Manyika appointed to Airbnb board

Manyika’s appointment to Airbnb, a firm valued at US$91,96 billion, was with immediate effect as the Zimbabwean born businessman joined eight other board members.

GOOGLE’s Research, Technology and Society senior vice-president James Manyika has been appointed to the board of American online homestay firm, Airbnb Inc., to help the company make more use of artificial intelligence (AI).

According to Google, an American multinational technology firm valued at US$1,74 trillion, Manyika oversees Google Research and leads efforts across Google and Alphabet to responsibly shape and advance its most ambitious innovations to benefit people and society.

Manyika’s appointment to Airbnb, a firm valued at US$91,96 billion, was with immediate effect as the Zimbabwean born businessman joined eight other board members.

In a statement, Airbnb chief executive officer and co-founder Brian Chesky said the company was thrilled to have him on board.

“I'm thrilled that James Manyika is joining our board,” Chesky said.

“He's dedicated his career to exploring technology's impact on society, and is one of the world's leading experts in AI.

“He started advising Airbnb in 2018 and has been an essential thought partner to me for years.

“It’s inevitable that AI will reshape society and have a profound impact on our business.

“With James joining our board, we'll continue to benefit from his guidance as we embark on the dawn of this new technological revolution.”

According to his profile on Airbnb, Manyika is also a senior partner emeritus of McKinsey & Company, an American a global management consulting firm that is one of the three biggest such companies globally.

Manyika is a chair and director emeritus of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).

At Mckinsey, Manyika advised the chief executives of many of the world’s leading technology companies, and he led MGI ’s research on technology, the economy, competitiveness, and other global economy trends.

“Appointed by President (Barack) Obama, he served as vice chair of the Global Development Council at the White House, and by commerce secretaries to the Digital Economy Board and the National Innovation Board,” Airbnb said.

“He currently serves as vice chair of the US National AI Advisory Committee which advises the President on AI and the National AI Initiative Office at the White House, and serves on the US secretary of state’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.

“He serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, Hewlett and MacArthur Foundations.”

Manyika is a visiting professor at Oxford’s School of Government and a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s committee on responsible computing.

“He has been elected a distinguished fellow of Stanford’s AI Institute, a distinguished fellow in ethics in AI at Oxford, a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and a life fellow of the Royal Society of Arts,” Airbnb said.

“A Rhodes scholar, James has DPhil, MSc with distinction and MA from Oxford in AI and robotics, mathematics, and computer science, a BSc first class in electrical engineering from the University of Zimbabwe.”

Manyika said he was inspired by the way  Airbnb had bridged people and cultures globally.

“At such a critical point of inflection for technology and society, I'm inspired by the ways Airbnb has bridged people and cultures all around the world,” Manyika said.

“I'm honoured to join the board of directors and look forward to working together with the entire Airbnb team to build for the future in a way that benefits hosts, guests and communities everywhere.”

Airbnb was created in 2007 and has since grown to over four million hosts who have welcomed over 1,5 billion guest arrivals globally.

In its 2022 annual report, Airbnb indicated that its future success depended on its ability to adapt to emerging technologies.

Those listed were tokenisation, cryptocurrencies, new authentication technologies, such as biometrics, distributed ledger and blockchain technologies, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and cloud technologies.

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