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Rebecca  Costa

Rebecca Costa

Acclaimed Technology Futurist & Author


Want to know what disruptive technologies lie ahead for your industry? According to renowned science and technology futurist, Rebecca Costa, there can be no greater advantage than certainty of the future. Not in nature. Not in business. Not in social leadership or governance. Never before has the science and technologies needed to avert failure, get the jump on opportunity, and prepare for the inevitable been so clearly within reach. New advances in predictive analytics, AI, genomics, sensor and other technologies have made it possible to pinpoint future outcomes with mind-blowing accuracy in every industry, every occupation - paving the way for what Costa calls predaptation: "acting before the fact." Costa cites real-world case studies where organizations have leveraged innovation to leap ahead of disruptive changes – turning technological advantages into cost-efficient services, better products, competitive brand differentiation, and lower costs. Read More >

A global thinker in the mold of Alvin Toffler, Thomas Friedman, Malcolm Gladwell, and Jared Diamond, Costa stands out as one of the few female technology futurists in the world today. As an award-winning sociobiologist, she brings a deeply human perspective to discussions of technology, disruption and change. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, The Guardian, and other leading publications. She has been widely praised by leaders such as Richard Branson, Alan Dershowitz, former Apple CEO John Sculley, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, former PBS News Anchor Jim Lehrer, former U.N. Ambassador and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, and many others.  Costa is the leading expert on "fast adaptation" in complex environments and the recipient of the prestigious Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Award.

As the founder and CEO of one of the largest technology marketing firms in Silicon Valley, Costa developed a track record of introducing disruptive new technologies. Her clients included industry game-changers such as Hewlett-Packard, Apple,, Oracle, Siebel Systems, 3M, and GE. Following the successful sale of her company, Costa spent six years researching and writing the international bestseller The Watchman's Rattle: A Radical New Theory ofCollapse, followed by On the Verge, which hit bookstores in 2017.

Audiences describe Rebecca Costa's presentations as "brilliant," "funny," "confident," "entertaining," "highly informative," "visionary," and "inspiring."  She brings a futurist's eye, a business executive's savvy, and an author’s storytelling skills to the stage, leaving audiences with actionable insights they can use in their work and life. She is consistently ranked as one of the most in-demand speakers in the industry. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

On Preadaptation

Virtual Presentation: Fast Adaptation in the Era of COVID-19

How Complexity is Killing Wall Street

Complexity in a High Failure Rate Environment

The Greatest Discovery You've Never Heard

Are We Headed for Collapse

Complexity is the Real Issue

Mission Critical Organizations

Drive Towards Singularity is Drive Towards Extinction

Quantifying the Future

We've Broken Down the Human Genome

Speech Topics

COVID-19: A Lesson in Fast-Adaptation

No organization expected a virus to become the next big business disrupter. We had plans for AI and machine learning and 5G and data security and robotics and, and, and...But a fast-moving virus? Social distancing? Shelter-in-place? Read More >

As leaders come to terms with the new business reality made urgent by COVID-19, it’s comforting to know that many of the technologies needed to adapt quickly to a remote, distributed workforce are already in place. As is much of what’s needed to provided uninterrupted service and products to clients and partners. Take for example the use of popular video conferencing applications like Skype or Zoom, or secure signatory sites like DocuSign, or workgroup tools like SLACK. Blockchain technology has brought us a long way toward securing the integrity of transactional data and supply chains. Driverless cars and drones now have the ability to deliver documents, goods and people anywhere, anytime. And robots, large and small, can be programmed to perform repetitive or dangerous tasks.

It isn’t a question of whether the technologies to adapt to doing business in a new way are available. It’s how to quickly leverage the 12 principles of successful adaptation to make the transition as painless and efficient as possible. To this end, Rebecca D. Costa is the world’s foremost authority on “fast adaptation.” She has worked with the leaders of the largest global corporations to position them to react swiftly and opportunistically to sudden changes. More importantly, Costa is an award-winning technology and science futurist with an eye on what to get ready for next. Read Less ^

On the Verge: The Future of Everything

What if you could avoid failure and other negative outcomes? Or take advantage of trends and events which haven't yet occurred? In a fast-changing world, there is no greater advantage than the ability to accurately assess and adapt to the future before-the-fact. Technology and predictive analytics have ushered in a new era in which leaders can now foresee what is headed their way with unprecedented accuracy—and actually capitalize on opportunity in advance. It's a power that sociobiologist Rebecca Costa calls predaptation. Drawing from two blockbuster bestsellers, Costa reveals 12 adaptive and predaptive principles leaders use to succeed in fast-changing environments. Read More >

No matter what your organization does, this game-changing presentation will help you to predict the future. Costa covers the bold new world of technologies that empower predaptation, including: Big Data, quantum computing, predictive analytics and algorithms, artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, robotics, facial recognition software, virtual reality, genomic sciences, mobile phone diagnostics, nano-sensors, and whatever's on the verge.

Her customized presentations provide a general outlook for all businesses, envisioning the future for these industries and many more: Read Less ^

  • Finance & Investing
  • Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Environment & Energy
  • Retail
  • Legal & Government
  • Manufacturing

Why Fast Adapters Win

In an increasingly complex environment, decision-makers must constantly confront "more wrong choices than right ones, as the number of wrong ones grow." According to Rebecca Costa, the increasing complexity of processes, information, technology, and policies cause errors to become more prevalent and oversight to become more difficult, making unanticipated collapse more dangerous. Weaving cutting-edge science with memorable, anecdotal stories, Costa shows how leaders can prevail over complexity by mastering techniques and technologies aimed at "Fast Adaptation."

Smart Cities: Planning for the Inevitable

A plethora of technological developments ranging from inexpensive sensors and cameras, 5G, and predictive analytics to AI have made Smart Cities not only a reality but an inevitability. Those who jump on the bandwagon first will enjoy the distinct advantages of true IoT and machine-to-machine communications: Read More >

  • Smart Cities are changing the way the person on Main Street lives and works by removing previously immutable problems - problems such as wasting thousands of hours commuting in traffic. Smart cities are magnitudes more energy efficient (eventually approaching zero carbon emissions) and, also much safer. Law enforcement resources are used more efficiently and there is less crime and, also fewer victims.
  • Changes and investments in roads and other infrastructure are made more swiftly and are more targeted as data is collected and analyzed in real time. Mobile robots and drones will also begin to proliferate, performing tasks such as trash removal, delivering blood or critical pharmaceuticals/equipment to where it is needed, and evacuating citizens who are in danger.

In short, Smart Cities will enable leaders to deliver better, faster and more comprehensive services to their citizenry - making optimal use of every tax dollar. Rebecca Costa will present specific tools to prepare and excite audiences for what is to come, in addition to sharing which technologies are worthwhile investments, proposing that the benefits of Smart Cities so far and above outweigh any potential negatives. The key to her presentation is to counteract the natural human reaction to unfamiliar changes, which is fear and resistance. Read Less ^

Healthcare on the Verge

Every day, healthcare professionals face pressures to increase efficiency and reduce costs while simultaneously providing the highest quality of individualized care possible. But do these objectives compete with one another? According to Rebecca Costa, technologies ranging from genomics, robotics, facial recognition software and nano-sensors, to Big Data and quantum computing, mobile phone diagnostics and virtual reality are raising the bar for quality care while freeing healthcare professionals to work more effectively. Costa shows how these technologies are not only being deployed to rapidly diagnose and tailor patient treatment, but also to monitor and preempt danger. For example, we can now predict a person is going to trip and fall within the next three weeks with 86 percent accuracy. And we are equally adept at identifying patients who are predisposed to opioid addiction, specific cancers, diabetes and near-term heart-attacks and strokes. As predictive analytics becomes ever more precise, the opportunity to head off many healthcare crises increases. Costa refers to this phenomena as predaptation—the ability to adapt to the future before it even happens. In this presentation, she highlights how predaptation and technology will transform healthcare, enabling it to raise the bar on both quality and effectiveness.

Predictive Analytics: Where Compassionate Care and Efficiency Meet

What if technology could help you predict the future and accurately determine risk factors for the people and communities that you serve? What if this knowledge could help you to provide more effective, individualized service and avert and even prevent crises? This isn't science fiction. Today, a myriad of technologies from predictive analytics and nano-sensors, to virtual reality, Big Data, mobile phone diagnostics and other applications make this possible. For example, we can now identify individuals who are predisposed to opioid addiction, violent behavior, specific cancers, diabetes, binge drinking, and more. Our ability to predict where a hurricane will make landfall and when food, water and medicine shortages are likely to occur is almost clairvoyant. We can even predict the effect a jump in oil prices will have on the number of homeless, enabling us to take measures before-the-fact with greater confidence than ever before. Rebecca Costa calls this phenomenon predaptation. In this presentation tailored for nonprofit and human services professionals and their stakeholders, she shares the 12 principles proven to turn reactive organizations into forward-focused leaders.

Foreworld: The Future of Education

How do institutions and students prepare for having three, four, five careers over their lifetime? What will those careers be? Will the skills they acquire today be transferable? Rebecca Costa demonstrates how Big Data, quantum computing, facial recognition, nano-sensor, robotics, satellite and high-speed communication technologies have ignited a revolution in predictive analytics, the likes of which education has never experienced. This capability has armed educators and administrators with the ability to get a jump on new opportunities, and avert failures which have yet to occur. Every day, our ability to adapt before-the-fact grows more acute. Nowhere has the ability to look upstream had greater impact than in education. Costa calls this phenomenon predaptation and reveals 12 principles which allow educators and institutions to get out ahead of change and prepare students for a fast-changing environment.