Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
THE EMPIRES OF THE FUTURE
ARE THE EMPIRES OF THE MIND
― WINSTON CHURCHILL
Smithsonian magazine welcomes you to the 2nd annual “The Future Is Here” Festival. The name of our festival comes from a quote from the great science fiction author William Gibson, “The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.” We’re here to help distribute it a little more evenly. Fittingly, this year’s theme is Science Meets Science Fiction, and we’re celebrating the connections between those two powerful fields: Imagination, Inspiration and Invention.
During this multi-day event at the Smithsonian museums and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, we are bringing together world-renowned experts, authors and visionaries in the fields of science, science fiction and technology, fueling the possibilities of the future with the power of imagination.
Set your phasers on stun. Teleportation will begin shortly.
We would like to thank our presenting sponsor, UL.
We would also like to thank our great collaborators: Nerd Nite, The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, Smithsonian Grand Challenges Consortia and the Smithsonian Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.
And our partners The Challenge Festival and iStrategyLabs.
SATURDAY, MAY 17 2014 | 9am–5pm |AMPHITHEATER
9:00AM | WELCOMING REMARKS: MICHAEL CARUSO Smithsonian Magazine Editor-In-Chief
FUTURE OF HUMANS Presented by UL
9:10AM: From Hal to Siri to Us: Voices of the Future
JOSHUA A. BELL
Smithsonian Anthropologist and Curator of Globalization | Combining ethnographic fieldwork with research in museums and archives, Joshua A. Bell examines the shifting local and global network of relationships between persons, artifacts and the environment. These interests have involved him in long-term fieldwork with communities in the Purari Delta of Papua New Guinea and a collaborative project investigating the intimate and global relations materialized in cell phones.
9:25AM: Is Human Evolution Over?
Smithsonian Human Evolution Expert | Briana Pobiner’s research centers on the evolution of human diets (especially meat-eating) in Africa and Asia, but has included topics as diverse as cannibalism in the Cook Islands and chimpanzee carnivory. Her favorite moments include watching lions eat a zebra carcass on the equator and discovering fossils last butchered and eaten by one of her 1.5 million year old ancestors.
9:40AM: The Future of Community: Embracing Change
Actor, Social Justice Activist, Social Media Mega-Power, Author of Lions and Tigers and Bears: The Internet Strikes Back and Oh Myyy! There Goes the Internet and Star of Upcoming Broadway Musical Allegiance and the Subject of “To Be Takei,” a documentary on his life and career to be released this summer | Known around the world for his founding role as Hikaru Sulu in the acclaimed television series “Star Trek,” he is currently the #1 most-influential person on Facebook, according to Mashable.com with more than 6.4 million “likes” and he has more than one million followers on Twitter. He will soon star in the upcoming Broadway musical “Allegiance.”
9:55AM: The New Horizons Message: One Earth
Design Director for NASA’s Voyager Record and Carl Sagan’s Principal Artistic Collaborator in COSMOS, CONTACT, etc | Jon Lomberg is an artist expert in the design of “deep time” messages including NASA’s Mars rover sundials, 10,000 year nuclear waste warning markers, and the Galaxy Garden in Kona, Hawaii.
ALBERT YU-MIN LIN
National Geographic Explorer and Crowdsourcing Research Scientist | Albert Lin is a National Geographic Explorer and a Research Scientist at UC San Diego’s Calit2. He is an expert in merging remote exploration with crowdsourced citizen science and emergent collective reasoning.
10:15AM – 10:45AM | BREAK
FUTURE OF OUR PLANET Presented by UL
10:45AM: My Four Apocolypses
Sant Director of Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History | Paleobotanist Kirk Johnson has studied the effects of the dinosaur-killing asteroid and led expeditions that resulted in the discovery of more than 1,400 fossil sites on all continents. His work has been featured in NOVA documentaries, including “Ice Age Death Trap” and the upcoming “Making of North America”. Most recently, Johnson has overseen the acquisition of the Nation’s T. rex, a 66 million-year-old skeleton that will be the centerpiece of the Smithsonian’s new dinosaur hall that will open in 2019.
11:00AM: Are You Ready for Your Own Drone?
DIY Drone Master Instructor | Christopher Vo is a roboticist at George Mason University and drone technology educator who develops motion planning algorithms for autonomous swarms of drones to fly safely, quickly, and robustly. As the Director of Education for the DC Area Drone User Group, he has taught hundreds of everyday users how to build and fly a drone of their own.
11:15AM: Enabling Ability: The Future of Human-Machine Interaction
Future Cyborg and Current Recreational Tree Climber | Corinna Lathan is an entrepreneur, engineer, and activist for STEM education. As co-founder and CEO of AnthroTronix, she works at the intersection of robotics, sensors, and mobile computing platforms. Lathan has been recognized in MIT Technology Review’s “Top 100 World Innovators” and was named a Technology Pioneer and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
11:30AM: Project Loon
Rapid Evaluation Team Lead, Google[x] | Rich DeVaul is the leader of the Google [x] Rapid Evaluation Team and Design Kitchen, two small groups inside Google [x] who prototype, build, and test ideas, searching for the “Next Big Thing” for Google. He is co-founder and first project leader of Project Loon, a Google[x] project to explore delivering balloon-powered internet to the 2 out of 3 people in the world who don’t currently have access.
11:45AM: Genetic Rescue for Endangered and Extinct Wildlife
Creator of the Whole Earth Catalog, President of The Long Now Foundation, and Co-Founder of Revive & Restore | Stewart Brand is co-founder of Revive & Restore, of The Long Now Foundation, of The WELL, of Global Business Network, and founder/editor of the Whole Earth Catalog. His books include Whole Earth Discipline, The Clock of the Long Now, How Buildings Learn, and The Media Lab. He was trained as a biologist at Stanford and served as an Infantry officer in the US Army.
12:00PM: Women in Science: Mythbusters’ KARI BYRON & Outrageous Acts of Science’s Debbie Berebichez
12:15PM – 1:30PM | LUNCH
FUTURE OF LIFE BEYOND EARTH
1:40PM: Find Where the Wind Goes
First African American Woman in Space/Founder and President of Two Medical Technology Companies | Dr. Mae C. Jemison is currently leading 100 Year Starship (100YSS) an initiative seed funded by DOD’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to assure the capability for human interstellar space travel to another star is possible within the next 100 years.
1:55PM: Leaving Earth: A Deep Future or Science Fiction? How to Build a Perfect Colony Ship in Three Easy Steps
NASA’s “Rock and Roll Engineer” | Adam Steltzner is an Engineering Fellow at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is leading the development of the Sampling System for the Mars2020 project. He recently led the team that developed the Curiosity Rover’s landing system. Adam joined the JPL in 1991 and has worked on various projects including Galileo, Cassini, Mars Pathfinder, Champollion, and Comet Nucleus Sample Return, Mars Exploration Rovers and the Mars Science Laboratory.
2:10PM: Humanity in the Solar System
KIM STANLEY ROBINSON
American Science Fiction Writer | Kim Stanley Robinson’s seventeen novels and six story collections have been translated into 24 languages. Collectively, his Mars trilogy has won all the major science fiction and fantasy awards. His recent novel 2312 is a New York Times best-seller, and winner of the Nebula Award for best novel; it confirms Time magazine’s celebration of Robinson as a “Hero of the Environment”.
2:25PM: The Search for Earth 2.0
Exoplanet Expert, 2013 MacArthur Fellow, and Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at MIT | Sara Seager’s groundbreaking research ranges from the detection of exoplanet atmospheres to innovative theories about life on other worlds to development of novel space mission concepts. Dubbed an “astronomical Indiana Jones”, she is on a quest to discover a true Earth twin. A professor at MIT, she was named in Time Magazine’s “25 Most Influential in Space.”
2:35PM – 3:00PM | BREAK
FUTURE OF DEEP SPACE
3:05PM: Otherness: Will We Meet Beings with Different Minds than Ours? Will We Make Them? Or Become Them?
Scientist and Futurist: Bestselling Author of Earth and The Postman | David Brin is an astrophysicist whose international best-selling novels include The Postman, Earth, and recently Existence. His nonfiction book about the information age - The Transparent Society - won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association.
3:20PM: Are We Alone? The Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations with Help from Eight Million Volunteers
SETI@home Chief Scientist and Berkeley SETI Research Center Director | Dan Werthimer is SETI@home Chief Scientist and director of the SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Werthimer also directs the Center for Astronomy Signal Processing and is associate director of the Berkeley Wireless Research Center. Werthimer was in the Homebrew Computer Club with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Everyone in the Homebrew club became filthy rich except Dan.
3:35PM: Dancing with Black Holes
Smithsonian Astrophysicist and Black Hole Hunter | Daniel Evans is a black hole hunter and astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. He has made pioneering observations of supermassive black holes using NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory, and led the team that discovered the famous “Death Star Galaxy.” He currently serves as one of the youngest Program Directors at the National Science Foundation, and is responsible for funding the next great astrophysical discoveries.
3:50PM: Science Meets Science Fiction: A Conversation Between Brian Greene and David Brin
BRIAN GREENE & DAVID BRIN
Cosmologist, Superstring and Multiverse Theorist, and Best-Selling Author | Brian Greene is a professor at Columbia University, and is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory. His books, The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos and The Hidden Reality, have collectively spent 65 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and were the basis of two award-winning NOVA mini-series, which he hosted. Greene co-founded the World Science Festival in 2008 and serves as Chairman of the Board.
4:15PM | CLOSING REMARKS: Michael Caruso Smithsonian magazine Editor-In-Chief
4:30PM – 5:00PM | JET PACK DEMO |OUTSIDE
SUNDAY, MAY 18 2014 | 10am–5pm | ATRIUM BALLROOM
10:00AM | NERD NITE WELCOMING AND INTRODUCTORY REMARKS | MATT WASOWKSI & DR. CHRIS BALAKRISHNAN
10:20AM: Brood Parasitism in Indigo Birds
DR. CHRIS BALAKRISHNAN
Founder/Godfather of Nerd Nite and Assistant Professor of Evolutionary and Behavioral Genomics at East Carolina University (Greenville, NC) | Founder/Godfather of Nerd Nite and Assistant Professor of Evolutionary and Behavioral Genomics at East Carolina University. Go Pirates!
11AM: Christ on a Cracker! (Apophenia, Pareidolia and Conspiracy Paranoia)
Computer Scientist, Nerd (Chicago) | Laura Lanford is a preparedness hobbyist highly skilled in making Type I errors. Ask her about the Post-Apocalyptic World after her second drink!
11:40AM: Anatomy of a Space Shuttle Launch
Engineer and Former Space Shuttle Flight Controller (Philadelphia) | From 2004 – 2010 Joshua Moskowitz worked as a Mechanical Systems Flight Control Officer in NASA’s Mission Control Center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, supporting 19 space shuttle missions.
12:20PM: The ET Files: Move over M.I.B!
DEREK “AGENT D” DEMETER
Planetarium Director at Seminole State College of Florida (Orlando) | Derek Demeter, Planetarium Director at Seminole State College of Florida since 2007. He writes and produces new shows that explore the astronomy and history of numerous cultures from around the world. He serves as Vice President of the Central Florida Astronomical Society, and sets up telescopes at local shopping centers to give the public a truly “out-of-this world” experience.
1PM: Aqua Vitae or Hooch? The Secrets of Great Whiskey
President of the New York State Distillers Guild (Brooklyn) | Nicole Austin is a Master Blender, Engineer and Distiller in the growing US craft spirits industry, the newly elected President of the New York State Distillers Guild, and is a seasoned imbiber of spirits.
1:40PM: Let’s Make Light of the Situation
Research Chemist at Sandia National Laboratories (Oakland) | Mitch Anstey is a chemist by day and a sleeping chemist by night. He made esoteric metal chemistry his specialty at UC Berkeley. Thankfully, someone found that useful in the job market, and he now makes metals emit light for the good of the nation at Sandia National Labs.
2:20PM: Fecal Matters: The Ins and Outs of Fecal Transplants
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) | Since reading about Ebola in The Hot Zone as a child, Anna has been interested in infectious diseases. This interest morphed into a BS in biology at Western Washington University, followed by a PhD in microbiology at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. Now, as a postdoc in Dr. Vincent Young’s lab at the University of Michigan, she studies Clostridium difficile infection, an antibiotic-associated pathogen of the GI tract, and its relationship with gut microbes.
3PM: Pneumatic Tube Systems, Particularly in Paris: It Really is a System of Tubes
MOLLY WRIGHT STEENSON
Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at UW-Madison (Madison) | Molly Wright Steenson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at UW-Madison. Pneumatic tubes have made her Internet famous.
3:40PM: Lemur Biology in the Axis of Evil: A Schistosomiasis Love Story in 10 Easy Lessons
DR. ALEX DEHGAN
Science and Technology Adviser to the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (Washington, DC) | Dr. Alex Dehgan is the Science and Technology Adviser to the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Previously, Alex also worked in the Department of State where he developed a science diplomacy strategy towards Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and previous to that he was the founding Afghanistan Country Director for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Afghanistan Program.
4:20PM: Godzilla: History, Biology and Behavior of Hyper-Evolved Theropod Kaiju
Actor, Writer, Director and D-List YouTuber (New York) | Shyaporn Theerakulstit is an actor, writer, director and D-List YouTuber, where he posts videos about drug addicted Easter bunnies, unemployed Superfriends and flying kittens. You can see examples of his internet hackery at youtube.com/shyaporn.