Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of 14 February 2018

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
UC Berkeley, 14 February 2018
V&A Cafe in Soda Hall
NOTE: The cafe is located across the west entrance of Soda Hall
Chaired by Piero Scaruffi

The LASERs are a national program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience. See the program for the whole series. The event is free and open to everybody. Email me if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs. Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking. This event is kindly sponsored by the Minerva Foundation.
Where: UC Berkeley
Soda Hall, Room TBA
NOTE: Use the WEST-entrance of SODA Hall entering from Etcheverry Plaza.
Campus map
Program (the order of the speakers might change):
  • 7:00-7:25: Mikey Siegel (Consciousness Technologist) on "The Art and Technology of Human Connection" Towards technology-augmented meditation retreats... Read more
  • 7:25-7:50: David McConville (Buckminster Fuller Institute) on "Beyond the "Whole Earth" Remote sensing technologies increasingly serve as humanity's sensory prosthetics... Read more
  • 7:50-8:10: BREAK. Before or after the break, anyone in the audience currently working within the intersections of art and science will have 30 seconds to share their work. Please present your work as a teaser so that those who are interested can seek you out during social time following the event.
  • 8:10-8:35: Sandy Huang (UC Berkeley/ A.I.) on "Adversarial Examples in Reinforcement Learning" Machine-learning algorithms are vulnerable to adversarial examples... ... Read more
  • 8:35-9:00:
  • Discussions, networking You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

See also...
  • Other LASER series
  • Archive of past LASERs
  • Leonardo ISAST
  • Art, Technology, Culture Colloquia
  • Other LASER series
  • ScienceSchmoozer
  • LAST Festival
  • Other recommended events
    • Sandy Huang is a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley in Computer Science working with Professors Pieter Abbeel and Anca Dragan. She did my undergrad at Stanford, majoring in Artificial Intelligence. Her research focuses on building a deeper understanding of what a robot or agent has learned. For instance, engineers should have an idea of which situations their robot may act incorrectly in, and end-users should be able to anticipate how a robot they are interacting with will behave in various situations. This is essential for building trust, enabling seamless human-robot collaboration, verifying what a robot has learned, and deploying robots in safety-critical situations. Previously she worked on teaching robots challenging manipulation tasks (knot tying and towel folding) through learning from demonstrations. While at Stanford, she applied machine learning to problems in clinical decision making and information flow tracking.
    • David McConville is co-founder of Spherical, an integrative design and research studio based in Oakland, CA. His research explores how attempts to visualize the world enact new perceptions of it. David currently serves as chairman of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, which catalyzes comprehensive design approaches to complex global challenges. He is co-founder The Elumenati, a design and engineering firm developing immersive display environments. He has a PhD in Art and Media from the Planetary Collegium at the University of Plymouth.
    • Piero Scaruffi is a cultural historian who has lectured in three continents and published several books on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, the latest one being "The Nature of Consciousness" (2006). He pioneered Internet applications in the early 1980s and the use of the World-Wide Web for cultural purposes in the mid 1990s. His poetry has been awarded several national prizes in Italy and the USA. His latest book of poems and meditations is "Synthesis" (2009). As a music historian, he has published ten books, the latest ones being "A History of Rock and Dance Music" (2009) and "A History of Jazz Music" (2007). His latest book of history is "A History of Silicon Valley" (2011). The first volume of his free ebook "A Visual History of the Visual Arts" appeared in 2012. His latest book is "Intelligence is not Artificial" (2013). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature. He founded the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) in 2008 and the Life Art Science Tech (LAST) festival in 2014. Since 2015 he has been commuting between California and China, where several of his books have been translated.
    • Mikey Siegel is a robotics engineer turned consciousness hacker. He envisions a present and future where science and technology support psychological, emotional and spiritual flourishing. Where our devices not only connect us to information, but also connect us to ourselves and each other, acting as a catalyst for individual and collective awakening. He is currently teaching at Stanford University, founder of Consciousness Hacking, BioFluent Technologies,, and the Transformative Technology Conference. He received an MS in robotics from the MIT Media Lab.

    Extended abstracts:

    Half a century ago, photographs of Earth from space were first broadcast around the world. Initially celebrated for their sublime beauty, they have since transformed into ambivalent icons representing both planetary consciousness and existential angst. Today, remote sensing technologies increasingly serve as humanity's sensory prosthetics, expanding potential interpretations of the meaning of the "whole Earth." They illuminate phenomena across previously invisible spatial, temporal, and spectral scales, revealing the complexity and interconnectedness of Earth's systems. In this presentation, I explore how visualizations of satellite observations can transform perceptions of our home planet and their paradoxical effects on collective sensemaking.

    Spiritual and religious traditions have historically cornered the market on paths to peace, connection, and wellbeing. Science and technology are truly ubiquitous and incredibly beneficial, but they do little to point us toward deep flourishing. With all of our digital connectivity, by many measures we are not getting any happier. What if we applied our incredible engineering capacity toward our inner world, not just to cure disease, but to self-actualization? What if we took an innovation approach to spirituality itself, and redesigned it for a modern secular world? What if tech that provided the benefit of 10,000 hours of meditation was as accessible as cell phones? The quality of our relationships is one of the biggest contributors to our overall wellbeing. Thanks to modern technology we are becoming increasingly connected, but we are also increasingly lonely and socially isolated. Something is missing. In this talk we will explore a three projects attempting to leverage modern technology to support deep and meaningful human connection. We will also discuss current work leading up to a one of the first technology augmented meditation retreats.

    Machine learning models have been shown to be vulnerable to adversarial examples, inputs maliciously constructed to force misclassification. This has been extensively studied in the context of computer vision applications of deep learning. In this talk, I will present recent work that shows neural network policies, trained with deep reinforcement learning, are also vulnerable to adversarial-example attacks. Specifically, existing adversarial example crafting techniques can be used to significantly degrade test-time performance of trained policies. This is true across tasks and training algorithms, in both white-box and black-box settings. Even small adversarial perturbations that do not interfere with human perception can cause a significant drop in performance. I will also describe results on constructing dormant adversarial examples, which have a delayed effect on the targeted policy's actions.

    Photos and videos of this evening