"Human Life Extension" (19 minutes)
Video: Robert J. Sawyer's Authors at Google talk (72 minutes)
Robert J. Sawyer has given futurism keynote addresses and talks
on cutting-edge business opportunities to
over 100 organizations, including:
Alberta Ministry of Health and Wellness
Alberta Land Surveyors Association
American Association of Managing General Agents
Association of Biomedical Communications Directors
Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists of Saskatchewan
CA Technologies (Computer Associates)
Canadian Home Care Association
Canadian Public Relations Society
Canadian Space Agency
Cancer Patient Education Network
Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology
Darwin College, Cambridge
Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation
Federation of State Medical Boards
Garanti Bank, Istanbul
Hansard Association of Canada
Institute for Quantum Computing
Library of Congress
Life Communicators Association
Manitoba Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology
Rob will happily tailor a talk specifically for your organization. To get you thinking, here are some sample topics he's spoken about before:
Facing the Future
Cutting-edge technologies, such as nanotechnology and inexpensive
smart computers, will change everything in the next few years, as
will the Semantic Web the second-generation of the
World Wide Web. The coming revolution has been dubbed the
Singularity, and it will transform how we learn, how we do
business, and even the very definition of what it means
to be human.
Genetics and Ethics
How the fallout from the Human Genome Project will affect civil
rights, privacy, employment, and access to services; the truth about
cloning, designer babies, personalized pharmaceuticals, and life
The Science Fiction Mindset in Business
It's been said that anyone could have predicted the automobile
but only a science-fiction writer could have predicted the
traffic jam. Although first-order
effects of a new invention are obvious (Tim Berners-Lee foresaw
the way his World Wide Web would improve academic research), it's
only by developing a science-fiction writer's speculative knack
that you can see the second- and third-order effects (it was SF
writers who predicted Second Life, social networking, and
cybercrime). Learn from a bestselling science-fiction novelist
how to use extrapolative rigor to foretell and prepare for
The High Cost of Privacy
Given that ubiquitous monitoring and tracking of all our activities
will be possible in the next few years, how do we safeguard
privacy and do we even need it? How to avoid the
creation of Big Brother, and make sure that we the public
can effectively watch the watchers.
The Online Future
The World Wide Web has already changed the way we do business, and Web 2.0
is going to have an even bigger impact. Interactive computing and
user-generated content, including blogs, wikis, and
social networking, have changed the world, and ubiquitous computing
will make the Web even more central to people's lives and more
crucial to your business's bottom line.
Machines That Think
From the author of the acclaimed WWW trilogy,
a look at the state-of-the-art in artificial intelligence and
the rise of thinking machines, including the barriers to
creating consciousness in computers and the societal impact if it
ever does happen, plus a discussion of the prehistoric origins of
human consciousness as a model for the spontaneous emergence of
self-awareness in complex systems, such as the World Wide Web.
The Three-Day Workweek
The cubicle's days are numbered: as more bandwidth goes into
homes, telecommuting with fully immersive virtual reality will
become possible, and societal and environmental pressures will
make it common. Distinguishing between home and work life will
be a struggle, and employers will have to balance workers' rights
to privacy against the need to ensure the quantity and quality of
work being done. Will we still have maternity and paternity
leave when workers already spend much of their time at home? In
the era of multitasking, to whom do you assign billable hours?
What will tomorrow's meetings be like? A cutting-edge
exploration of the future of work and the workplace with
Robert J. Sawyer, who is quoted in the mega-bestseller
The 4-Hour Workweek.
The Future of Professional Certification
Rob has spoken to both the Federation of State Medical Boards
(meeting in Boston) and the
Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (in Phoenix)
about the future of professional certification in a world in which
things change overnight. Is an engineer licensed in 1990 competent
in a world of carbon nanotubes and nanotechnology? How will we handle
testing and upgrading in the age of annual paradigm shifts?
Global Warming and Canada's Future
What we can do to combat global warming, why Canada is a key
player in environmental efforts even if we only produce 2% of the
world's carbon emissions, and what Canada might be like in a
warmer future, when a Northwest Passage opens up thanks to
polar-ice melting, and the American south is devastated by
E-Books, E-Publishing, and the Death of Traditional Media
An introduction to electronic books and electronic publishing, and
the impacts they are are having on the way we read, and the way we
think about reading.
The Science Fiction Vision
Robert J. Sawyer "just about the best science-fiction writer out
there," according to the Denver Rocky Mountain News sets the
stage for thinking about the rapid pace of change that's coming down the
pike by showing how science fiction visions are increasingly becoming real.
Captain Kirk's communicator and tricorder are now embodied in
our smartphones; robots have walked off the pages of science
fiction into our living rooms; and the Jetsons' hyperconnected lifestyle
has become our daily reality. Rob shows why science
fiction has been called "the only preventive medicine for Future Shock,"
and explains how extrapolative science-fiction thinking and rapid
adoption of cutting-edge technologies can aid businesses as they rush
to meet the future.
Quotes from conference organizers who have
used Rob in the past:
"Engaging, intelligent, entertaining, stimulating. Although these are
powerful adjectives that I don't use lightly, they still fall short of
conveying the audience response to Rob's keynote address at our conference.
We were absolutely delighted!" Documentation & Training (at
the Boston University Corporate Education Center)
"Just a short note to express my thanks to you for your superb
presentation. You focused precisely on those areas that were of
most interest to the audience. Your delivery was exciting and
challenging. A number of our insurance-broker guests spoke to
me later about your presentation and there were several discussions
later at dinner and the next day."
"Your keynote address was the perfect kickoff for our conference
'Facing Technology Together.' You obviously did your research on us,
and the message hit the nail on the head. I was very impressed with how
you even worked in the breakfast-table conversation about our promotion
of 4-H. Fantastic job!" Ontario Mutual Insurance Association
"Your well-researched speech was perfect for the occasion. It was
informative, entertaining, uplifting and thoroughly enjoyed by
all. You made us all proud to be engineers, and to be Canadians."
Ontario Professional Engineers Awards
"Thanks again for coming to our meeting. I don't have to tell you the
talk hit the spot, as you personally saw how the audience engaged in
a lively Q&A at the end of your presentation. This continued into
the coffee break, which really shows how much your words provoked
the reaction I was hoping for, namely a thought-provoking break
from our organizational/technical discussions.
Feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive.
I am glad you could come on short notice. Your participation certainly
contributed to the success of our event."
CA (Computer Associates)
"What a fantastic job! You are a captivating, stimulating provocateur
who got us outside our comfort zone and challenged us to contemplate the
exciting and scary forces of change as we work to prepare our profession
for an exciting and challenging future."
Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association
"Robert J. Sawyer made our heads spin in the best way possible:
with possibilities! His omnivorous appetite for all things science is
matched only by his ability to convey it all with crystalline clarity.
After nearly two hours in the presence of such a questing mind, our
entire audience was happily dizzy, pondering the promises and
challenges of our technological and ethical future. Bravo, Rob!"
George M. Ewing Canandaigua Forum
"Robert delivered a provocative and dynamic address. Our goal
was to choose a keynote who spoke outside
the box, and Robert delivered. He went out of his way to
weave our conference theme and industry into his remarks
which only added to his impact on the audience. It's often
difficult to inspire an audience who has been to many
conferences and sat through many keynote sessions. Robert,
however, did just that. I definitely recommend him."
The MEARIE Group
"Thank you for your witty, insightful, thought-provoking look at
the future. Your talk was perfectly focused for our
organization, and was, according to the glowing feedback we
received from attendees, a highlight of our conference."
48th International Conference on Health & Science Communication
"At the Toward a Science of Consciousness conference in Tucson,
Robert J. Sawyer gave the most inspiring, informative and enlightening
talk on science and sci-fi that I've ever heard."
Star Trek: Deep Space 9's Chase Masterson
"To me falls the very great privilege to convey to you our expressions
of sincerest gratitude for your generous participation in our
annual conference. Your early acceptance permitted us to circulate
publicity with your prominent name right from the start. Your
excellent, right-on keynote address set the upbeat tone for the whole
conference. Thank you very, very much."
Canadian Authors Association
"Your presentation was the highlight of our event. You presented
compelling scenarios regarding what we could expect to see for
healthcare in the future with an engaging and humourous style.
It was a fascinating topic, well researched and presented by a
gifted speaker, and it captivated the audience throughout."
Grey-Bruce Health Network
"Robert J. Sawyer performed with the highest degrees of
professionalism, along with considerable wit, humor and clarity.
I have no doubt about Robert's ability to hold an audience's
attention, and recommend him for suitable corporate or other