Amazingly talented humans from all over the world, from different spheres and of different opinions, will share their intriguing projects and mindblowing theories to help you navigate the complexity of now and beyond. Practically speaking, expect anything from brain scientists to economists to artists to chefs. 2018 (and 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013), 50 % were men.
THE 24 OUT OF 40 BRILLIANT SOULS ANNOUNCED SO FAR
Abie Philbin Bowman (IRL)RTE
Abie Philbin Bowman
Comedian & Broadcaster, RTE (IRL)
Abie Philbin Bowman is an Irish comedian, broadcaster and podcast host. He talks a lot. He works for Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE and he also hosts Humans of Politics – a podcast about the emotional and personal impact of being a politician.
Abie’s also quite the expert on voting systems (Ireland’s in particular). At The Conference he 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.
His comedy shows include Eco-Friendly Jihad (how to save the planet, by joining Al Qaeda) and Jesus: The Guantanamo Years (Jesus would never get through US immigration).
Alina Bliumis (US)Artist
Alina Bliumis is New York-based artist who was born in Minsk, Belarus. In her work she plays with statistics and conventions. At The Conference she will draw from one of her latest works, Most Of Us Are, which is a series that studies the human species based on statistics of the “most typical” person worldwide, resulting in what could be considered a portrait of a global citizen.
Alina’s work has been exhibited wide and far in places like MoCa and the Saatchi Gallery (New York), Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Musée National de l’Histoire de l’Immigration (Paris) and Moscow Museum of Modern Art. She received her BFA from the school of Visual Art in 1999 and a diploma from the advanced course in Visual Arts at Fondazione Antonio Ratti in Italy 2005.
Amanda Michel (UK)The Guardian
Global Contributions Director, The Guardian (UK)
Amanda Michel is The Guardian’s global contributions director and product lead and has also worked on The Guardian’s membership and reader revenues teams. 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.
Amanda is also co-founder and organizer of Spark Camp, a next generation convener profiled by Fast Company. She’s been featured in the 20% Doctrine: How Tinkering, Goofing Off, and Breaking the Rules at Work Drive Success in Business and cited in The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath.
Anna Åhnberg (SWE)Oatly
Sustainability Specialist, Oatly (SWE)
Anna is a sustainability specialist making sure everyone at Oatly has the knowledge and inspiration to walk the walk and talk the talk sustainability-wise.
At The Conference, she will share insights from Oatly's efforts and challenges in measuring the climate impact of their products – and how being communicative about it, externally as well as internally, has become a driving force of change.
Before joining the Oatly cult in 2017 she coordinated the sustainability work at one of Sweden’s biggest food retailers. She has a broad experience in working with sustainable behavioral changes as well as sustainability communication. Nothing makes Anna more scared and proud than Oatly’s fearless communication regarding the challenges that the food industry face and how to tackle them.
Audrey Watters (US)Hack Education
Writer, Hack Education (US)
Audrey Watters is a writer and independent scholar who focuses on education technology, both in regards to its politics and its pedagogical implications. The EdTech industry predates the computer by several decades and although technology is getting more refined, the solutions echoes to this day.
Audrey has written for The Baffler, The Atlantic, Vice, Inside Higher Ed and elsewhere across the web. She is best known for her Hack Education website where she has been tracking the development of EdTech since 2010. She is the author of several books, including The Monsters of Education Technology series and is currently working on her next book, Teaching Machines, which will be published by MIT Press. Audrey was a recipient of the Spencer Education Journalism Fellowship at Columbia University for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Brett Scott (UK)Author & Economic Hacker
Author & Economic Hacker (UK)
Brett Scott is an author, journalist and economic hacker who explores the intersections between money systems, finance, digital technology and cities. At The Conference he will talk about why it’s important for us to protect cash.
He is the author of The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money (2013), and collaborates with a wide range of groups on diverse topics, including banking systems, alternative currencies, financial activism, digital finance, blockchain technology, hacker culture, technology politics and the dynamics of the cashless society.
Brett has written for publications like The Guardian, New Scientist, Huffington Post, Aeon, Wired Magazine and CNN.com and have appeared on a wide range of TV shows and documentaries including BBC World News.
Claire L. Evans (US)Broadband
Claire L. Evans
Writer & musician, Broadband (US)
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.
Claire is also the lead singer of the pop-duo YACHT, the founding editor of Terraform, VICE’s science fiction vertical and has written for The Guardian, WIRED, Aeon and Rhizome. And! She is a member of the cyberfeminist collective Deep Lab.
Dr Bahareh Heravi (IRL)University College Dublin
Dr Bahareh Heravi
Assistant professor, University College Dublin (IRL)
Dr Bahareh Heravi is a Data and Computational Journalism researcher, trainer, practitioner and innovator who will share how news rooms of all sizes can work with data to construct stories, and that not only being big data but small data sets.
Bahareh is an Assistant Professor in Data Journalism at the School of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin (UCD), where she leads UCD’s Data Journalism programme. She is also a board member of the Government of Ireland's Open Data Governance Board, and the founding co-chair of the European Data & Computational Journalism Conference. She is the editor of the UCD's Data Journalism publication, and the former Lead Data Scientist and Data Journalist at The Irish Times.
Bahareh is named one of 22 high-flying scientists making the world a better place in 2019, and one of top 100 Sci-Tech individuals in Ireland in 2019.
Dr. James Beacham (CH)CERN
Dr. James Beacham
Particle Physicist, CERN (CH)
Dr. James Beacham is a particle physicist searching for answers to the biggest open questions of physics using the largest experiment ever, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. He hunts for dark matter, gravitons, quantum black holes and dark photons as a member of the ATLAS collaboration, one of the teams that discovered the Higgs boson in 2012.
Beacham trained as a filmmaker before becoming a physicist and regularly collaborates with artists. In 2015 he launched Ex/Noise/CERN, a project exploring the connections between particle physics and experimental music and film.
He contributes to podcasts, radio shows and documentaries, and has been featured in The New York Times, Wired and Gizmodo, among others. He is a also a frequent speaker at popular sci/tech/art events around the world and his talk, “How we explore unanswered questions in physics”, was featured on TED.com and has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.
Gabi Ivens (GER)Open Source Investigator
Open Source Investigator (GER)
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.
Gabi is a former Ford-Mozilla Fellow hosted at WITNESS where she researched the upcoming challenges concerning authenticity of images, videos and audio recordings. Previously, Gabi led the investigative portal Exposing the Invisible, at the NGO Tactical Technology Collective. She is currently working on a cookbook compiled from recipes found within company and government email leaks to be published in January 2020.
Giorgio Patrini (NL)Deeptrace
CEO & Chief Scientist, Deeptrace (NL)
Giorgio Patrini is CEO and Chief Scientist at Deeptrace, an Amsterdam-based startup building deep learning technology for detecting and understanding fake videos. An anti-virus system for deep fakes, kind of. Video manipulation is getting more refined and whilst a fake Obama speech might be fairly easy to unravel, the danger lies in the subtleties and details.
Previously, Giorgio was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam, working on deep generative models; and earlier at CSIRO Data61 in Sydney, Australia, building privacy-preserving distributed learning systems with homomorphic encryption. He obtained his PhD in Computer Science at the Australian National University, with a thesis on weakly supervised learning, touching on topics of learning theory, privacy and deep learning; an excerpt of the thesis was awarded an oral presentation at CVPR 2017. In 2012 he cofounded Waynaut, an Internet startup acquired by lastminute.com group in 2017.
Jonas Hedman (DK)Copenhagen Business School
Professor, Copenhagen Business School (DK)
Jonas Hedman is Professor at the Department of Digitalization at Copenhagen Business School. His research interest concerns the digital transformation in the finance sector and includes topics such as cashless society, fintech revolution, payment ecosystems, payment innovations, open API and central bank digital currency.
Money – such as coins, banknotes and account money – are global, general purpose mediums of exchange with an unrestricted usage. In the future, however, experts like Jonas foresee a new type money: one that is intelligent or smart, money that we can program for specific uses. In essence, “smart money” is a value exchange instrument that is based on computer protocols which can facilitate, verify or enforce present conditions for its appropriation as a means of payment.
Kris De Decker (ESP)Low Tech Magazine
Kris De Decker
Journalist/Founder, Low Tech Magazine (ESP)
Kris De Decker is the author and founder of Low Tech Magazine, an online magazine that refuses to take for granted that every problem has a high-tech solution. We tend to think about the old industries as dirty, but the the digital industry consumes enormous amounts of energy too. In cooperation with Marie Otsuka and Roel Roscam Abbing, Kris has created a solar-powered, self-hosted version of Low Tech Magazine, designed to radically reduce the energy use associated with accessing the content.
Kris is also the author of No Tech Magazine and a writer for the DEMAND Centre at Lancaster University (UK), which researches energy demand as an outcome of social practices. He is the co-creator of the Human Power Plant, an artistic project that investigates the possibilities human energy production in a modern society.
Lara Houston (UK)City, University of London
Researcher, City, University of London (UK)
Lara Houston is a researcher who focuses on computation and issues of environmental concern. At The Conference she will present her research on the breakdown, maintenance and repair of commodity technologies and information infrastructures, asking: when new infrastructures are adopted, what kinds of networks, organisations and enterprises spring up to take care of them?
Lara’s research has explored this question in two ways: through ethnographies of repair practice, and explorations of repair policymaking. E.g. should repair become a protected form of action, that consumers and independent technicians should have a “right” to pursue?
Lara has co-edited the R3PAIRVOLUME, an experimental special issue of Continent. on the topic of maintenance repair, and she has also written articles for academic publications in the social sciences and computing including Science Technology and Human Values, and CHI. She has held research positions at Goldsmiths, University of London (Citizen Sense) and at Cornell University, USA.
Maria Malho (FI)Demos Helsinki
Expert in Societal Transformations, Demos Helsinki (FI)
Maria Malho (M.Soc.Sc.) is an expert in societal transformations. She works at the leading Nordic think tank Demos Helsinki, who’s mission is to reconfigure society in the post-industrial era.
She is specialized in future studies. At The Conference, she will share her thoughts on universalism and fairness for the next era.
The next generation in the developed world is expected to be less prosperous than the current one and the institutional structures of the industrial society are becoming increasingly incapable of engendering a spirit of progress and/or a sense of fairness. In the wake of this, new means of social security like Universal Basic Income have been widely debated during the last couple of years. Finland just ended their 2 year UBI experiment, with a mixed result. Demos Helsinki is exploring new forms of social security for the post-industrial era, challenging the notion of universalism as redistribution only. How can we establish fair and enabling structures for the next era?
Maria is also a lecturer on Futures Studies in Aalto University and Helsinki Summer University, as well as a contributor to the independent online journal The Ulkopolitist, where she addresses issues of international politics and Finnish foreign and security policy. She’s previously worked with defence affairs for the Finnish Defence Forces in London, in the banking sector and in global supply chain management.
Mark d'Inverno (UK)Goldsmiths, University of London
Professor & musician, Goldsmiths, University of London (UK)
Mark d’Inverno is professor of computer science at Goldsmiths, University of London, investigating in the relationship between AI, technology and Creativity.
He is also a critically acclaimed jazz pianist and in his academic research, 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?
Mark holds an MA in Mathematics and an MSc in Computation from the University of Oxford, and a PhD from University College London: “Agents, Agency and Autonomy”. He has led several research projects at the intersection of computer science and artificial intelligence with creativity, design, music, culture and learning and has published extensively. Musically, he’s enjoyed impressive reviews by press like The Guardian, The Observer and BBC Radio who calls him ”a wonderful performer who plays with great wit and practice” and was awarded ”album of the month” for the album ”Joy” by the Mark d’Inverno Trio.
Monika Seyfried & Cyrus Clarke (DK)Grow your own cloud
Monika Seyfried & Cyrus Clarke
Researcher & speculative designer, Grow your own cloud (DK)
Monika, researcher at CIID, and Cyrus, speculative designer and technologist, will showcase their joint project ”Grow your own cloud”, a service that helps you store your data nature’s way – in the DNA of plants (!!!).
Monika is a Researcher at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design with a background in art, photography and filmmaking. Her passion is to build immersive experiences, mixed reality worlds that blend the digital and physical, working with a speculative mindset and experimenting with design approaches. Monika’s current research topics are The Future of Nuclear Fusion Energy, Ethics in Creating IoT, Critical Heritages in Europe and Plant-based Data Storage. Her work has been exhibited in several cities across the globe.
Cyrus is a speculative designer and technologist who can usually be found exploring futures, through fictional evocations and material epistemological critique. His practice focuses on creating experiences to initiate discussion on the ethical, environmental, political and socio-economic implications of the technology filled worlds we are rushing to create, and allow citizens to step into near-future scenarios blending art, science and technologies such as machine learning, blockchain, mixed reality and biotechnology. His work has been recognized and exhibited internationally, including solo shows in the United States and Denmark.
Natalie Remøe Hansen & Kristoffer Kumar (NOR)Verdens gang
Natalie Remøe Hansen & Kristoffer Kumar
Video journalists, Verdens gang (NOR)
Natalie and Kumar are both video journalists at VGTV, a Norwegian TV-channel connected to the Verdens gang news outlet. At The Conference they will showcase their work behind ”The Tinder Swindler” story that has gained a lot of attention wide and far for it’s format as well as content.
Natalie spends most of her time with their investigating team and is on of the journalists behind the award winning story ”The Downloaders”. Kristoffer is currently working on developing new documentaries and entertainment concepts, and is previously awarded for his documentary work.
Nicole He (US)Programmer & Artist
Programmer & Artist (US)
Nicole He is a programmer, artist and game developer based in Brooklyn, New York. She uses digital and physical mediums to explore the relationship between humans and computers with interactivity, playfulness and humor. At The Conference, she will talk about her recent work with unusual uses of voice technology.
Nicole is also an adjunct faculty member at ITP at NYU, where she received her Master's degree. Previously, she worked at Google Creative Lab and Kickstarter. She is currently working on a new, sci-fi voice-controlled game with the National Film Board of Canada.
Paul Soulellis (US)Library of the Printed Web
Artist, Library of the Printed Web (US)
Paul Soulellis is an artist and educator based in Providence, RI. His practice includes teaching, writing and experimental publishing, with a focus on queer methodologies and network culture.
Paul poses important questions about history and erasure and has long been using publishing as a form of resistance. Innovation and creation is about power, but so is the act of deciding what to maintain and preserve, not least in the digital world. What is signal and what is noise?
In late 2018, Paul launched QUEER.ARCHIVE.WORK, an urgent act of publishing that’s radical, messy, and future-looking. The first issue featured contributions from 14 artists and writers, including Allison Parrish, Nora N. Khan, American Artist and Unity Press. Paul is also the founder of Library of the Printed Web, now housed at MoMA Library. The collection is a physical archive devoted to web-to-print artists’ books, zines and other printout matter and has evolved to become an important resource for the study of experimental publishing in the early 21st century.
Paul is faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design, and a contributing editor at Rhizome, where he curates The Download.
Ryosuke Sakaki & Takashi Koyama (JP)Open Meals
Ryosuke Sakaki & Takashi Koyama
Founder & Partner, Open Meals (JP)
Ryosuke (founder) and Takashi (partner) both have backgrounds as Creative Directors working with big clients such as Coca-Cola, Honda and Softbank in Japan. With the rise of 3D printing, Ryosuke started thinking of the possibilities of producing food with it. In 2014 he founded a project called Open Meals.
The project is a collaboration between 3D/health tech startups, university professors and creatives in which they explore the future of food and the possibility of ”teleporting” food, reproducing food from data and and establishing a digital open food network. They also have a collaboration going with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
At SXSW, Open Meals showcased their prototype of ”sushi teleportation” which became a huge success. They also plan to open a pop-up restaurant called Sushi Singularity Tokyo next year, where the customers will be able to enjoy a whole new food experience based on their own nutrition needs.
Sam Gregory (US)WITNESS
Program Director, WITNESS (US)
Sam Gregory is an award-winning technologist and advocate who is currently the Program Director of WITNESS, an organization which supports anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to fight for human rights.
Sam leads work around emerging opportunities and threats like artificial intelligence, proactive approaches to malicious ‘deepfakes', innovation in eyewitness video, and challenges to trust and evidence. He also supervises WITNESS’ Tech Advocacy work, which advocates to technology companies on how products protect human rights and develops tools such as ProofMode for better authentication of contentious video.
Sam has spoken at Davos and the White House, and was the Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (WEF) between 2012-2017. He is co-chair of the Partnership on AI’s working group on social and societal influence, and a member of the Technology Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court and the WEF Global Future Council on Human Rights. From 2010-2018, he taught the first graduate level course at Harvard on harnessing the power of new visual and participatory technologies for human rights change. He is a graduate of Oxford University and was a Kennedy Memorial Scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Xiaowei Wang (US)Logic Magazine
Creative Director, Logic Magazine (US)
Xiaowei Wang is a designer, engineer and researcher who 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, she will share her research on consumerism in China.
Xiaowei Wang have co-founded a number of award-winning design projects including FLOAT Beijing, an air quality sensing kite initiative that was an INDEX Design to Improve Life Finalist. Her current research focus is technology use in rural China, Sinofuturism and the intersection between food systems and technology.
Other work includes data visualization for the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism while at Situ Research, and creating the Nomadic Mapping Collective as a selected artist for the U.S. Department of State/ZERO1's American Arts Incubator program. Currently, she serves as Creative Director of Logic Magazine and co-runs the Tech + Ecology Writer's Workshop at b4bel4b gallery, Oakland.
Zara Rahman (GER)The Engine Room
Researcher & writer, The Engine Room (GER)
Zara Rahman is a Berlin-based researcher and writer who is interested in the intersection of power, technology and social justice. Her work has focused on supporting the responsible use of data and technology in activism, and explores the unintended impacts of technology.
She is a Visiting Fellow with digitalHKS at the Harvard Kennedy School, and has previously been a fellow at the Data & Society Research Institute in New York City. She has written about identity and technology for outlets such as the Daily Dot, Deep Dives, and Real Life.
She is the Director of Programs at The Engine Room, an international non-profit organisation supporting civil society to use technology and data to increase their impact. She is also a regular contributor to Global Voices, where she writes about technology and digital rights in Bangladesh. Previously, she worked for School of Data, building data literacy among civil society and journalists; for OpenOil, an organisation using publicly available data to push for better governance of natural resources, and for Access Info Europe.