THE PROGRAM!


As always, we seek to explore who sets the agenda, what changes the playing field and how we all can shape society from now on.

We still have lots of more cool stuff to unveil but now you can take a peek at the first edition of the program below. It will be updated continuously as we reveal more speakers – so do check in once in a while!


Tuesday August 27, 2019

8:00 am - 9:30 am

Coffee and registration

A lighter breakfast, lots of coffee and time to say hi to new and old friends!

9:30 am - 10:40 am

The Pioneering Grandmothers of the Internet

Location: The Vortex

A journey through the untold stories of the web and the alternative futures that could have been.

The history of technology is one of men and machines – but female visionaries have always been at the vanguard of technology and innovation, they’ve just been erased from the story. Until now.

Claire L. Evans, musician, sci-fi editor, artist and author of Broadband will take us on a journey of the untold stories of the web. The stories of the ”tech mothers and grandmothers” and the alternative futures that could have been, many of which feels super contemporary today.

More info
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Say my name, say my name

Location: The Clouds

Voice technology and interface expectations.

With home assistants like Alexa and Google home rapidly becoming household products throughout the developed world, voice technology is the next frontier to master. Just like with VR, it’s been around for quite some time, but as adoption grows, the glitches become evident. As an interface, voice differs a lot from screens and poses new challenges for designers and developers everywhere.

With a decade of responsive screens we’re used to having our gadgets perform as expected. And patience... well let’s just say it’s not a super compatible trait when it comes to tech performance. What are the challenges and opportunities of voice? How do we make it more human and interactive? And what are the possibilities beyond voice assistants?

Speaking

Nicole He, programmer & artist

Nicole He is a programmer, artist, and game developer based in Brooklyn, New York who uses digital and physical mediums to explore the relationship between humans and computers with interactivity, playfulness, and humor.

Daniel Padgett, Conversation Design Lead, Google As Head of Conversation Design at Google, he leads a team focused on crafting conversational user experiences across a rapidly expanding hardware ecosystem that includes smart speakers, smart displays, mobile phones, and more.

Anthony Onumonu, Principal software engineer, BBC R&D Anthony is passionate about Voice and Conversational User Interfaces and new forms of content for VUI devices. At The Conference, he will talk about his journey designing and developing interactive experiences on smart speakers.

More info
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Look Back, Move Forward

Location: The Volcano

The unintended impacts of technology and solutions from the past.

Have we lost track of history? This session is by no means a conservative flirt. Rather, we want to explore what role history can (and do) play outside of the history books. Is the next solution always better than the previous one?

In this session, we’ll explore the unintended impacts of technology, alternative futures as well as solutions from the past that might be worth to revisit.

Speaking:

Zara Rahman, researcher and writer, The Engine Room

Zara will talk about pivotal moments that had knock-on effects on how we use technology in the world today. Could things be different if we had made other decisions in the past?

Kris De Decker, journalist & founder, Low tech magazine

Kris is all about low-tech solutions to high-tech problems. In his talk, he’ll revisit energy solutions from the past that could be worth considering today.

More info
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Lunch with New Friends (Tuesday)

Take the opportunity to get to know some new people while you're at The Conference.

Take the opportunity to get to know some new people while you're at The Conference. Register for this event and we'll hook you up with a bunch of terrific strangers over lunch.

Note that this event is only available for people attending The Conference. Limited seats, so don’t wait.

More info
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Lunch

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

God in the machine

Location: The Vortex

The religious origins of the singularity, the simulation hypothesis, and other technological theories.

Meghan O'Gieblyn is an essayist who writes about technology and religion for Harper's Magazine, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The New York Times, n+1, and elsewhere.

Before becoming a writer, she studied theology at Moody Bible Institute, where she was preparing to enter full-time ministry. At The Conference, she will share how she became enamored with transhumanism in the wake of losing her faith and discuss her research on the religious lineage of some of the most popular speculative technological theories, including the singularity, digital immortality, and the simulation hypothesis.

Meghan's essay collection, Interior States, won the 2018 Believer Book Award for nonfiction, and her essays have been featured in the The Best American Essays and the Pushcart Prize anthologies. She teaches courses at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently writing a book about the theological beliefs that undergird new and emerging technologies.

More info
2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

Out of Cash

Location: The Clouds

On the brink of a cashless society.

“Sorry, we don’t accept cash”. The Nordics are a handful of countries on a fast track to becoming cashless societies, well in advance compared to other countries. One study even predicts that cash will be more or less useless in Sweden only five years from now. How did we get here so fast, and what will a world without bills and coins look like? Dive into the future of payments as we take a closer look at programmable money, crypto vs. e-currencies, and hear the case for protecting good old cash.

Speaking:

Jonas Hedman, Professor, Copenhagen Business School

In his talk, Jonas will explain how cash is disappearing, and foresee a new type of money: one that is intelligent and can be programmed for specific uses.

Brett Scott, author and economic hacker

Brett explores the intersections between money systems, finance, digital technology and cities. He will talk about why it’s important for us to protect cash.

Jacopo Pompilii, Interaction designer, Frog

Jacopo is an interaction designer at frog, a global design and strategy firm. At The Conference he’ll share some design opportunities risen from the dawn of the cashless society.

More info
2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

Under measure – making sense of numbers

Location: The Volcano

The whys, hows and whats.

The world is obsessed with metrics. With numbers. With data. If one can’t measure it, then how is one supposed to know anything? To make sense of numbers we need to gain a better understanding of how to collect, how to decode, how to ask and what to look for. And possibly, why we do it.

In this session we’ll dive into the lands of global pollings and surveys to ask: who is the everyday person? We’ll learn about how to approach data and how to choose what to measure. AND! How can being communicative about your numbers empower both customers and co-workers?

More info
3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

Snack time!

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Discrete Automation

Location: The Vortex

Rethinking the basic building blocks of architecture.

Mollie Claypool is an architecture theorist and futurist focusing on the potential of automation and digital technologies to transform the way that the built environment is designed, fabricated and assembled, and developing frameworks for more inclusive, accessible and equitable production practices.

Her work proposes that the Discrete, an architectural approach that at its core is interested in rethinking the basic building blocks of architecture, is central to these frameworks.

Mollie is the Co-Director of Design Computation Lab at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL as well as Director of Automated Architecture (AUAR), a software and robotic technology and design consultancy interested in, as the name suggests, automating architecture.

More info

Wednesday August 28, 2019

8:30 am - 9:30 am

Coffee and croissants!

9:30 am - 10:45 am

AI, Creativity and... All That Jazz!

Location: The Vortex

How can we frame AI research to inspire, challenge and provoke human creative activity rather than replace it?

Mark d’Inverno is Professor of Computer Science at Goldsmiths, University of London, investigating the relationship between AI, technology and creativity.

Mark is also a critically acclaimed jazz pianist. In his academic research he combines both his creative practice and his scientific research investigates the future of human/machine collaboration. This is interdisciplinary research covering philosophy, psychology and AI first asking what is creative activity? And then asking how can we frame AI research to inspire, challenge and provoke human creative activity rather than replace it?

More info
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Playing with Biology

Location: The Clouds

A look at pioneering projects mixing technology and biological materials.

As we learned at last year’s The Conference, humans have been trying to design nature for ages. With ever more refined technologies such as CRISPR, what is possible expands super quick, to the point that we have to pinch ourselves to believe what we see.

This year we’ll take a look at pioneering projects mixing technology and biological materials. How about food teleportation or using your house plants as extra file storage? No, we’re not kidding you, the times ahead are just that weird and exciting!

Ryosuke Sakaki & Takashi Koyama, founder & partner, Open meals Ryosuke and Takashi are working on reproducing food from data to establish a digital open food network. On stage they’ll share their work on 3D printed food and “Sushi teleportation”.

Cyrus Clarke, Grow your own cloud Cyrus will showcase his project Grow your own cloud, a service that helps you store your data in the DNA of plants.

Petra Lilja, Co-founder, Non:agency

More info
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Hacking Democracy

Location: The Volcano

Can we hack and reinvent how a democracy works to restore trust and welfare in a post-industrial world?

All over the world, the idea of democracy is under threat. Standard democratic rights such as free press or women’s right to abortion are being undermined in several countries. The large majority of people in highly developed countries do not believe that the next generation will be more prosperous than the current one. Populations in democratic states feel increasingly left out and let down by society, with populist and extremist parties on the rise as a result. What is going on, and can we hack and reinvent how a democracy works to restore trust and welfare in a post-industrial world?

Speaking:

Maria Mahlo, (M.Soc.Sc.) expert in societal transformations, Demos Helsinki.

Many Scandinavian countries are based on the notion of universalism, but what does that mean today? Maria will talk about universalism in a new era, moving beyond concepts such as universal basic income and present an idea on how society can rethink how we distribute services and assets to create more equal societies.

Abie Philbin Bowman, Comedian & Broadcaster, RTE

Abie's quite an expert on the Irish voting system and will explain how Ranked Choice Voting works, how it creates more collaborative politics and how it could help resolve the identity crisis currently fracturing big-tent parties like the Democrats/Labour.

More info
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Lunch

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Lunch with New Friends (Wednesday)

Take the opportunity to get to know some new people while you're at The Conference.

Take the opportunity to get to know some new people while you're at The Conference. Register for this event and we'll hook you up with a bunch of terrific strangers over lunch.

Note that this event is only available for people attending The Conference. Limited seats, so don’t wait.

More info
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Deepfakes – not based on a true story

Location: The Clouds

We are on the verge of not being able to tell what is real anymore, so how do we protect the truth?

AI-assisted fake videos are getting eerily real. The term “deepfake” emerged only two years ago to describe how deep learning technologies applied to video create stunningly realistic images of situations that… never happened. We are on the verge of not being able to tell what is real anymore, so how do we protect the truth? And, more importantly, how will we be able to spot a computer-generated fake video or voice in a sea of information?

Let’s go deep into the land of fake – the fast tech advances on audiovisual forgery, problems that might arise from it, what has already happened, and what is being done to combat malicious deepfake material.

Speaking:

Sam Gregory is Program Director of WITNESS which supports anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to fight for human rights. He leads work around opportunities and threats including artificial intelligence, deepfakes and challenges to trust and evidence.

Giorgio Patrini is CEO and Chief Scientist at Deeptrace, an Amsterdam-based startup building deep learning technology for detecting and understanding fake videos.

Gabi Ivens, Open source investigator

Gabi works as a human rights researcher focusing largely on visual documentation of human rights abuses. She locates, analyses and preserves publicly available information to use in human rights investigations and researches the ethical and social implications, as well as the technical challenges, of this work.

More info
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Creating the New Social Web

Location: The Volcano

Ideas and infrastructures for diverse and sustainable communities.

The initial vision of the web was to create a decentralized infrastructure where people could connect and interact with each other around the world. Today, very few players control the majority of the web traffic, with business models that are incentivising us to spend more time on those platforms. As a response to the critique of the major platforms, a new battery of players are building social networks and platforms with a very different agenda: to create a digital infrastructure for diverse and sustainable communities.

SPEAKING

Charles Broskoski, Co-founder Are.na

Charles will explore how to build social tools that provide people agency to create rather than consume.

Lisa Ding, Senior Product Designer, Twitter

Lisa will share insights and considerations on how to design for a healthy public conversation in a digital universe. Drawing on her actual work and experiences at Twitter.

Darius Kazemi, Internet artist

Darius is best known for his army of small bots and web toys under the moniker Tiny Subversions, but lately he has taken a huge interest in the future of social networks and are working on both theoretical and practical projects to make them more human-scale and delightful. This is going to be the foundation of his talk at The Conference.

This session is curated, but not sponsored by, our friends from Co-matter.

More info
2:20 pm - 3:20 pm

Tomorrow's Story

Location: The Clouds

How to research it, how to tell it, how to fund it.

Today’s newsroom is in transformation. Older trusted models of storytelling and financing journalistic work are being challenged and replaced with new methods of finding stories, innovative storytelling formats and new ideas in funding. We look at three different ways of creating the news of tomorrow with small data, creative use of video and finding a business model beyond paywalls and traditional advertising.

Speaking:

Dr. Bahareh Heravi, Assistant Professor, University College Dublin

Dr. Bahareh Heravi is a Data and Computational Journalism researcher and innovator who shows how any newsroom can work with small data in research.

Natalie Remoe Hansen & Kristoffer Kumar, Video Journalists, Verdens Gang

The journalistic team from Verdens Gang takes us behind the scenes of the internationally recognized story “The Tinder Swindler”, using innovative mobile storytelling that went viral.

Amanda Michel, Global Contributions Director, The Guardian

While subscriptions and paywalls have been the preferred solution of many renowned news outlets, The Guardian has chosen the route of voluntary donations. Amanda will share the story of this decision and its quite interesting effects.

More info
2:20 pm - 3:20 pm

The Art of Maintenance

Location: The Volcano

In the strive for circular, maintenance is finally making a comeback.

Innovation is fun, cherished and vital. Maintenance, on the other hand, has for long been regarded as something on the other side of the spectrum. But in the current heyday of sustainability and circularity, maintenance is finally having a comeback. Zero waste! Repair movements! Systems thinking! When new infrastructures are adopted, what kinds of networks, organisations and enterprises spring up to take care of them?

What we create needs to be maintained – regardless of whether it's physical or digital. This goes for our cities, our products, our systems, ourselves.

Speaking:

Lara Houston, Researcher, Goldsmiths

Should repair become an action that consumers have a “right” to pursue? Lara will present her research on breakdown, maintenance and repair, and why it matters.

Paul Soulellis, artist, Library of the Printed Web

Who decides what information to maintain and preserve? Paul uses publishing as a form of resistance and will take us on a journey through discarded documents online as well as offline.

Xiaowei Wang, Creative Director, Logic magazine

Xiaowei focuses on the centrality of landscape and ecology in the digital world, building inquiry and community through public art, data visualization and writing. At The Conference, they will share their research on consumerism in China.

More info
3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

Snack time!

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

What's outside the universe?

Location: The Vortex

An exploration on the edges of knowledge.

Our universe is bizarre. Why is most of the cosmos composed of mysterious dark matter? Why is the Higgs boson so strange? Why do atoms exist? The hottest-and-latest in physics suggests that the biggest puzzles of science could be elegantly solved if our universe were one of a possibly infinite number of universes. But is this a testable scientific idea, or eternally speculative? How do we talk about what's outside our universe?

Join Dr. James Beacham of CERN's Large Hadron Collider as he explores the edges of knowledge – including CERN's plans for a colossal Future Circular Collider – and how the future of science, technology, and innovation will be much wilder than we can imagine.

More info
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

After Conference

Hugs, drinks and casual contemplation.