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Rahaf Harfoush

Digital Anthropologist

New York Times Best-Selling Author

Executive Director, Red Thread Institute of Digital Culture

Member of Obama's Social Media Team 2008;

Associate Director, Technology Pioneers, World Economic Forum


Ein Bild, das Person, Frau, Haar, Kleidung enthält.

Automatisch generierte Beschreibung



Rahaf Harfoush is a Strategist, Digital Anthropologist, and Best-Selling Author who focuses on the intersections of emerging technology, innovation, and digital culture. Her research centres on the human impacts of artificial intelligence, algorithms, social networks, and big data.

Rahaf is the Executive Director of the Red Thread Institute of Digital Culture, a think-tank and consultancy that focuses on helping organizations translate innovation trends into strategic opportunities. Her clients include UNESCO, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, SAFT, Baccarat, 1 Hotels, IBM, Cross Knowledge, ING DIRECT, and more. 

She teaches “Innovation & Emerging Business Models” at SciencePo’s MBA program in Paris. She is named a Young Global Changer at the G20 Think Tank Summit.   In 2019, she will be chairing UNESCO’s research initiative exploring the links between Artificial Intelligence and Gender Equality.

Rahaf’s latest book, entitled “Hustle & Float” (February 2019) reveals how the collision of disruptive technologies and centuries-old beliefs about work, is creating an untenable tension for workers in the idea economy, and organizations need to do to help their creatives thrive.

Rahaf is the co-author of “The Decoded Company: Know Your Talent Better Than You Know Your Customers,” which was listed on both the New York Times and USA Today best-seller list, and won a 2015 Gold Axiom Award for Best Business Technology book. The Decoded Company explores how big data is providing an unprecedented opportunity for organizations to dramatically improve their decision making, increase their performance and, most importantly, intentionally create ethical, happy, and vibrant work cultures.

Her first book, “Yes We Did: An Insider’s Look at How Social Media Built the Obama Brand,” chronicled her experiences as a member of Barack Obama’s digital media team during the 2008 presidential elections and explored how social networking revolutionized political campaign strategy.

Rahaf sits on the Steering Committee for the Peter Drucker Forum as well as the Peer Reviewing Committee for the Association of Internet Researchers. In 2014, Rahaf was named as a Rising Talent by the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society and a Young Global Changer by the G20 Think Tank Summit. She was also selected as one of the Top 30 future thinkers by the prestigious Hay Literary Festival.

Rahaf’s writing has been featured in HBR, Wired, The Globe and Mail, Fast Company, Techonomy and The Next Web.

Formerly, Rahaf was the Associate Director of the Technology Pioneer Programme at the World Economic Forum in Geneva. She was the Research Coordinator on Don Tapscott’s best sellingWikinomics: how Mass Collaboration Changes Everything,” and contributed research to “Grown Up Digital: How The Net Generation is Changing Your World.”

An engaging and passionate speaker, Rahaf has been sharing her insights on technology and innovation since 2006, and has spoken at over 110 keynotes worldwide. She excels at making trends and research easy to understand and uses case studies, stories and anecdotes to deliver presentations that are entertaining, informative and funny.  Rahaf also has extensive experience moderating panels and MC’ing events.

All sessions can be customized for audience, industry, and function and are available in both keynote and workshop (full day/half day) for clients.


Short Description of the Keynote Speech

Should we tax robots? What if my child’s best friend is a chat bot? What does an algorithm ethicist do? Do smart machines need therapy? 

We are on the verge of one of the biggest technological disruptions our species has ever faced. As automation, algorithms, and artificial intelligence continue to advance at an exponential rate, technology is rewriting the rules of our society that have served us for decades. In this talk, Rahaf explores what it means to be human in world where the features that differentiated us are now being replicated by machines. Google created an AI that started creating original works of art mere hours after it was programmed. A Japanese AI was a finalize in a prestigious literary competition. Financial companies are investing in algorithms that can do the work of teams of analyst in mere seconds. Work is only the beginning. New technologies are redefining traditional friendships, and relationships. Research suggests that by 2050 robot sex will be more popular than it’s human counterpart. What do all of these changes mean for our notions of intimacy, monogamy, parenting, dating, and social interaction? 

In this keynote, Rahaf dives into some of the ethical, cultural, and social questions that surround these technological advancements showing both the promise and peril of living in a constantly connected society. 




Keynote 3

Stage: Josef Resch Saal

13th November 2019 - 11:00 to 11:30 am

English/ Keynote


Title: AI, Algorithms & Automation: The Role of Humans in the Digital revolution



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