XFF proudly presents the SPEAKERS for 2012:
AUBREY DE GREY
Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist based in Cambridge, UK and Mountain View, California, USA, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation, a California-based 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to combating the aging process. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. He received his BA and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000 respectively. His original field was computer science, and he did research in the private sector for six years in the area of software verification before switching to biogerontology in the mid-1990s. His research interests encompass the characterisation of all the accumulating and eventually pathogenic molecular and cellular side-effects of metabolism ("damage") that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and/or obviate that damage. He has developed a possibly comprehensive plan for such repair, termed Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which breaks aging down into seven major classes of damage and identifies detailed approaches to addressing each one. A key aspect of SENS is that it can potentially extend healthy lifespan without limit, even though these repair processes will probably never be perfect, as the repair only needs to approach perfection rapidly enough to keep the overall level of damage below pathogenic levels. Dr. de Grey has termed this required rate of improvement of repair therapies “longevity escape velocity”. Dr. de Grey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organisations.
RANDAL A. KOENE
Randal A. Koene heads the organization carboncopies.org (co-founded with Dr. Suzanne Gildert), which is the outreach and roadmapping organization for action towards Advancing Substrate-Independent Minds (ASIM).
Dr. Koene is a neuroscientist and neuroengineer, and he directs the Halcyon SIM (substrate-independent minds) and BCI (brain-computer interfaces) divisions, as well as the Analysis team at the nanotechnology company Halcyon Molecular in Silicon Valley.
Between 2008 and 2010, Koene was director of the Department of Neuroengineering at Tecnalia, the third largest private research organization in Europe. Dr. Koene has been involved with organized research in artificial general intelligence (AGI) since the first AGI conference in 2008. He has a strong interest in developments both in machine intelligence and human intelligence enhancement, as well as the potential convergence of the two.
Dr. Koene earned his Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience at the Department of Psychology at McGill University, and his M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Information Theory at Delft University of Technology. He is a former Professor at the Center for Memory and Brain of Boston University, and is co-founder of the Neural Engineering Corporation of Massachusetts. Randal Koene established the MindUploading.org website and first proposed the term and specific approach called whole brain emulation, the purpose of which is the technological accomplishment of mind transfer to a different substrate.
Dr. Koene’s professional research objective is the implementation of whole brain emulation: creating the large-scale high-resolution representations and emulations of activity in neuronal circuitry that are needed in patient-specific neuroprostheses. He is a member of the Oxford working group that convened in 2007 to create a first roadmap toward whole brain emulation.
Dr. Koene investigates the fundamental and multi-disciplinary requirements for substrate-independent minds, the nano- and synthetic bio-technological tools for data acquisition and interfacing with the biological brain at large scale and high resolution, as well as novel computational substrates that can support emulated functions of the mind.
Dr. Ben Goertzel is Chief Scientist of financial prediction firm Aidyia Holdings; Chairman of AI software company Novamente LLC and bioinformatics company Biomind LLC; Chairman of the Artificial General Intelligence Society and the OpenCog Foundation; Vice Chairman of futurist nonprofit Humanity+; Scientific Advisor of biopharma firm Genescient Corp.; Advisor to the Singularity University and Singularity Institute; Research Professor in the Fujian Key Lab for Brain-Like Intelligent Systems at Xiamen University, China; and general Chair of the Artificial General Intelligence conference series. His research work encompasses artificial general intelligence, natural language processing, cognitive science, data mining, machine learning, computational finance, bioinformatics, virtual worlds and gaming and other areas. He has published a dozen scientific books, 100+ technical papers, and numerous journalistic articles. Before entering the software industry he served as a university faculty in several departments of mathematics, computer science and cognitive science, in the US, Australia and New Zealand. He has three children and too many pets, and in his spare time enjoys creating avant-garde fiction and music, and exploring the outdoors.
Maria Entraigues, born in Argentina, is the Global Outreach Coordinator of the SENS Research Foundation. She is fascinated with the process of aging and concerned about the degeneration and disease that come with it. In addition to her work toward extending life and health, Maria has toured the world with internationally recognized artists and composed music for soundtracks of award winning Hollywood films. She is also a singer who is very passionate about flying her airplanes all over the world.
Rachel Haywire is the founder of the Extreme Futurist Festival and a leading voice in digital media. She is known as an author, music producer, model, performance artist, and cultural engineer. Credited for bringing DIY Transhumanism into the mainstream she has established a new futurist subculture with the goal of making the artistic world more intelligent and the intelligent world more artistic.
Somewhat of a cult icon and agent provocateur, Rachel spends her time meeting with the most interesting minds of her generation so she can redefine the human species and makes no apologies for her attitude of total evolution.
Rachel is also the author of the coming-of-age cyber travel memoir Acidexia.
Josh Harris is a cloud television producer. His specialty is producing audience "self-surveillance" (video-chat) as engaging television programming. Mr. Harris' current project, "Net Band Command," enables the audience to watch and interact with each other via a working cybership.
In the 1990's Mr Harris founded JupiterResearch, a leading Internet research and consulting firm. At that time Mr. Harris was considered the top analyst in the field. Mr. Harris took the company public in 1998. His second company, Pseudo Programs, Inc. was the world's first Internet television network. At its peak Pseudo produced ten channels and 300 hours of original Internet programming every week.
Mr. Harris' next two projects focus on building a "cybership" style production set and a fully automated "home studio." The results of this work are portrayed in the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning film (2008) "We Live In Public."
Underground pundit V. Vale of RE/Search Publications has been giving his futuristic, D-I-Y, and counterculture viewpoints for 30-plus years in his lectures, publications, and radio and television appearances. Counting J.G. Ballard and W.S Burroughs as his main influences, he emphasizes an entrepreneurial, border-crossing viewpoint in his explorations of how authentic niche social movements and pioneers influence future culture and society. http://www.researchpubs.com.
CHANA DE WOLF
Chana de Wolf is a business manager and biomedical researcher in Portland. She holds a B.S. in Experimental Psychology, a M.S. in Neuroscience, and has extensive management and laboratory experience. She is a Director and researcher for Advanced Neural Biosciences, where she and her husband conduct cryonics-relevant research.Brian Doherty is a senior editor at Reason magazine and Reason.com. Doherty is author of the books This is Burning Man (2004, Little, Brown; paperback BenBella, 2006), Radicals for Capitalism: A History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement (PublicAffairs, 2007), and Gun Control on Trial(Cato, 2008). From 1994 to 2003, Doherty worked as associate editor and reporter for Reason, writing a variety of stories on topics ranging from the Americans with Disabilities Act to pollution-credit trading to the independent rock scene. Doherty's work has appeared in The Washington Post,The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, Spin, National Review, The Weekly Standard, San Francisco Chronicle and dozens of other publications. Chana became aware of cryonics while studying the neuroscience of aging and memory in graduate school circa 2003. She worked as a Research Associate at Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, AZ, from 2006-2008, where she also participated in human cryopreservation cases.
As a Director of the Institute for Evidence Based Cryonics, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting research, education, and information dissemination in cryonics, Chana is uniquely situated to answer questions, address concerns, and dispel the many myths surrounding the practice and purpose of human cryopreservation.
Brian Doherty is a senior editor at Reason magazine and Reason.com.
Doherty is author of the books This is Burning Man (2004, Little, Brown; paperback BenBella, 2006), Radicals for Capitalism: A History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement (PublicAffairs, 2007), and Gun Control on Trial(Cato, 2008).
From 1994 to 2003, Doherty worked as associate editor and reporter for Reason, writing a variety of stories on topics ranging from the Americans with Disabilities Act to pollution-credit trading to the independent rock scene.
Doherty's work has appeared in The Washington Post,The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, Spin, National Review, The Weekly Standard, San Francisco Chronicle and dozens of other publications.
Michael Keenan is an entrepreneur, activist and futurist who works with The Seasteading Institute and the Center For Applied Rationality. His talk, How Robot Cars Are Near, describes how robot cars will save millions of lives, billions of hours and trillions of dollars.
Sinan was one of the core members of SPK during the 80's in London. She signed with Rough Trade, Fiction Records, & WEA.
One of the very few women in the Industrial music scene at the time, she recorded multiple albums, and performed on tours through United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and the USA.
Sinan will be speaking on a panel with V. Vale of RE/Search Publications.
MARC G. MILLIS
Inspired by science fiction and the real space-race, and fearful of nuclear obliteration, Millis grew up to become a leading pioneer in interstellar flight physics - desperately seeking ways to reach other Earth-like planets before humanity destroys itself. He started working at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at the naive age of 18 while also pursuing a Physics degree at Georgia Tech. Once graduated and fully employed at NASA's Cleveland center (1982), he dutifully designed ion thrusters, electronics for rocket monitoring, cryogenic propellant equipment, and even a cockpit display for free-fall aircraft flights. Mischievously, he spent his discretionary time trying to make rocketry obsolete. Eventually, he got caught and in a rare twist of bureaucracy, was asked to create the "Breakthrough Propulsion Physics" Project (1996-2002). With a knack for 'herding cats,' he somehow leveraged NASA's token funding with lots of volunteers to bring the fiction of propellant-less space drives and faster-than-light travel into the realm of scientific discourse. Alas, in 2003 all of NASA's advanced propulsion funding was lost; diverted by Congress to construct a building in Huntsville Alabama. Despite the loss of funding, his management was finally convinced that Millis was not a delusional crackpot, so they allowed him to finish the paperwork. In 2009, he and his cohorts completed the first-ever scholarly book about such revolutionary pursuits; FRONTIERS OF PROPULSION SCIENCE (Millis & Davis, eds., AIAA). With few prospects for edgy work remaining within NASA, Millis took an early retirement in 2010 to devote time to running the TAU ZERO FOUNDATION, an organization he founded to pursue advances beyond the attention span of other space organizations, using the goal of interstellar flight as the driving ambition to provoke revolutionary advances. With a collection of pioneers and scouts in both technical and journalistic venues, incremental progress has begun, and this progress is conveyed to the public via the 'CENTAURI DREAMS' news forum
Ray Podder is the founder of GROW. We now have the power to actually change humanity’s storyline from scarcity to abundance for the first time in recorded history. When our imaginations are filled with the scarcity based ideas of the past, true abundance for all looks like a distant dream at best. Ideas like ownership by acquisition, efficiency by automation, investment by hedging bets against future unknowns, are all ways of thinking that assume we still operate in a regionally scarce environment. An environment where the zero sum game is a given, and it's winner take all. Ray's talk will ask the question: Is that assumption still true?
Kevin Fischer is a serial entrepreneur and transhumanist increasingly dedicated to human cognitive enhancement experimentation and advocacy. He serves on the Board of Directors at Singularity Institute, works as a medical researcher for Panacea Research, and is the founder of a stealth biochemistry research startup.
Alex Peake, founder and CEO of Primer Labs, created Code Hero to make code the new literacy by turning all gamers into game developers.
He developed memetic game AI that mentored players with dynamic storytelling. He snuck into SFU's Cognitive Science classes and got into Berkeley with an essay about using game AI to make education free, but he decided to skip student loans and hire the PHDs he would need later with the profits he earned working as a programmer and investing in Apple stock.
In 2011 Alex cofounded Hack The Future with Hacker Dojo and Super Happy Devhouse hackers to bring hacker mentorship to young people.
Anastasia Krylov is a pro-domme, sex educator, fire spinner, sushi chef, and model, who currently resides in Venice Beach with her partner, an assorted cast of roommates, and two antisocial cats. She is also the organizer of Pangæa, a queer play party at LA's largest dungeon known for its incredible pangender drag show. She lectures on non-monogamy and kink, utilizing sociological theory alongside the latest neurochemical research to examine a diversity of relationship models. She spends her free time arguing on the internet and neglecting to clean.
Brian Meece plays a mean ukulele and is the CEO of RocketHub, one of the world's top crowdfunding platforms. He has lectured on crowdsourced funding at SXSW, TEDxBrooklyn, Columbia University, NYU, NXNEi, among other colleges, conferences and institutions. RocketHub is known as the world's crowdfunding machine. The company has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NPR, Wired, Nature, The Economist, CNN, The Washington Post, ABC News, USA Today, etc. while helping thousands of funding campaigns raise millions of dollars globally.
With a passionate & voracious appetite for discovery and all that is good in man, Pablo Vazquez III is a self-educated cosmopolitan polymath, passionate adventurer, articulate speaker, inventive showman and likely the youngest speaker at XFF. A techno-optimist fighting against the horrors of a seemingly inevitable cyberpunk near-future, he is honored to have been inspired by Oscar Wilde, Guy Debord, Slavoj Zizek, Ray Kurzweil, and Carl Sagan in his ideas and actions. He dreams of an anarcho-transhumanist future that can only be described as a mix of Anarchist Catalonia and the United Federation of Planets.
Known mostly for his work within the Steampunk movement, he has helped organize what was once a fledgling aesthetic movement into a now well-known and respected social art movement that he believes follows in the strong tradition of the Surrealists, the Futurists, the Makers, and so forth. In Texas, with his cohort Cameron Hare, he transformed the Steampunk community from a loose confederation of disparate affectionate into a united and strong movement of mechanical tinkerers, visual artists, flamboyant showmen, eloquent philosophers, fascinating symposiums, and many more, growing the San Antonio Neo-Victorian Association, the Steampunk umbrella organization he helped found, from 15 to a 1000 members with 4-5 years. He has been quote as an academic and journalistic source due to his expertise/experience in the field and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Steampunk Magazine, the movement's chief periodical with an emphasis on all things radical.
Travis James Leland is a science-fiction writer and poet, currently working on a novel entitled "Singular," about a young man who becomes the world's first true posthuman. He lives in Llano, California with his wife and son. His Twitter is @TJL2080.
Leland will be giving a presentation about neurodiversity, autism and his belief that people on the spectrum MAY just be the next step in evolution, and that what we learn from them could help us all understand what we need to make that next step ourselves. There will also be a discussion of the emerging "subculture" of radical futurism and transhumanism.
"Where's my f#%@ing jetpack!? Where is my flying car?" These are the sentiments of the Grinders: the biohackers and DIY surgeons who became tired of waiting for the future they were promised. Hell-bent on becoming mutants and cyborgs, this diverse group of underground innovators delves into the worlds of genetics, cybernetics, and body modification in their quest for transcendence. Numbering in the hundreds worldwide, the unapologetic Grinders are a potential game-changer within the greater transhumanist community.
Space gangster, businessman, and black hat transhumanist, Rich Lee gives us a guided tour of the Grinding movement; the good, the bad, and the ugly. We will explore ambitious projects, roadblocks, and successes of the community. Rich will take you for an inside look at Grindhouse Wetware, a meritocracy driven tech development team that is using a combination of crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding to develop and market cyborg implants and gadgets.
Rich addresses the legal issues surrounding self experimentation and methods for dealing with them. We will look into the role of the black market as a source for anesthesia, tech piracy, and surgical procedures. We will explore the growing world of citizen science, and the newer realm of "Anon science".
Rich Lee has backgrounds in international business and finance. He has owned several businesses in a wide variety of sectors in the United States and Asia. Before being introduced to the Grinding movement, Rich wasted his life in real estate syndication and trading futures and options. Rich Lee has been described as being "security minded" in his ability to find criminal uses for various technologies. Rich supports individualism in transcendence and looks forward to a future filled with hyper-diversity rather than cookie-cutter clones. During an ill-fated urban renewal venture in Western New York, Rich developed an admiration for industrial blight and urban exploration.
Tim Cannon, a software developer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the co-founder of Grindhouse Wetware a development team focused on practical transhumanism and body modification. Over the last year, Tim has lead Grindhouse Wetwares to produce there first 2 products focusing on a post human market. His deep commitment to open source hardware, brusque way of speaking, and intense conviction have made him an outspoken figure in practical transhumanism, which he affectionately calls "The Grinder Way".
After many years as a supervisor in the feature-film visual effects and animation world (having been one of the founding employees of Sony Imageworks), Ron Brinkmann authored the The Art and Science of Digital Compositing, which is now regarded as a standard reference book in the visual effects industry.
As the Product Designer of the visual effects software Shake, Brinkmann found himself working for Apple Computer after they acquired the product, and while there he was also involved with several other Apple products such as Final Cut Pro and Aperture.
After leaving Apple he worked with Digital Domain in their games and animation division and also served as a special advisor to The Foundry.
For a period of time he traded in the California sunshine for the more interesting weather conditions in Seattle while working as Director of Book Technology at Amazon.com.
Most recently he has founded the Los Angeles-based software company Precipice Labs, creating graphics and photography-focused applications. Their first iPhone app FreezePaint is now available in the iTunes store.
Mr. Brinkmann has spoken at conferences and seminars around the world, covering topics related to visual effects, photography, digital filmmaking and general technology. He is a regular co-host on the This Week in Photography podcast and blogs regularly at www.digitalcomposting.com.
Douglas is a former Systems Engineer for the United States Space Shuttle Program, and is now the CEO of Cybernated Farm Systems, a company dedicated to using science, engineering and technology to help humanity by using 21st century capabilities to quell the global hunger problem once and for all.
Douglas is also a published author (Turning Point), which discusses how space exploration and development is vital to the future of mankind.
And lastly, Douglas is an accomplished public speaker, having spoken at venues in Caux, Switzerland (an annual global summit); Liverpool, UK (School for Changemakers); the University of Illinois (Computer and Technology Conference); and most recently he completed a Global Sustainability Scandinavian lecture tour covering 9 lectures in 6 cities over 19 days, from Stockholm to Oslo to Copenhagen.