James is Senior Vice President at Google-Alphabet and a member of the senior leadership team. He focuses on technology and society on areas ranging from AI, computing infrastructure, to the future of work, the digital economy and sustainability that have potential for broad impact on society.
He is Senior Partner emeritus of McKinsey & Company, and is Chair and director emeritus of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). At Mckinsey, he advised the chief executives of many of the world’s leading technology companies on technology and strategy, and he led MGI ’s research on technology, the economy, competitiveness, and other global economy trends. Earlier in his career, James published a book in AI and robotics, Decentralized Data Fusion, (Ellis Horwood, 1993) and, more recently, No Ordinary Disruption (Public Affairs, 2015) on global economic trends, as well as numerous research reports and articles.
He was appointed by President Obama to serve as Vice Chair of the Global Development Council at the White House, and by previous Commerce Secretaries to the Digital Economy Board and the National Innovation Board. He is Vice Chair of the National AI Advisory Committee which advises the President on AI. He serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He has also served on national and international commissions related to technology and the economy, including recently co-chairing CFR's taskforce on US innovation strategy and national security.
He is a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on Responsible Computing. He serves on the boards of research institutes at MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, and Toronto. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Distinguished Fellow of Stanford’s AI Institute, a Distinguished Fellow in Ethics & AI at Oxford, a visiting fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and a fellow of DeepMind.
A Rhodes Scholar, James received a DPhil, MSc and MA from Oxford in AI, robotics and computation, and a BSc in electrical engineering from the University of Zimbabwe. He was awarded a junior research fellowship at Balliol, Oxford, and was a member of the Programming Research Group and the Robotics Research Lab. He is a trustee of the philanthropic foundations Hewlett, MacArthur, Markle foundations, as well as of the Aspen Institute.