Jamie Metzl
Geopolitics and Biotechnology Expert, Futurist Novelist, Atlantic Council Senior Fellow

Jamie Metzl is one of the world’s leading futurists who specializes in making revolutionary science and its implications understandable to and actionable for individuals, companies, and governments. A frequent CNN commentator, he speaks regularly at some of the world’s most prestigious venues including SXSW, Google Zeitgeist, and Singularity University. His syndicated columns and other writing on how technology, economics, and global politics intersect are featured in publications around the world including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Economist, and TechCrunch.


Jamie is the author of a history of the Cambodian genocide, the historical novel The Depths of the Sea, and the genetics sci-fi thrillers Genesis Code and Eternal Sonata. His high profile new book, Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity, was released to critical acclaim. According to CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, “If you can only read one book on the future of our species, this is it.” Former CIA Director Mike Morrel calls Hacking Darwin “a must-read for the entire planet.”


Jamie is a Senior Fellow for Technology and National Security of the Atlantic Council, a faculty member for Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine track, and a member of the World Health Organization expert advisory committee on the governance and oversight of human genome editing. He previously served in senior positions in US National Security Council, State Department, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as a Human Rights Officer for the United Nations in Cambodia. A former Chief Strategy Officer of a Boston-based biotechnology company and partner in a global private equity firm, Jamie has advised both the North and South Korean governments and served as an election monitor in Afghanistan.


Jamie is a founder and Co-Chair of the national security organization Partnership for a Secure America, a board member of the International Center for Transitional Justice and the American University in Mongolia, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Brandeis International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life, and 92Y’s Center for Innovation and Social Impact. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and former White House Fellow and Aspen Institute Crown Fellow, he holds a Ph.D. in Asian history from Oxford, a JD from Harvard Law School, and is a magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University.  He has completed thirteen Ironman triathlons, thirty marathons, and fifteen ultramarathons.


For more on Jamie, including links to his media appearances, talks, books, and articles, please see www.jamiemetzl.com.

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Hacking DarwinGenetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity

At the dawn of the genetics revolution, our DNA is becoming as readable, writable, and hackable as our information technology. But as humanity starts retooling our own genetic code, the choices we make today will be the difference between realizing breathtaking advances in human well-being and descending into a dangerous and potentially deadly genetic arms race.

Eternal SonataA Thriller of the Near Future

In 2025 America, it’s hardly news when a renowned octogenarian scientist dying of cancer disappears from a local hospice, but when Kansas City Star reporter Rich Azadian begins to dig, he discovers that other elderly scientists around the world have also vanished recently—all terminally ill and receiving the same experimental treatment from a global health company. His only hope to stop the killing is to mobilize his network of brilliant misfits and infiltrate the vast and lethal race—among cutthroat corporations, national intelligence services, rogue scientists, and a mysterious international organization—to control the new technologies and perhaps the secret of life itself.

Genesis CodeA Thriller of the Near Future

Blue Magic, the latest designer drug linked to a rash of overdoses, might explain the needle mark on the arm of a young woman found dead in her Kansas City apartment. But when Star reporter Rich Azadian digs deeper, the clues point to a far more explosive story. In 2023 America—bankrupt, violently divided by the culture wars, and beholden to archrival China—the rules of the game are complicated. With the danger mounting, the dead bodies of young women piling up, Chinese agents circling, and the US Department of National Competitiveness moving in to quash his investigation, Azadian’s only option is to go rogue, assemble a team of brilliant misfits like himself, and begin the fight of his life to find out who is killing these women and why, and if any others like them may still be alive.

St. Martin's Press

It's 1979 and Morgan O'Reilly, a dispirited CIA desk officer, is desperately trying to bury his memories. Sent to Cambodia as a Marine and then as a CIA operative during the Vietnam War, he had been given the unlikely task of pulling together a secret spy unit of orphaned street children.O'Reilly's search takes him deeper and deeper into the politics of the Thai-Cambodian border and finally into the deadly Khmer Rouge zone - a place where all foreigners are forbidden from entering and where cruelty and death are omnipresent.

Palgrave Macmillan

This study examines Western responses to human rights abuses in Cambodia between 1975 and 1980, years which included the murderous rule of the Khmer Rouge regime, a Vietnamese invasion, a civil war, and a famine. It argues that the Vietnamese invasion of December 1978 forced Western states to choose between the conflicting principles of promoting the individual human rights of the Cambodian people and furthering the geostrategic interests of the Western states.

Hacking Darwin: Genetic Enhancement and the Future of Humanity Far sooner than most of us think, the genetics revolution will transform the world within and around us. But, today, while we think about genetic technologies primarily in the context of healthcare, the tools we are developing will soon change the way we make babies, the nature of the babies we make, and ultimately our evolutionary trajectory as a species. The genetics revolution will be the greatest opportunity, and also the greatest challenge, of our era yet we aren’t ready for what’s fast heading our way. Leading technology futurist and geopolitical expert Jamie Metzl explores what the genetics revolution means for you, your company, the country, and the world - and what we must all do now to prepare. The genetics revolution will be the greatest opportunity of our era, and also the greatest challenge – and it will have massive business implications that will increasingly define organizational success and failure in the 21st century.
From Precision to Predictive: Genetic Revolution to Healthcare and Beyond The transition from today’s system of generalized medicine based on population averages to the new model of precision healthcare based on each person’s individual biology is already well underway. But the use of the precision medicine tools of genome sequencing, big data analytics, and targeted gene therapies to treat cancer and other diseases are paving the way for a system of predictive healthcare where parents will know and begin responding to their children’s future risk of developing hereditary disorders from before their children have even been born. In addition to predicting these types of health outcomes, genetic analysis will also enable us to predict and ultimately influence the genetic components of broader human traits like IQ, athletic ability, and personality style of our future children. The genetics revolution will fundamentally transform our healthcare, the way we make babies, the nature of the babies we make, and trillions of dollars of commerce but health professionals, the business community, and society at large are not at all ready. Because this transformation is coming far sooner than most people think with massive personal and financial consequences, we must be.
Competition and Innovation at the Technological Frontier Converging political, geopolitical, and technological revolutions are making now the greatest moment of global change since 1945. With nationalism rising around the world, the post-war international order in rapid decline, China significantly expanding its global influence, and AI, genetics, blockchain, and other revolutions shaking the foundations of the world we’ve known, individuals, companies, and countries will either understand and quickly adapt to these converging super-trends or pay a massive competitive price. In this talk spanning the wide range of factors transforming our world at lightning speed, geopolitical expert and technology futurist Jamie Metzl paints a vivid picture of where we are heading and outlines key principles for how individuals, companies, and countries can best position themselves to ride the rising tidal wave of revolutionary change.
Hacking Immortality: The Science and Science Fiction of Extreme Human Life Extension In this exciting talk, Jamie Metzl explores the latest technological breakthroughs in the science of human life extension and their implications on the personal and societal levels. While the quest for immortality has been the stuff of fairy tales, the new science of life extension is very real and will soon be pushing the limits of aging and unlocking human potential. Jamie, a rare combination of science expert and science fiction writer, brings the science to life and explains what individuals, companies, and governments must do now to prepare for this revolutionary future that will fundamentally reorganize modern societies and global economics.
Coronavirus Broke the World: Are you Pivoting Towards What's Next? The COVID-19 pandemic will fundamentally transform every aspect of our lives on personal, professional, national, and global levels. The crisis has made processes that might otherwise have unfolded over decades arrive all at once. Our future has come crashing into our present. As much as many of us are hoping our previous world will snap back after this crisis abates, that will not be the case. But while it is appropriate to mourn what we have lost and the tragedy of this moment, the foundations for our new lives, companies, and the world are today being laid. Those of us who don’t quickly come to terms with this massive shift will spend the rest of our lives waiting for the old world to snap back, mourning what’s been lost, and wandering around reminding people that coffee used to cost a nickel. Going into survival mode to get through this crisis, most people are focusing on their immediate needs, even if they recognize that something bigger is happening around us. In normal times, we can thrive racing forward on the various tracks we are on. But in revolutionary times like these, having a broad understanding of where we are, how we got here, and how we can get to a better place is the most important navigational tool any of us can have, the foundation of our ability to adapt, pivot, and ultimately thrive. Visionary futurist WHO expert adviser, bestselling author, and founder of the global social movement OneShared. World Jamie Metzl places our current crisis in its most essential context and helps communities understand how the world we’ve known is dying faster than we’d thought and imagine our new world emerging faster than we’d imagined.

Read Jamie Metzel’s blog post on the Declaration of Global Interdependence.

How is genetic engineering reshaping humanity? Read The Economist’s article highlighting Jamie Metzl and his newest book Hacking Darwin.

New Orleans Public Radio ran an article on Jamie Metzl and the future of genetic engineering.

Bloomberg talked with Jamie Metzl and his thinking behind Hacking Darwin.

The Atlantic Council featured Jamie Metzl and his “New Guide to Thriving in the Genetics Revolution.”

Read the edited excerpt from Jamie Metzl’s Hacking Darwin.

Jamie Metzl discusses the Future of Genetic Engineering on PBS.

Hacking Darwin was featured in an op-ed in The New York Times.

NPR reviewed Jamie Metzl’s Hacking Darwin.

Read how Jamie Metzl’s Hacking Darwin changed sex education.

The World Health Organization expert advisory committee announced Jamie Metzl as one of the members.

Psychology Today profiled Jamie Metzl on what the future of humanity looks like.

Read Jamie Metzl’s recent CNN op-eds, 12 things Trump should know about North Korea and Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, made for each other?

Watch Jamie Metzl discuss what the U.S. can expect from China in dealing with North Korea on CBS.

Watch Jamie Metzl discuss the mounting tensions between the U.S. and North Korea on Bloomberg Markets.

Read Jamie Metzl’s article on why Korean reunification is in China’s strategic national interest.

Listen to Jamie Metzl discuss the future of genetic engineering at SXSW.

Check out Jamie Metzl’s recent contributions to US News & World Report, China US Focusand Quartz Media

Read more of Jamie Metzl’s most recent articles here.

Browse Jamie Metzl’s Youtube channel for more clips and exclusive content.

Watch Jamie Metzl’s interview on CNN about Donald Trump’s visit to Asia as well as this CNN interview on Trump’s treatment of the Russia issue

Learn more about Jamie Metzl on his website.

"We invited Jamie to give a keynote address to 500 doctors at a major medical convention. His brilliant talk simply blew people’s minds and made them think differently about where medicine is heading and what that means for all of us. With tremendous thoughtfulness, energy, creativity, and skill, Jamie helped participants imagine how they might ride the wave of exponential change toward greater success rather than be crushed by it. The positive response was overwhelming. Jamie is a superstar."
- Joshua Abram, Co-Founder and CEO, TMRW Life Sciences

"Jamie was a riveting, entertaining, and thought provoking speaker who immediately captured the attention of our audience. No boring slides or promotional agendas. Jamie simply shared provocative ideas and stories designed to encourage conversation and spark a movement of positive change. He is a delight to work with, and I highly recommend him for any stage."
- Dr. Gautam Gulati, Kick Health

"Jamie was the closing keynote at our global CEO conference. He had an uncanny way tying together all of the themes from the previous sessions, into a masterful and thought provoking closing. No canned script, no death by PowerPoint, but an engaging, entertaining and intelligent talk worthy of our audience. Jamie's keynote had the energy and enthusiasm of a rock star, and left our audience wanting more. I would most certainly book Jamie again for another YPO event!
- Stephen Forte, President, Silicon Valley YPO

“San Jose State thinks a great deal these days about how to approach healthcare studies with our students, how that interacts with technology and the humanities, and the complexity of programs we need to create that will allow us to think differently about our place in an ever changing world, as well as how we can have a positive impact. At our event, Jamie was exceptionally engaged with the students, and in both sessions before the lecture, everyone one came up with him afterwards to talk further with him. He offered thoughtful insights into these issues in an engaging, entertaining way that I know is going to generate a great deal of discussion and debate among our students and staff. He reminded us that the future is already here and we should engage with it actively and in the spirit of our values.”
- Dr. Mary A. Papazian, President, San Jose State University

“Provocative, challenging, wonderful, exciting and a bit scary are just a sampling of the reactions from the nearly 1500 attendees at Jamie Metzl’s talks we hosted in advance of the debut of his book Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity. Jamie’s fast pace and vast knowledge kept audiences of all ages and persuasions locked on.”
- John Carney, CEO, Center for Practical Bioethics

"Jamie’s fabulous presentation on genetic engineering - past, present and future - was at once thought provoking, inspiring, frightening and enlightening. It was simply the best presentation I ever have heard in all my 71 years. I look forward to the publication of Hacking Darwin and can’t wait to get my hands on it."
- David Parker, Board Member, Brown University Hillel

"Jamie’s compelling discussion and deep insights into the intersection of assisted reproductive medicine, genomics, stem cell tech and human genetic engineering were truly compelling and generated a tremendous amount of interest and engagement from our diverse group of healthcare providers. In a very short time he was able to capture the imagination of the audience and bring them face to face with the profound implications of our very near biomedical future."
— Serena H Chen, MD, Director, Division of Reproductive Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Saint Barnabas Medical Center

“Jamie’s talk on ‘Donald Trump and the Changing Geopolitics of Asia’ was an absolute tour de force that blew away our members. Jamie took what could have been a narrowly focused topic and put it in a far broader historical and political context that helped the audience to see the big picture of U.S.-China relations and the dynamics shaping it. His thought-provoking and expansive talk generated a fascinating discussion and left us seeing the world from an entirely different—and deeply appreciated—perspective.”
— Courtney Doggart, President, Network 20/20

“Jamie is a fantastic authority and resource on all things related to China. I hired Jamie as a panelist and keynote speaker in 2016 after hearing Jamie speak at an Atlantic Council event. He was extremely knowledgeable, flexible and a pleasure to work with on our event programming. I was particularly impressed by Jamie’s presence and command of the topics and his ability to engage with the audience in a meaningful way. Throughout our preparation, Jamie was always accessible and provided constructive ways to improve our program. Jamie is at the top of my list for my speaking engagement needs.”

"IVY hosts dozens of incredible lectures led by leading minds around the country each year, but I've never seen our members as engaged with the speaker and the subject matter as they were with Dr. Metzl. He captivated the room with the intricacies of the future of science and humanity. After the lecture members lingered for more than two hours discussing the implications of the future of genetic engineering and debating what, if anything, should be done about it."

“Jamie Metzl spoke to a captivated audience about a fascinating and complicated subject. Bio-engineering and its impact upon the future of mankind was the topic Dr. Metzl aptly articulated in an enthralling yet relatable style. From the start, he built a genuine rapport with the audience as he communicated so that each person understood as clearly as possible the subject matter. Jamie’s presentation was amazingly fluid and perfectly paced as he spoke effortlessly without notes or prompts. ‘Jamie is the best speaker we’ve ever had.’ ‘This event was a home run because of Jamie Metzl!’ ‘Jamie is engaging and smoothly breaks it down.’ These are just a few samples of the positive comments received from the audience after the presentation. Our community is excited about Jamie’s return for an encore!”
-Kansas City Jewish Federation

“Jamie spoke to the senior most lay leadership of our non-partisan, nonprofit organization on U.S. foreign policy and, particularly, as it relates to the Asia Pacific region—a topic that is difficult to address, both because it is inherently complex and politically sensitive. Jamie overcame these challenges and adeptly and tactfully addressed the issues, giving historical context and his own perspective in a clear and effective manner. His breadth of knowledge is impressive. Jamie is very personable, and his intelligence, confidence and personal charm were extremely well received. Many people commented after his presentation and the ensuing discussion that he is one of the best speakers they have heard in a very long while—and this is a group that is accustomed to hearing many high-level speakers. We look forward to the next opportunity to host Jamie as a speaker again.”
-Shira Loewenberg, Director, AJC Asia Pacific Institute (API)