On Tuesday, Tyler Junior College kicked off its new speaker series, Powerful Voices, with influential global communicator, Dex Hunter-Torricke.
From 2012 to 2016, Hunter-Torricke led the executive communications team at Facebook and served as a speechwriter for Mark Zuckerberg. Prior to Facebook, he was Google’s first executive speechwriter, supporting Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, CEO Larry Page and other senior Google leaders.
During a midday discussion with TJC students and an evening talk for the public, Hunter-Torricke shared his thoughts concerning the impact of technological developments throughout history, currently and into the future. His presentation addressed the growing role of information technology and included future applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and the metaverse in everyday life and work.
“Why is the world going through such disruption?” he asked. “It is because we are moving from an economy that was governed by the industrial era, the one that we all grew up in, to one that is driven by the information era.”
He continued, “Every single industry, company and community in the world has been transformed in the last couple of decades because of technology and access to information. You cannot name a single job that hasn’t been exponentially transformed because of access to information and the creation of new tools of technology.”
He said this knowledge economy will continue maturing because it is driven by underlying changes in technology, noting that computing power is currently growing by about 30 percent every year.
He mentioned the effects of those changes in Texas.
“You obviously have an incredibly fast-growing economy here,” he said. “I think there are more Fortune 500 companies based in Texas than anywhere in the U.S. Because you have so many industries coming to Texas now, you obviously have a lot of choices. You can pick any number of industries and roles, depending on where you want to be based.”
Even with advances in AI transforming jobs and industries, Hunter-Torricke said, “We’re still going to need people. And what we want are folks who are really passionate and really good at what they do to also be working hand in hand with AI. I think, if we worry too much about planning which jobs are going to be deleted by AI, that’s just playing guesswork. AI is going to come to everything.”
He continued, “It’s important to accept that audacious change is coming. When the iPhone first arrived, lots of people didn’t take it seriously — and very quickly, a supercomputer that fits in our pockets completely changed the world. AI, the metaverse, all the other big changes of the future — they are coming, they are real technologies, and we need to take them seriously now.”
About the TJC Powerful Voices series
The TJC Powerful Voices speaker series welcomes a diverse range of world-renowned innovators, leaders and scholars.
As experts in their various fields, speakers will deliver lively, challenging and informative presentations on timely topics, bringing new perspectives and ideas to TJC and the community.
For more information, go to TJC.edu/PowerfulVoices.