Deducing the Cognitive Basis of Attempting to Influence Others

presented by Bahador Bahrami

In the course of Donald Trump’s rise to pow­er, peo­ple have repeat­ed­ly been ask­ing, Why did he tweet that? What was he think­ing about?” Our fas­ci­na­tion with his men­tal states high­lights a very impor­tant ques­tion for us: What hap­pens in our minds and brains when we try to influ­ence oth­ers?

Analyzing the Limits of Rational Choice in Political and Cultural Conflict

presented by Scott Atran

With our team of pol­i­cy­mak­ers, aca­d­e­mics, for­mer mil­i­tary, of play­wrights, we explore why peo­ple refuse polit­i­cal com­pro­mise, go to war, attempt rev­o­lu­tion, or resort to ter­ror­ism, focus­ing on what Darwin called those virtues highly‐esteemed and even sacred,” that give immense advan­tage to any group with devot­ed actors inspired to sac­ri­fice for them.

Alternate Futures

presented by Tracy Fullerton

The unre­lent­ing pace of tech­nolo­gies is deeply iron­ic, giv­en the orig­i­nal intent of them to make our lives more effi­cient and give us more time. But we can all attest that the actu­al effect of this esca­la­tion of effi­cien­cy has been to increase the pace of work and play in our worlds.

The Conversation #67 — Aengus Anderson

presented by Aengus Anderson

The strange thing about writ­ing a head­stone is that you’re simul­ta­ne­ous­ly writ­ing a con­clu­sion, and an intro­duc­tion.

The Conversation #66 — Lisa Gray‐Garcia

presented by Aengus Anderson, Lisa Gray-Garcia, Neil Prendergast

As a per­son who’s been crim­i­nal­ized and arrest­ed for the sole act of being poor in the US, it’s prob­a­bly some­thing I’m always walk­ing with, speak­ing on, and try­ing to effec­tive­ly change just by…in some ways not so much rais­ing aware­ness, which seems very pas­sive to be, but more about spark­ing people’s under­stand­ing and change.

The Conversation #65 — Rebecca Solnit

presented by Aengus Anderson, Neil Prendergast, Rebecca Solnit

There’s a lot of beau­ti­ful things. And I think if there’s one thing I’m most deeply dis­qui­et about it’s…power. Why are we doing almost noth­ing about cli­mate change? It’s because despite the fact that most peo­ple on earth and many gov­ern­ment on Earth do, the oil cor­po­ra­tions and the gov­ern­ments most close­ly allied to the oil cor­po­ra­tions, notably ours, don’t want to do any­thing.

The Conversation #64 — Peter Gleick

presented by Aengus Anderson, Micah Saul, Neil Prendergast, Peter Gleick

We have even in the United States seri­ous and grow­ing water scarci­ty chal­lenges. We have con­t­a­m­i­na­tion prob­lems with chem­i­cals that we have not ade­quate­ly reg­u­lat­ed here in the United States. We have con­flicts between states in the United States about who gets to use what water to do what. We have evi­dence that cli­mate change is already influ­enc­ing water demand, affect­ing water avail­abil­i­ty, chang­ing extreme events. There are a whole suite of water‐related prob­lems, here, unre­lat­ed to these basic human need chal­lenges that’re press­ing in oth­er parts of the world.

The Conversation #63 — Kim Stanley Robinson

presented by Aengus Anderson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Micah Saul, Neil Prendergast

I vacillate…between think­ing that we’re doomed because we have giv­en our­selves over to a stu­pid sys­tem that’s now backed up by guns. And then a much more utopi­an view that we’ve always lived in stu­pid sys­tems and that we’re always mak­ing them bet­ter.

What Algorithms Taught Me About Forgiveness

presented by Julia Angwin

I decid­ed I want­ed to do some account­abil­i­ty stud­ies about algo­rithms in our lives. And it’s hard to study the news­feed in a quan­ti­ta­tive way, and I also want­ed some­thing with high­er stakes. So I start­ed with an algo­rithm that is used in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem to pre­dict whether a per­son is like­ly to com­mit a future crime.

We Need A New Image of Africa

presented by Wanuri Kahiu

To have the hunter tell it, Africa is full of meek sto­ries about des­per­a­tion and despair. So when artists like myself offer an alter­nate vision, often we’re asked to defend our imag­i­na­tion. Why do we feel we have the lux­u­ry to cre­ate? Shouldn’t we be deal­ing with more impor­tant issues like cor­rup­tion, or war, or AIDS, or pover­ty?

The Conversation #62 – Rebecca Costa

presented by Aengus Anderson, Neil Prendergast, Rebecca Costa

If you were to ask me what the cri­sis in the present is, as an evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gist I have to go back mil­lions of years and try to con­nect all the dots, going back to man as a single‐celled organ­ism to present time, and say­ing what is it that is caus­ing mod­ern con­ster­na­tion? More impor­tant­ly, is there a pat­tern? Has this hap­pened before? Were there some ordi­nary peo­ple like you and I, shop­keep­ers in Rome, who were stand­ing around and say­ing, You know, our lead­ers don’t seem to be on top of our prob­lems. They seem to be get­ting worse one gen­er­a­tion after anoth­er.”

The Conversation #61 – Rainey Reitman

presented by Aengus Anderson, Neil Prendergast, Rainey Reitman

As we’ve moved into increas­ing­ly dig­i­tal spaces, so online worlds, we’re mov­ing away from your tra­di­tion­al phys­i­cal spaces where you have pub­lic streets; where you have pub­lic squares; where peo­ple can go to protest, and into areas, if you would call them that, that are entire­ly con­trolled by cor­po­ra­tions.

The Conversation #60 – George Lakoff

presented by Aengus Anderson, George Lakoff, Neil Prendergast

Consciousness is lin­ear; goes, you know, one step after anoth­er. And the brain doesn’t work that way. The brain is par­al­lel and has lots and lots of par­al­lel tracks going on at once in thought and in char­ac­ter­iz­ing the sub­strate of what it is you under­stand and express. There’s no way you could pos­si­bly be con­scious of most of or even a small part of what you’re think­ing.

The Oppenheimer Moment

presented by Alan Cooper

Where did this evil stuff come from? Are we evil? I’m per­fect­ly will­ing to stip­u­late you are not evil. Neither is your boss evil. Nor is Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. And yet the results of our work, our best most altru­is­tic work, often turns evil when it’s deployed in the larg­er world. We go to work every day, gen­uine­ly expect­ing to make the world a bet­ter place with our pow­er­ful tech­nol­o­gy. But some­how, evil is sneak­ing in despite our good inten­tions.

The Conversation #59 – Charles Hugh Smith

presented by Aengus Anderson, Charles Hugh Smith, Micah Saul

We’re in an era of over­lap­ping crises, and I think that’s what makes it sort of unique. We’re aware of the finan­cial aspect, which is sort of expo­nen­tial increase in debt. We’re also aware that ener­gy, the cost is going up because we’re reach­ing to deep­er and more expen­sive reserves of ener­gy, at least fos­sil fuels. So that’s anoth­er if not cri­sis then um… Well, actu­al­ly it is a cri­sis, because the world we’ve con­struct­ed is based on cheap fos­sil fuels.

…And the Disability Revolution Will be Tweeted

presented by Robin Wilson-Beattie

I do dis­abil­i­ty and sex­u­al­i­ty edu­ca­tion. And activism and advo­ca­cy around sex­u­al­i­ty and dis­abil­i­ty issues, and repro­duc­tive health issues. And I want to teach the world that peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties have the right and abil­i­ty to give and receive plea­sure.

The Conversation #58 – Jason Kelly Johnson

presented by Aengus Anderson, Jason Kelly Johnson, Micah Saul

I think our work is much more inter­est­ed in ques­tion­ing the notion that archi­tec­ture is a sta­t­ic enti­ty. Part of our think­ing in terms of archi­tec­ture is how we make a build­ing breathe. How do we give a build­ing a kind of like, almost a ner­vous sys­tem.

The Conversation #57 — Joan Blades

presented by Aengus Anderson, Joan Blades, Micah Saul

What I’ve seen as a founder of MoveOn is that we’ve become increas­ing­ly polar­ized. And in fact we have got­ten to the point where we have separate…realities? when it comes to a whole raft of facts. And so how can we pos­si­bly make good deci­sions togeth­er when we don’t even share basic facts? You first have to have a rela­tion­ship, and you have to have shared val­ues.

Virtual Futures Salon: Beyond Bitcoin, with Vinay Gupta

presented by Luke Robert Mason, Vinay Gupta

Blockchain is in that space where we still have to explain it, because most of the peo­ple have gone from not hav­ing it around to hav­ing it around. But for kind of the folks that are your age or a lit­tle younger it’s kind of always been there, at which point it doesn’t real­ly need to be explained. It does how­ev­er need to be con­tex­tu­al­ized.

How an Algorithmic World Can Be Undermined

presented by danah boyd

All they have to do is write to jour­nal­ists and ask ques­tions. And what they do is they ask a jour­nal­ist a ques­tion and be like, What’s going on with this thing?” And jour­nal­ists, under pres­sure to find sto­ries to report, go look­ing around. They imme­di­ate­ly search some­thing in Google. And that becomes the tool of exploita­tion.

Parenting a Mind

presented by Jennifer Kumura

BJ Copeland states that a strong AI machine would be one, built in the form of a man; two, have the same sen­so­ry per­cep­tion as a human; and three, go through the same edu­ca­tion and learn­ing process­es as a human child. With these three attrib­ut­es, sim­i­lar to human devel­op­ment, the mind of the machine would be born as a child and will even­tu­al­ly mature as an adult.

Living in Information

presented by Jorge Arango

The fram­ing of what we design is very impor­tant to how we go about it. We have not been fram­ing these things as con­texts. We’ve been fram­ing them as prod­ucts, ser­vices, and a whole oth­er series of terms that are— Tools, for exam­ple. And these are things that are most­ly trans­ac­tion­al. They’re not things that are meant to be inhab­it­ed.

Virtual Futures Salon: Fucking Machines

presented by Dan O'Hara, Ian Pearson, Kate Devlin, Luke Robert Mason, Trudy Barber

We are here to talk about fuck­ing machines. In London, on a fog­gy evening, on a Tuesday, for yet anoth­er debate about fuck­ing machines. Another curat­ed dis­cus­sion under­lined by our own human inse­cu­ri­ty about ver­sions of us in sil­i­ca. Fucking anthro­po­mor­phic fuck­ing machines. Machines that fuck us. And let’s face it, machines are already fuck­ing us, or so we seem to be told.

The Conversation #56 — Aengus Anderson and Micah Saul at SXSW
A Sheep in Wolf's Clothes: The Myth of Disruption

presented by Aengus Anderson, Micah Saul

As the show advanced, we real­ized that there are a lot of peo­ple real­ly real­ly wor­ried about the future, and they’re wor­ried about big, big things. We’re talk­ing things like inequal­i­ty. We’re talk­ing things like over­con­sump­tion of resources and envi­ron­men­tal col­lapse. Social col­lapse. Community break­down. General feel­ings of pow­er­less­ness against mas­sive sys­tems. And this seems to be uni­ver­sal.

Design for Diplomacy: Breaking Down Cultural Divides

presented by James Keller, Marcelino J. Alvarez

We as design­ers have an abil­i­ty to pro­vide per­spec­tive, to bring focus, and to share the tools that we use on a dai­ly basis to align a group of dis­parate voic­es for a cause that is greater than our own.

Why Facts Don’t Unify Us

presented by Tali Sharot

Why do you spend pre­cious moments every day shar­ing infor­ma­tion? There’s prob­a­bly many rea­sons, but it appears that the oppor­tu­ni­ty to impart your knowl­edge onto oth­ers is inter­nal­ly reward­ing.

REACT to Close the Digital Gender Divide

presented by Nanjira Sambuli

I found that research glob­al­ly is point­ing out that women are 50% less like­ly to be con­nect­ed to the Internet. And not just that. Even when they’re con­nect­ed they’re 30 to 50% less like­ly to use it for per­son­al empow­er­ment. So much for Web For All, right?

Solving the Economic Generation Gap

presented by Christine Lagarde

I want­ed to start off this morn­ing using an American poet and nov­el­ist, Langston Hughes. And I quote him to have said, What hap­pens to a dream deferred?” It is a ques­tion now fac­ing mil­lions all over the world, espe­cial­ly young peo­ple. Why? Because of pover­ty. Because of exces­sive inequal­i­ty

Virtual Futures Salon: Dawn of the New Everything, with Jaron Lanier

presented by Jaron Lanier, Luke Robert Mason

So here’s what hap­pened. If you tell peo­ple you’re going to have this super‐open, absolute­ly non‐commercial, money‐free thing, but it has to sur­vive in this envi­ron­ment that’s based on mon­ey, where it has to make mon­ey, how does any­body square that cir­cle? How does any­body do any­thing? And so com­pa­nies like Google that came along, in my view were backed into a cor­ner. There was exact­ly one busi­ness plan avail­able to them, which was adver­tis­ing.

The Conversation #55 — Ed Finn

presented by Aengus Anderson, Ed Finn, Micah Saul

The Center, one of our core goals, our mis­sion state­ment, is to get peo­ple think­ing more cre­ative­ly and ambi­tious­ly about the future. What I mean when I talk about that is that we need to come up with bet­ter sto­ries about the future. If you want to build a bet­ter world you have to imag­ine that world first.

Invisible Images of Surveillance

presented by Trevor Paglen

One of the things I real­ly want out of art, what I see the job of the artist to be is to try to learn how to see the his­tor­i­cal moment that you find your­self liv­ing in. I mean that very sim­ply and I mean it very lit­er­al­ly. How do you see the world around you?

Christian Sandvig and Eszter Hargittai on Tools for Truth Empowerment

presented by Christian Sandvig, Eszter Hargittai

[Stefik’s] four ideas about the Internet is that we think about Internet, num­ber one as a library. And this was the 90s and we had this elec­tron­ic library, the dig­i­tal library. That doesn’t mean that we dig­i­tized libraries, it means that that’s the metaphor we used to think about the Internet, as a place that has infor­ma­tion that we can look up. His sec­ond was we think of it as the mail. Or you could say the tele­phone. And so that’s more about indi­vid­u­als and inter­per­son­al­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ing in some way. The third is that we think of it as a vir­tu­al world. And the fourth is that we think of it as a mar­ket­place.

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

presented by Safiya Noble

One of the things that I think is real­ly impor­tant is that we’re pay­ing atten­tion to how we might be able to recu­per­ate and recov­er from these kinds of prac­tices. So rather than think­ing of this as just a tem­po­rary kind of glitch, in fact I’m going to show you sev­er­al of these glitch­es and maybe we might see a pat­tern.

The Monkey Selfie” Case: Can Non‐Humans Hold Copyrights?

presented by Christopher Bavitz, John Kerr, Jonathan Lovvorn, Kendra Albert, Tiffany Li

Naruto, then 3 years old, came up and picked up one of his cam­eras and start­ed look­ing at it. And he made the con­nec­tion… By Mr. Slater’s own admis­sion he made the con­nec­tion between push­ing the shut­ter release but­ton and the change to his reflec­tion in the lens when the aper­ture opened and closed.

Gay Science

presented by Frank Lantz, Robert Yang

How do we make gay worlds in video games? Well, I can tell you how not to make a gay world. You should not rely on the AAA game indus­try to pity you and leave you some table scraps. I’m tired of being 0.1% of a world, right. Why isn’t Dragon Age 100% gay sex, right?

The Conversation #54 — Charles Bowden

presented by Aengus Anderson, Charles Bowden, Micah Saul

I don’t under­stand the fear. And that’s the biggest threat. And the rea­son it’s a threat is it makes your judg­ment bad. You nev­er make good deci­sions when you’re afraid. And it destroys your abil­i­ty to clear­ly look at the facts and do some­thing. You choke, in oth­er words.

Biohackers Die

presented by Jeffrey Tibbetts

So grinders are a com­mu­ni­ty com­mit­ted to rad­i­cal­ly alter­ing the body. And so some­times it’s treat­ments like tran­scra­nial mag­net­ic, or direct cur­rent stim­u­la­tion. It could be through the use of pre­vi­ous­ly untest­ed chem­i­cals like VIP. Often it takes the form of implant­ed devices. All these approach­es come with risks. What I’m going to focus on today is why despite all the risks being tak­en, a grinder hasn’t died yet.

Artificial Intelligence is Hard to See: Social & Ethical Impacts of AI

presented by Kate Crawford, Trevor Paglen

The big con­cerns that I have about arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence are real­ly not about the Singularity, which frankly com­put­er sci­en­tists say is…if it’s pos­si­ble at all it’s hun­dreds of years away. I’m actu­al­ly much more inter­est­ed in the effects that we are see­ing of AI now.

The Tyranny of Algorithms and the Use of Predictive Policing by Israel

presented by Marwa Fatafta

We have been doc­u­ment­ing and research­ing into human rights or dig­i­tal rights vio­la­tions that are tak­ing place in Palestine and Israel. And one of the most recent case stud­ies or work that we’re look­ing into is the use of pre­dic­tive polic­ing by Israel, which is rather a sen­si­tive issue giv­en that there isn’t a lot that we know about the sub­ject.

Big Data Bodies: Machines and Algorithms in the World

presented by Maya Indira Ganesh

I’m inter­est­ed in data and dis­crim­i­na­tion, in the things that have come to make us unique­ly who we are, how we look, where we are from, our per­son­al and demo­graph­ic iden­ti­ties, what lan­guages we speak. These things are effec­tive­ly incom­pre­hen­si­ble to machines. What is gen­er­al­ly cel­e­brat­ed as human diver­si­ty and expe­ri­ence is trans­formed by machine read­ing into some­thing absurd, some­thing that marks us as dif­fer­ent.

What Do We Do About the Haters?

presented by Jillian C York

A lot of the top­ics that we’re try­ing to tack­le” or try­ing to deal with on the Internet, we’re not actu­al­ly defin­ing ahead of time. And so what we’ve end­ed up with is a sys­tem where­by both com­pa­nies, and gov­ern­ments alike, are work­ing some­times sep­a­rate­ly, some­times togeth­er, to rid the Internet of these top­ics, of these dis­cus­sions, with­out actu­al­ly delv­ing into what they are.

The Internet of Agreements

presented by Vinay Gupta

I was look­ing for the tools that you could use to solve glob­al prob­lems in an envi­ron­ment when the nation‐state has turned out to be a very very inef­fec­tive set of machin­ery at all. So I’m going to talk a lit­tle bit about the tech­nol­o­gy. I’m going to talk a lit­tle bit about what it does and where it’s going. And then I’m going to try and tell a sto­ry about the kind of glob­al long‐term pic­ture that we could get if this stuff actu­al­ly works.