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Get to Know James Manyika, Google’s First Senior VP for Tech and Society

| How Africa News


Given global complaints about some digital businesses’ practices that are harmful to society, Big Tech is making modifications and restructuring to address these concerns. Google, one of the Big Techs, is experiencing escalating criticism and legal concerns, including antitrust lawsuits, increasingly stringent rules, declining privacy, employee protests, and accusations of failing to combat misinformation.

Google recently named James Manyika as Senior Vice President of Technology and Society in an effort to alter its operations, maintain a positive balance with society, provide better educated opinions, and lessen the growing reaction. James is in charge of shaping and communicating the company’s perspective on the influence of technology on the economy, the world, and society.

He will concentrate on AI, the future of labor and the digital economy, computer infrastructure, sustainability, and other topics that could have a big impact on society. James is the first person to be appointed to the newly created post, and he will report directly to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. His nomination comes at a pivotal juncture in the world’s technological growth, which has some concerned about the possible harm that could result.

James Manyika is qualified for the job based on his over 30-year expertise and research on global economic and technology trends. Over his career, he has counseled CEOs and founders of numerous prominent technology businesses, as well as co-authored numerous books and papers on technology, the future of work, and other global tech challenges.

James had several prominent positions in several organizations prior to his current appointment at Google. During the Obama administration, he was nominated to the U.S. National Innovation Advisory Council at the Department of Commerce in 2011. He was also the White House vice-chair of the United States Global Development Council. Governor Gavin Newsom named him, along with Mary Kay Henry, as co-chair of California’s Future of Work Commission in 2019.

He is a member of several think tanks, including the US Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. He serves on the Advisory Council of Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence and the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. He is also a member of the Oxford Internet Institute’s advisory board, a board member of the MacArthur Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Markle Foundation, a trustee of the XPrize Foundation, and a senior advisor at Schmidt Futures.

James is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Arts, the Institute for Human-Centered AI at Stanford University, the Ethics and AI at Oxford University, DeepMind, and Balliol College at Oxford University.

Aside from work, James has co-authored books, including:

‘Decentralized Data Fusion: An Information Theoretic Approach’ (James Manyika and Hugh F. Durrant-Whyte, 1994).

‘No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends’ (James Manyika, Jonathan Woetzel, and Richard Dobbs, 2015).

Early Life and Education

James Manyika was born in Zimbabwe and raised there. He attended Prince Edward School and graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. Oxford University awarded him a Master of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science as well as a PhD in AI and Robotics.

James is a Zimbabwean American who is well-known for his study and work in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, and the future of work. The New African Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Important Africans in 2020 and 2022.

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