This past October 2021, I had the distinct pleasure, and horror, of experiencing John McElligott’s keynote address titled “The Exponential Economy” during the annual NYSERNet Conference.

John’s intelligence and wit were abundantly clear, but his insights about the current and future interplay between technology and day-to-day life, especially as experienced and lived by today’s hyper-connected youth, were both exciting and chilling at the same time. The almost casual reliance of youth on technology, and more specifically virtual assistants, has implications for everything from marketing to interpersonal relationships, voting decisions and perhaps even future geopolitical decision making and stability. The power we’ve ceded to big-data companies is incomprehensible, though John did his best to make that clear.

While we cannot put the genie back into the bottle, with appropriate safeguards (and perhaps bans on AI), the future is also incredibly exciting. John’s storytelling, combined with descriptions of the future advancements coming for humanity itself, paint a compelling picture of the potential utopia to come – with appropriate safeguards. Without them, of course, get right with Jesus. In fact, you might just want to get right with Jesus right now.

What you don’t want to do is miss John McElligott’s next keynote. Don’t forget your towel, traveler.

David Nizen
Vice President

The conference went great and John’s talk was truly amazing! Will definitely keep him in mind as a repeat speaker since technology is moving at such a fast pace. It’d be great to have him back regularly for updates.