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

Jamie Metzl is a leading futurist who specializes in making revolutionary science understandable to the general public. He speaks regularly at some of the world’s most prestigious venues including South by Southwest, Google Zeitgeist, and Singularity University, and is a regular guest on CNN, Bloomberg, BBC, CBS, and other national and international media. His syndicated columns and other writing on genetics, virtual reality, Asian affairs, and other topics are featured regularly in the New York TimesWashington PostTechCrunchForeign Affairs, and other publications around the world. His nonfiction work Homo Sapiens 2.0: Genetic Enhancement and the Future of Humanity will be released by Source Books in Spring 2019.


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 an expert in international affairs and biotechnology policy. He previously served as Executive Vice President of the Asia Society, Deputy Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senior Coordinator for International Public Information at the U.S. State Department, Director for Multilateral Affairs on the National Security Council, and as a Human Rights Officer for the United Nations in Cambodia. He has testified before Congress on the national security implication of the biotechnology and genomics revolutions and was Chief Strategy Officer for a genetics biotechnology company.


Recently, Jamie was appointed member of the World Health Organization expert advisory committee. The group works to develop global standards for the governance and oversight of human genome editing. The committee will examine the scientific, ethical, social, and legal challenges associated with – and develop recommendations on appropriate governance mechanisms for – human genome editing. This is the first time an international organization has taken up this issue.


A founder and Co-Chair of the national security organization Partnership for a Secure America, Jamie is a board member of the International Center for Transitional Justice and the American University in Mongolia, 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, Jamie 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, twenty-nine marathons, and twelve ultramarathons. In addition to his upcoming book on genetic engineering, Jamie Metzl 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.


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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.

R/Evolution at the Intersection of AI and Genomics After decades of slow progress during the long “AI Winter,” the field of artificial intelligence is now blossoming in an “AI Spring” fundamentally transforming the way we live, work, and innovate. But the AI revolution won’t just change what we do, it will ultimately transform who we are. Most people already appreciate that genome sequencing and other genetic technologies with alter the way we treat cancer and other diseases. But the healthcare applications of genomics are just a station along the way in this profound revolution at the intersection of AI and Genomics. The ultimate destination is nothing less than the transformation of our evolutionary trajectory as a species. While the idea of creating humans with exceptional traits like higher IQ, disease resistance, or the ability to live longer and healthier lives may seem the stuff of science fiction, this future is far closer than most people understand or appreciate. In this mind-blowing and highly entertaining talk, futurist Jamie Metzl explains in clear, colorful, and concise language the coming revolution at the intersection of AI and genomics with its incredible promise and frightening danger, and explores what every person, company, and country can and must do to prepare.
What You Need to Know About the Future Converging political, geopolitical, and technological revolutions are making now the greatest moment of global change at least since 1945 and possibly ever. With nationalism rising around the world, the post-war international order in rapid decline, China significantly expanding its global influence, and the AI, genetics, blockchain, and other revolutions shaking the foundations of the world we’ve known, the pressure is mounting for individuals, companies, and countries to 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 Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity After four billion years of evolution through the Darwinian principles of random mutation and natural selection, our species is about to take control of our evolution. The genetic revolution will allow us to eliminate genetic diseases which have plagued our ancestors for millennia, live longer healthier lives, and transform how we make babies and ultimately the nature of the babies we make. 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.
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 people can and should be doing now to prepare for this revolutionary future that will fundamentally reorganize modern societies and have monumental implications for businesses and other organizations.
Human Resource Management in a Genetic Age Corporations have struggled for decades to build open and inclusive workplaces comfortable to people of all races, nationalities, genders, ages, and sexual orientations. In the fast-arriving genetic age, companies will need to figure out such issues as whether to cover embryo selection and embryonic genetic engineering for employees and how to deal with genetic IQ estimates derived before birth from the sequenced genomes of potential employees. While this may seem like science fiction, the beginnings of this future are already here. Today’s debate about whether or not companies should cover egg freezing expenses for female employees is only a first step in a genome-based transformation that will alter our perception of workforce capabilities and potentials and challenge even the most forward-thinking of corporations.
AI + Genomics = Revolution The combination of genome sequencing, big data genomics, and gene therapies will usher in a new era of precision medicine where each patient is treated based on their own unique biology. As the genetics revolution transforms healthcare, medicine will increasingly become a domain where human doctors and artificial intelligence work side-by-side. As transformative as genetic technologies will be for healthcare, this will only be a station along the way to where the genetics revolution is headed. Ultimately, genetic tools will likely lead many of our societies toward allowing the selection and genetic alteration of the embryos of future children not only to protect them from disease but also to select or enhance non-disease traits potentially including appearance, IQ, and personality style. The genetics revolution will be the greatest transformation of our era, and it has already begun.
Is Your Business Ready for Exponential Change? If the pace of technological change feels like it’s getting faster, that’s because it is. The basic idea of exponential change is that innovation begets innova­tion. The more and better tools we develop, the more efficiently and effec­tively we organize ourselves and connect with each other, and the more ideas we have, the better positioned we are to devise even better tools, organize and connect more, and come up with even greater ideas. This is why it took around twelve thousand years to go from the agrarian revolu­tion to the industrial revolution but only a couple of hundred years to move from the industrial revolution to the internet revolution and then only a few decades to arrive at the dawn of the AI revolution. Each technolog­ical revolution enables the next and the time between each revolution becomes shorter and the impact bigger. And because change is speeding up, our sense of timing based on past experience is by definition too conservative.

Exponential technological change may seem like an abstract concept but it will be disrupting your business far sooner than you think. Most everyone knows that automation will increasingly make many human work functions – from sales clerks to truck drivers to radiologists – obsolete, but few understand how the very model of corporate innovation is soon about to change or how the coming shift to a world of personalized health care with turn corporate human resource management on its head. In this wide-ranging, exhilarating, and deeply challenging talk, technology futurist, sci-fi novelist, and corporate guru Jamie Metzl helps business leaders understand how they can best ride the coming tidal wave of radical technological change toward a better and more competitive future.
What China’s CRISPR babies mean for you, your family, and the future of your business Recent reports that a Chinese scientist engineered the genomes of a pair of twins are a harbinger of a scientific revolution that will quickly and fundamentally transform our healthcare, procreation, and individual and collective identities. Just like the first word out of a baby’s mouth is both a small step and an essential indication of something far more profound, the one change made in the Chinese embryos propels us into a world where we humans will be able to recast all life on earth, including our own. While this may feel like science fiction, the near-term impacts our on personal and professional lives are coming far sooner than most of us understand or are prepared for. In just a short number of years, companies will be need to figure out, for example, if and how to use genetic data when assessing the suitability of applicants and employees for given tasks, whether advanced egg freezing and embryo selection should be provided as corporate health benefits, and what to do when all employees’ sequenced genomes indicate multiple pre-existing conditions. The genetics revolution is coming far faster than you think -- but are you ready?

Jamie Metzl is among the world’s leading experts on the big picture implications of the genetics revolution. His latest book, Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity, will be released in April 2019 and is already being widely acclaimed. “If you can read one book on the future of our species,” CNN’s Sanjay Gupta says, “this is it.”

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 Focus, and 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.

"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)