November 08, 2010
Meet the 2010 PopTech Fellows
November 8, 2010 in America The Free, Europe, New England, On Africa, On Being Green, On China, On East Africa, On Education, On Health, On Innovation, On Science, On South Africa, On Technology, On the Future, On Women, Social Media, United Kingdom, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 20, 2010
PopTech Kicks Off in Camden Maine (Listen Via Livestream)
This year's PopTech kicks off in Camden Maine, with more than 80 extraordinary speakers and performers participating this year.
PopTech explores the issues, trends and technologies that will shape the future of our businesses, economy, society and world.
Speakers include the likes of Annmarie Ahearn and Ladleah Dunn, Carol Bothwell, Niguel Waller, Tony Salvador, Oscar Schofield, Habib Dagher, Erika Wagner, Brandon Kessler, Phillipe Newlin, David de Rothschild, Graham Hill, Dan Ariely, Kevin Dunbar, Kim Cobb, Brian Hare, Kevin Starr, Ned Breslin, Ben Lyon, Sinan Aral, Reggie Watts, Ryan Smith, Mike Blum, Marcia McNutt, Brooke Betts Farrell, Carlo Ratti, Casey Dunn, and dozens of others.
The First U.S. Science Festival in DC This Week
New, the US Science Festival hopes to re-invigorate the interest of our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by producing and presenting the most compelling, exciting, educational and entertaining science gatherings in the United States.
They'll be offering multi-faceted programs with high entertainment value and integrity of scientific content and engaging the greatest minds in science.
- They are also working on building a strong foundation of prestigious and impressive institutional partners resulting in increased communication between the scientific and educational communities. The event is in Washington DC from October 10-24, 2010. There will be 850 booths and 75 stage shows.
October 05, 2010
From Pyramids to Spacecraft
The Architecture and Vision exhibition "From Pyramids to Spacecraft" will be featured from October 15, 2010 - January 13, 2011 at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The Science Center's exhibits focus on helping visitors to understand science, technology, and their interdependence with the environment. Arturo Vittori and Andreas Vogler will open the exhibition Friday, October 15, 2010.
October 01, 2010
Acumen Fellows Program Applications OpenThe Acumen Fellows Program is now accepting applications for 2011 and 2012.
The Acumen Fellowship is a one year program that immerses Fellows in world-class leadership training, field work with social enterprises on the front lines, and a community of change makers and thought leaders.
For 2011, they received over 550 applications from over 65 different countries for 10 positions. While each Fellow comes from a diverse background and brings a unique skill set to the Fellowship, below are some key indicators of a successful Fellow:
* Proven track record of leadership and management responsibilities
* Experience working in emerging markets
* Unrelenting perseverance, personal integrity, and critical thinking skills
* Strong passion and commitment
* 3-7 years of work experience
* Graduate degree preferred
Below is a synopsis of some of the fellows and what they have done and where.
October 1, 2010 in America The Free, Europe, Israel, On Africa, On Australia, On Being Green, On Education, On Health, On Innovation, On Science, On Technology, On the Future, Science, Videos, WBTW | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 19, 2010
Introducing the INK Conference in India
The INK Conference (which stands for Innovation and Knowledge) is coming to India later this year. The conference is being run by longtime TEDster Lakshmi Pratury, who co-hosted TEDIndia last year, which attracted a sold-out audience of 1,000 attendees from 46 different countries.
The event will be held at the Lavasa Retreat near Mumbai this coming December 10-12, 2010.
The theme is "Untold Stories," and confirmed speakers include scientific visualization pioneer Alexander Tsiaras, innovative science teacher Arvind Gupta, the world's youngest school headmaster Babar Ali, prolific author Deepak Chopra, and entertainment icon James Cameron.
Additionally, academic and author Jennifer Aaker of Stanford, Lego designer John-Henry Harris, technology mavens Joi Ito and Kevin Kelly, venture capitalist and philanthropist Kamran Elahian, visual communication expert Nancy Duarte, spoken-word artist Rives, surgeon Susan Lim and award-winning innovator Tom Wujec. INK is modeled on TED, and the talks will fit the familiar TED 18-minute format.
September 10, 2010
Sexy and Fun Zeno, The Most Life-Like Robot I've Ever Talked To
Below I'm talking to Zeno, a Hanson Robotics robot, the most human looking robot I've ever had the opportunity of interacting with, at least in this lifetime.
Zeno's skin is made from Frubber, which Hanson has a patent on - it's soft to the touch and feels like a cross between real skin and rubber. Made from a spongy, structured elastic polymer that expertly mimics the movement of real human musculature and skin using 1/20th the power of other materials, the robot can emulate over 62 facial and neck muscular architectures, has micro-cameras inside the eyes and has both facial and speech recognition built in.
Eye contact face-tracking, and conversational capabilities utilizing the latest AI software is incredibly advanced, so much so that if Zeno had legs and it wasn't so noisy in the room, you might be fooled into thinking you're having a real conversation with a human, albeit a very strange and mechanical one.
David Hanson is interested in human cognition - "if humans grow away from human, you get very strange results," says Hanson. "The same is true with robots." I also had a chance to chat with other AI researchers working on development at Hanson, including Matthew Stevenson and Kino Coursey.
Hanson robots include the world’s first expressive biped robot, Albert-Hubo, heralded by WIRED as “genius”, and the small Zeno robot, which is also previewed in this video. Sorry, but he's just not as much fun as the leg-less Zeno with the bandana. BTW, Zeno has accepted a date with me. My plan? A date with Zeno when he gets his legs, likely in Dallas, but we'll see what Zeno says when the time is here.
August 22, 2010
2010 Singularity Summit - A Meeting of the Minds
The 2010 Singularity Summit, held this past weekend in San Francisco, was, quite literally a meeting of the minds. Not just because the assembled group consisted of a fair number of the brainiest people on the planet, and not just because the general consensus was that a meshing of silicon hardware with our carbon wetware appears to be a future inevitability, but also because of the discussion about animal intelligence and how it is similar to yet different from our own.
Now that the event is a week in the past there have been a number of very interesting posts written on what happened there and what people think of it. I've taken the time to pull together a detailed listing of the event itself as well as the press the Summit received and I've organized it into the Pearltree below.
Some of the interesting content you'll find in the links below include:
- Steven Mann on H2Organ at Singularity Summit 2010
- Singularity Summit | Summit 2010 > A Sample of the Singularity Summit -Includes full videos to the 2009 Singularity Summit Talks
- Patrick Takahashi of Huffington Post on The Singularity Summit 2010 -
- ZDNet's CHris Jablonski on: Singularity Summit 2010: No place for human values in a 'posthuman' future?
- A collection of the links and tweets from the 2010 Singularity Summit: Accelerating Future » Singularity Summit 2010 Tweets and Links
- Additional Collected Press Coverage of the Summit: A Selection of Singularity Summit 2010 Coverage
- Mathilde Berchon covers the more physical aspects: Singularity Summit 2010- Human Health and Body Improvements Innovation Round-Up
- Summit Volunteer, Kevin Fischer provides his thoughts on the event before the fact.
- A comprehensive list of abstracts, bios and deep links on presenters.
August 16, 2010
Singularity Summit Promises to Stimulate Your BrainThe Singularity Summit, held in San Francisco this past weekend, is not new to me since I helped market the very first one, which was held at Stanford in 2006. The goal of the first Summit was to further the understanding and discussion about the Singularity concept and the future of human technological progress.
The idea over time is to improve people’s thinking about the future and increasing public awareness of radical technologies under development today and of the transformative implications of such technologies understood as part of a larger process.
It was founded as a venue for leading thinkers to explore the subject, whether that be as a scientist, enthusiast, or skeptic.
Speaking of skeptics, the last talk of the event was by James Randi, who some think of as a magician, but he is also known as a debunker.
I first learned of Randi's work at TED where he spoke several years ago. The title defunker equates to his strong and very vocal skepticism, which he writes and speaks about extensively. Fascinating as ever, Randi has the ability to draw you into his logic even if you don't necessarily agree with him.
Gregory Stock is a renown biophysicist who I had the pleasure of meeting at PopTech in Maine more than five years ago. What I love about Stock is his ability to move from academic, physicist and author to entrepreneur and philosopher all within a one hour window. He also has a very engaging curiosity about random things outside his world when you talk to him one-on-one that most experts lack. He wrote the book Redesigning Humans, which is considered a transhumanist classic, now eight years ago.
You can't have a Singularity Conference without a bunch of Artificial Intelligence (AI) geeks running around, which at this event, included Eliezer Yudkowsky (also a profilic writer about human rationality), Ben Goertzel, who is Chief Scientist of AI firm Novamente and Ray Kurzweil, who joined us remotely via video and as always, delivered a rivoting and mind-expanding talk.
My favorite line all day was a Kurzweil one: "My feelings about the brain, the mind and AI - If it quacks like a duck, it is a duck. If it seems conscious it is conscious" -- meaning a conscious being.
Below Ben Goertzel on the Singularity Summit Stage
Psychologists Irene Pepperberg and John Tooby (considered a pioneer of evolutionary psychology) also brought their perspective to the table as did neurobiologists Terrence Sejnowski, Brian Litt, Dennis Bray and Demis Hassabis, who is a research fellow at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at the University College of London.
"Futurists like to predict how genetic engineering and computational implants will allow humans to become a super-species, but few examine the application of similar technologies to nonhumans," says Pepperberg.
David Hanson, who I first met at TED more than six years ago, is a well known roboticist. When I first met him, he was working at Disney Imagineering and while you may not think of a roboticist as an artist, this one is. Formerly a sculptor, he has merged his artistic way of looking at the world with his left brain ability to design and develop a robot with human-like expressive capabilities. He holds a patent on Frubber, a novel material that imitates the look and feel of human skin. I had an opportunity to touch it while I was talking to their very human robot named Zeno. (a video of my experience coming later this month).
Below David Hanson and his very human-like robot Zeno, who has a sexy British accent and has accepted a date with me as soon as he is given 'legs' - I told David I'd fly to Dallas for the occasion.
Also on the agenda was Anita Goel, who works at the intersection of physics, nanotechnology and medicine, Lance Becker, a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Venezuelan born Jose Luis Cordeiro who is the Director of the Venezuela node of the Millenium Project. Jose, who I met at the cocktail party the night before the event, has been working in Asia. Prior to that however, he lived in Ecuador for a year around the time the currency changed over to the dollar.
Engaging and witty on stage, Steve Mann doesn't look like your ordinary professor. A pioneer in the study and practice of virtual reality, he has been dubbed the world's first cyborg. He even published a book with its name in the title: Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer. Together with collaborator Ryan Janzen, a Canadian researcher, scientist and composer, they demoed the very powerful and mesmorizing Hydraulophone, a tonal acoustic musical instrument played by direct physical contact with water where sound is generated or affected hydraulically.
Below Toronto-based Steve Mann is engaging, interactive and wows the audience with his examples of virtual reality and demo of the Hydraulophone on stage.
Other impressive talks from other disciplines included Shane Legg, who won the 2008 Canadian Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence Research Prize, Ellen Heber-Katz whose research focuses on molecular biology and genetics of healing, and Ramez Naam, who is the author of More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement.
Since I'm a right brain, I must admit that my favorite part of the day was playing the Hydraulophone, which I'm doing below with Ryan Janzen's guidance and interacting with Hanson's robot, the very endearing Zeno.
August 16, 2010 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Europe, Events, On Education, On Health, On Innovation, On People & Life, On Robotics, On Science, On Technology, On the Future | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
August 15, 2010
Ray Kurzweil on the Mind and the BrainRay Kurzweil answers a question from the audience remotely via video in real-time at this weekend's Singularity Summmit in San Francisco.