Program
SEPT 1-30
2022
Chelsea, New York
537 West 27th Street
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The Forum
The A Species Between Worlds Forum combines thought-provoking artwork with an inspiring program that brings together a unique group of high profile speakers and leaders from the fields of art, academia, technology, and business to explore the nexus of new technology and human behavior through a multidisciplinary lens. Together, we explore our relationship with technology through interactive panels, deep-dive conversations, youth town halls, partner events, performances, and more.
Agenda

Four Pillars

Themes of the forum are divided into four main pillars. Spread throughout the month of programming, each theme addresses the role of technology with regard to specific areas of our lives.

Power
& Influence

Across the globe, access to everything has never been more democratized. Yet, we’re also in an era of creeping authoritarian control and staggering inequality — financial, political, environmental, commercial and more. Meanwhile, access to technology comes paired with the promise of equality, of DIY success, of limitless potential to link, build, and thrive. So then, why do so many of us feel powerless over our devices? What are ways in which we can reverse that dynamic? How can we wield the tools and influence of technology for good?

Health
& Wellbeing

The technological takeover is often framed through the lens of vice and temptation. But for most of us, technology is both essential to survival and inescapable. While the ease and access to services that technology has provided can be beneficial, it also has the potential to be wildly destructive for mental and physical health as well as broader social bonds. How do we recalibrate our relationship with technology to prioritize our mental health and overall wellbeing? Can we find peace within ourselves and with others?

Nature 
& Environments

Nature and technology often seem to be fundamentally opposed. For our survival, we must inhabit our real and virtual spaces in ways that reflect our best principles of sanctity, sustainability, and empathy. How can preservation and conservation be prioritized in a world of finite resources? How can we enhance physical and digital environments through a framework of balance?

Community
& Culture

Culture now exists at our fingertips, can be created and self-published for free, and is instantly distributed to the masses. In some ways, this is one of the greatest times to both consume and create content because we have access to more authentic, younger, and diverse perspectives than ever before. On the other hand, the platforms that foster this are designed to demand attention and prioritize commerce. Has the democratization of creation actually democratized content? How can new voices emerge when spaces are so saturated? And how can we rediscover what it means to be in community with one another?

The Landscape

Humans are a species between worlds. We’re in the midst of changing physical spaces and expanding digital ones. We’re in a technological transition between attachment and autonomy. Smartphones, designed to be our tools, have become our reality — and with every swipe, tap, and pinch, our humanity is being exported, piece by piece, to the cloud.

The pull of technology has turned into a tether, binding us to our devices and taking us away from the vibrant colors of our nature. But humanity and technology don’t have to be in conflict. Technology has presented us with our greatest opportunities, produced social and cultural innovations, facilitated advances in all sectors, and improved the lives of billions of people. However, if it’s no longer a relationship, if it becomes a dependency, then we’ve lost power to one of our greatest assets.

We know balance and reclaiming our autonomy is possible. So what does that look like? How do we create communities and environments where we can reestablish our power over technology?

The Invitation

We seek to engage the community — from creatives, digital natives, futurists, young people, families, and other diverse thinkers — who want to understand how technology is reshaping our lives, our environments, and our world.
Agenda
www.life-calling.org
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NEW YORK ©2022 A Species Between Worlds. USA. All rights reserved.
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Agenda
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Agenda Overview
September 2022
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    www.life-calling.org
    Life Calling is a project of the Giving Back Fund, Tax ID: 04-3367888, a non-profit corporation with federal tax-exempt status from the IRS under section 501(c)3.
    NEW YORK ©2022 A Species Between Worlds. USA. All rights reserved.
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    Speakers A to Z
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    Aliza Kopans

    Co-Founder of Tech(nically) Politics

    Aliza Kopans is class of '25 at Brown University and a Digital Wellness Youth Activist serving on Fairplay's Action Network Advisory Board and LookUp.Live's Teen Leadership Council. Aliza has reached thousands of people through written publications, webinars, podcasts, and community involvement, dedicated to creating change towards a human—not screen—focused world. She is also Co-Founder of Tech(nically) Politics, a movement dedicated to changing digital regulation laws to ensure online platforms prioritize users' well-being over profit.

    Amer Jandali

    Environmental Futurist, Social Designer, DJ

    Amer Jandali is a Syrian-American New Mexican Environmental Futurist and Social Designer currently based in NYC. As a former award-winning nightclub DJ, Amer performed in front of thousands and opened for artists such as Avicii, LMFAO, Tyga, and Lil John. A documentary about plastic bags shifted his trajectory to New York City and DSI, where he planned to learn about systems, consumer behavior, and ways we might move away from our current unsustainable worldview He is an optimist, dreamer, and blooming activist. His passion is people and the realization of a healthy future.

     

     

    Amy Jupiter

    Founder and Chief Experience Officer

    Amy Jupiter is a Creative Producer, Experience Designer, Visual FX Supervisor and Proprioceptive Hacker. During her many years at Walt Disney Imagineering, Amy Jupiter lead teams in developing and creating the next generation of award-winning immersive experiences and attractions for the Walt Disney theme parks.  In her latest attraction, Amy and her team took on the design, creation and production of the real-time, interactive game media in the new attraction on the Avengers Campuses in California and Paris, Web Slingers: A Spider-man Adventure. Always pushing boundaries in immersive storytelling, Amy’s company, By Jove, most recently worked with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic as a Creative Producer and Experience Designer. Amy is currently working with a collective of world-renowned artists and idea makers creating more innovative and, well…kick ass projects.

     

     

    https://www.instagram.com/joupiejoup

    Angela Glover Blackwell

    Attorney, Civil Rights Advocate, and Author

    Angela Glover Blackwell is Founder in Residence at PolicyLink, the organization she started in 1999 to advance racial and economic equity for all. Under Angela’s leadership, PolicyLink gained national prominence in the movement to use public policy to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, and infrastructure. Angela is also the host of the Radical Imagination podcast and Professor of Practice at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley.

    Prior to founding PolicyLink, Angela served as Senior Vice President at The Rockefeller Foundation. A lawyer by training, she gained national recognition as founder of the Urban Strategies Council. From 1977 to 1987, Angela was a partner at Public Advocates. Angela is the co-author of Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future, and she authored The Curb Cut Effect, published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2017.

     

     

    Baratunde Thurston

    Writer, Producer and TV Host

    Baratunde Thurston holds space for hard and complex conversations with his blend of humor, wisdom, and compassion. Baratunde is an Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show, advised the Obama White House, and wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black. He’s the executive producer and host of How To Citizen with Baratunde which Apple named one of its favorite podcasts of 2020. Baratunde also received the Social Impact Award at the 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards on behalf of How to Citizen with Baratunde. In 2019, he delivered what MSNBC’s Brian Williams called “one of the greatest TED talks of all time.” Baratunde is unique in his ability to integrate and synthesize themes of race, culture, politics, and technology to explain where our nation is and where we can take it.

    With an ancestry that includes a great-grandfather who taught himself to read, a grandmother who was the first black employee at the U.S. Supreme Court building, a computer-programming mother who took over radio stations in the name of the black liberation struggle, and an older sister who teaches yoga at her donation-based studio in Lansing, Michigan, Baratunde has long been taught to question authority and forge his own path. It helps that he was raised in Washington, D.C. under crackhead Mayor Marion Barry. 

    Baratunde’s mind, forged by his mother’s lessons and polished by a philosophy degree from Harvard, has found expression in the pages of Fast Company and the New York Times, the screens of HBO, Comedy Central, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, the sound waves of NPR and podcasts such as Pivot, WTF, and Hello, Monday.

    He has hosted shows and stories on NatGeo and Discovery’s Science Channel and earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for hosting the Spotify/Mic series, Clarify. Baratunde is also an in-demand public speaker and live events host for organizations ranging from Google to criminal justice reform non-prof- its such as JustLeadershipUSA.

    Far from simply appearing in media, Baratunde has also helped define its future. In 2006 he co-found- ed Jack & Jill Politics, a black political blog whose coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Conven- tion has been archived by the Library of Congress. From 2007 to 2012, he helped bring one of America’s finest journalistic institutions into the future, serving as Director of Digital for The Onion then did something similar as Supervising Producer for digital expansion at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He has served as an advisor to the Data & Society Research Institute and a director’s fellow at the MIT Media Lab.

    Baratunde is a rare leader who sits at the intersection of race, technology, and democracy and seamless- ly integrates past, present and future.

    Baratunde serves on the boards of BUILD and the Brooklyn Public Library and lives in Los Angeles, California.

     

     

    https://twitter.com/baratunde

    Cannupa Hanska Luger

    Fixer

    Cannupa Hanska Luger is a multidisciplinary artist and an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota). Through monumental installations and social collaboration, Luger activates speculative fiction and communicates stories about 21st Century Indigeneity, combining critical cultural analysis with dedication and respect for the diverse materials, environments, and communities he engages. He lectures and produces large-scale projects around the globe and his works are in many public collections. Luger is a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow, recipient of the 2021 United States Artists Fellowship Award for Craft and was named a 2021 GRIST Fixer, he is a 2020 Creative Capital Fellow, a 2020 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow, and the recipient of the Museum of Arts and Design’s 2018 inaugural Burke Prize, among others.

    https://www.cannupahanska.com

    Cecilia Aldarondo

    Fixer

    Cecilia Aldarondo is a director-producer from the Puerto Rican diaspora who works at the intersection of poetics and politics. Her feature documentaries MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART (2016) and LANDFALL (2020) premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and were co-produced by the award-winning PBS series POV. LANDFALL's many awards include the 2020 DOC NYC Film Festival Viewfinders Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary, as well as Cinema Eye and Film Independent Spirit Award nominations. Currently she is directing her third feature, a co-production with HBO. Among Aldarondo's fellowships and honors are the 2022 IDA Emerging Filmmaker Award, the Guggenheim, a two-time MacDowell Colony Fellowship, the 2021 New America Fellowship, and Women at Sundance 2017. In 2019 she was named to DOC NYC's 40 Under 40 list and is one of 2015’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She teaches at Williams College.

    Center for Earth Ethics

    Environmental Organization

    The Center for Earth Ethics envisions a world where value is measured according to the sustained well-being of all people and our planet.

    We work to cultivate the public consciousness needed to make changes in policy and culture that will establish a new value system that is based on this vision of the world.

     

     

    https://twitter.com/earthethicsctr

    Chancellor David C. Banks

    Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education

    David C. Banks is Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, the largest school system in the nation. Appointed on January 1, 2022, he is the former President and CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation, and the founding principal of The Eagle Academy for Young Men, the first school in a network of innovative all-boys public schools in New York City and Newark, N.J. David is a lifelong New Yorker, born in Brooklyn, and proud graduate of New York City public schools, attending P.S. 161 in Brooklyn and Hillcrest High School in Queens. After a year working as a school safety officer, he began his first teaching job at P.S. 167 in his childhood neighborhood on Eastern Parkway. From there, he went on to become a founding principal at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, and later at the Eagle Academy for Young Men.

     

     

    https://twitter.com/DOEChancellor

    Charlotte Kent (moderator)

    Writer / Assistant Professor of Visual Culture

    Charlotte Kent, PhD is the Assistant Professor of Visual Culture at Montclair State University and an arts writer. Her work theorizes how visual and linguistic rhetorical devices constrain what we see by exploring their historical and political context. Her current research investigates the absurd in contemporary art and speculative design. She writes for academic journals (Leonardo, Word and Image, Journal of Visual Culture, etc) and general audience magazines (Art Review, BOMB, Wired, among others), with a monthly panel and column on Art and Technology for the Brooklyn Rail, where she is also an Editor-at-Large. Prior to academia, she developed education for the eyecare industry and managed an art school located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a graduate of the CUNY Graduate Center, St. John’s College, and Philips Academy Andover and currently lives in New York City.

    David Lynch Foundation

    Transcendental Meditation® Program

    In 2005, we started the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace to ensure that every child anywhere in the world who wanted to learn to meditate could do so. Now, the Foundation is actively teaching TM to adults and children in countries everywhere.

    How are we able to do it? Because of the generosity of foundations and philanthropists and everyday people who want to ease the suffering of others—and who want to help create a better world.

    If you don’t already meditate, take my advice: Start. It will be the best decision you ever make.

    David Polgar (moderator)

    Founder of All Tech is Human

    David Ryan Polgar is a leading voice in the areas of tech ethics, digital citizenship, responsible tech, and what it means to be human in the digital age. David is a global speaker, a regular media commentator for national & international press, and a frequent advisor & consultant on building a better tech future. He serves as a founding member of TikTok's Content Advisory Council, along with the Technology & Adolescent Mental Wellness (TAM program). 

    David is the founder of All Tech Is Human, an organization committed to informing & inspiring the next generation of responsible technologists & changemakers. Leading the organization, David recently developed a "Responsible Tech Guide" to help college students, grad students, and young professionals get plugged into the Responsible Tech ecosystem. In addition, David spearheaded the report, Improving Social Media: The People, Organizations and Ideas for a Better Tech Future. He also co-led the report, The Business Case for AI Ethics: Moving from Theory to Action.

    He is also the co-host/co-creator of Funny as Tech, a NYC-based podcast & occasional live show that deals with our messy relationship with technology.

    David recently has developed a digital citizenship class for adults and a tech ethics hub for college students, and recently filmed a free class on Bringing Responsibility and Tech Ethics into the Organization.

    Digital Fashion Week NY

    Digital Runway

    Digital fashion week is launched as a collaboration of leaders in the fashion industry, artists and entrepreneurs to provide an axis for the spokes of innovation in the fashion industry.

    Clare Tattersall is the founder and director of Digital Fashion Week NY. She is also the founder of THUNDERLILY NYC is a group of artist engineers dedicated to making the world a better place at the intersection of fashion + technology. Not just about innovation, she is passionate about access to information and education.

    Digital Fashion Week NY Music Director, DJ CherishTheLuv, is a multimedia Composer & Synthesist based in NY/LA, and now the Metaverse. She/They DJs and creates for Netflix, NBC, Viacom, MTV, Food Network, independent filmmakers, museum gallery exhibits and fashion shows. Find out what they are working on currently via IG @djcherishtheluv

    BK STYLE FOUNDATION’s mission is to assist emerging, underprivileged designers in honing their talent and growing their business, and to provide a professional forum to showcase their creations alongside other emerging designers from around the globe.

    In addition to its commitment to design, BKSF extends its mission to the community as a whole, presenting innovative educational programs to young people interested in developing careers on the creative and business aspects of fashion.

    Douglas Rushkoff

    Author of “Team Human”, “Throwing Rocks At The Google Bus”, “Present Shock”, and “Survival Of The Richest”

    Named one of the “world’s ten most influential intellectuals” by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is an author and documentarian who studies human autonomy in a digital age. His twenty books include the just-released Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires, as well as the recent Team Human, based on his podcast, and the bestsellers Present Shock, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, Life Inc, and Media Virus. He also made the PBS Frontline documentaries Generation Like, The Persuaders, and Merchants of Cool. His book Coercion won the Marshall McLuhan Award, and the Media Ecology Association honored him with the first Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity.

    Rushkoff’s work explores how different technological environments change our relationship to narrative, money, power, and one another. He coined such concepts as “viral media,” “screenagers,” and “social currency,” and has been a leading voice for applying digital media toward social and economic justice. He is a research fellow of the Institute for the Future, and founder of the Laboratory for Digital Humanism at CUNY/Queens, where he is a Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics. He is a columnist for Medium, and his novels and comics, Ecstasy Club, A.D.D, and Aleister & Adolf, are all being developed for the screen.

    Dr. Cindy Frewen

    Urban Futurist, Architect

    Dr Cindy Frewen, FAIA, urban futurist and architect, consults and writes on the future of cities and organizations, specializing in the intersection of people, technology, and environment. Clients include the United Nations-Habitat, UNESCO, US AID, US Treasury, US Federal Reserve, US General Services Administration, IBM, and Hallmark Cards. She also teaches the Design Futures Workshop and Social Change at the University of Houston graduate program in Strategic Foresight.

     

     

    Dr. David Chalmers

    Philosopher, Professor, Author

    David Chalmers is University Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science and co-director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness at New York University.  He is the author of The Conscious Mind (1996), Constructing the World (2010), and Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy (2022).  He is known for formulating the “hard problem” of consciousness, which inspired Tom Stoppard’s play The Hard Problem, and for the idea of the “extended mind,” which says that the tools we use can become parts of our minds.

    Dr. Fred Travis

    MS, PhD Psychology

    Dr. Travis is Professor of Maharishi Vedic Science, Chair of the Department of Maharishi Vedic Science, Dean of the Graduate School, and Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition. He earned an MS and PhD in Psychology from Maharishi University of Management, and a BS in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University.

    Dr. Lee Francis IV

    Activist, Educator, and Comic Creator

    Albuquerque-based activist, educator, and comic creator Dr. Lee Francis IV is the Executive Director of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, owner and CEO of Native Realities Publishing, and founder of the Indigenous Comic Con and Red Planet Books and Comics. Dr. Francis is an award-winning poet and writer, whose work revolves around education and how Native Peoples and Indigenous communities are represented in popular culture.

    Dr. Mehran Sahami

    Professor, Stanford University

    Mehran Sahami was recruited to Google in its start-up days by Sergey Brin and is one of the inventors of email spam-filtering technology. With a background in machine learning and artificial intelligence, he returned to Stanford as a computer science professor in 2007 and now holds the James and Ellenor Chesebrough Professorship in Engineering. As the Associate Chair for Education in the computer science department, he helped redesign the program’s undergraduate curriculum. He is one of the instructors of Stanford’s massive introductory computer programming course taken by nearly 1,500 students per year. Mehran is also a limited partner in several VC funds and serves as an adviser to high-tech start-ups. He is the co-author of System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot.

    https://twitter.com/mehran_sahami

    Dr. Rob Reich

    Professor, Stanford University

    Professor of Political Science, director of the Center for Ethics in Society, co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and associate director of the Institute for Human-Centered AI. He is the author of System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot (with Mehran Sahami and Jeremy M. Weinstein) and Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better (2018); Digital Technology and Democratic Theory (edited with Lucy Bernholz and Hélène Landemore, 2021). His teaching and writing these days focuses on ethics, policy, and technology.

    https://twitter.com/robreich

    Dr. Sherry Turkle

    Author, Professor

    Dr. Sherry Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society and the founding director of MIT’s Initiative on Technology and Self. She researches how technology can undermine our capacities for empathy and solitude and how to design for our human vulnerability. The author of Reclaiming Conversation and Alone Together, Turkle’s latest book is The Empathy Diaries, a Memoir. Her commentary has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, and WIRED. A Harvard Centennial medalist and Guggenheim and Rockefeller humanities fellowships recipient, Turkle was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014.

    Emma Pierson

    Assistant Professor, Cornell Tech

    Emma Pierson is an assistant professor of computer science at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and the Technion, and a computer science field member at Cornell University. She develops data science and machine learning methods to study inequality and healthcare. Her work has been recognized by a Rhodes Scholarship, Hertz Fellowship, Rising Star in EECS, MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35, and Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science. She has written for The New York Times, FiveThirtyEight, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Wired, and various other publications.

    Fix Solutions Lab, From Grist

    Climate Solutions Lab

    Maya Lilly (she/her) is a film and tv producer who helps the climate movement get better at telling its own tales. She was the producer for acclaimed documentarian Lauren Greenfield for many years (Queen of Versailles, Always Like a Girl commercial) and produced the feature docs Generation Wealth and The Big Fix, as well as several docuseries about Black resistance and undocumented narratives. She is currently the producer of original climate content for The YEARS Project, the team that did the Emmy-winning Years of Living Dangerously with James Cameron. She is focused on uplifting frontline BIPOC climate narratives, and has worked with the Navajo, Hopi, Anishinaabe, Gwich’in, Cancer Alley communities, Moloka’i indigenous, climate journalists, and pipeline protestors.

    Cecilia Aldarondo is a director-producer from the Puerto Rican diaspora who works at the intersection of poetics and politics. Her feature documentaries MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART (2016) and LANDFALL (2020) premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and were co-produced by the award-winning PBS series POV. LANDFALL's many awards include the 2020 DOC NYC Film Festival Viewfinders Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary, as well as Cinema Eye and Film Independent Spirit Award nominations. Currently she is directing her third feature, a co-production with HBO. Among Aldarondo's fellowships and honors are the 2022 IDA Emerging Filmmaker Award, the Guggenheim, a two-time MacDowell Colony Fellowship, the 2021 New America Fellowship, and Women at Sundance 2017. In 2019 she was named to DOC NYC's 40 Under 40 list and is one of 2015’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She teaches at Williams College. 

    Pita Juarez -A queer, immigrant woman of Guatemalan descent, Pita Juarez is a filmmaker, strategist, storyteller, organizer, and creative, based in Phoenix. With roots in the progressive movements, Pita challenges the “status quo” by shifting cultural narratives, empowering marginalized communities, and uplifting unspoken stories while transcending traditional media boundaries in the fight for environmental justice.

    Jade Begay, Climate Justice Campaign Director, is Diné and Tesuque Pueblo of New Mexico. Begay leads NDN Collective’s climate justice campaign work and brings extensive experience working in climate justice movement spaces throughout Turtle Island and within Indigenous communities across the globe. She has also worked as a multimedia producer, filmmaker and communications professional working in non-profit and Indigenous organizations. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Video and a Master of Arts degree in Environmental Leadership.

    Cannupa Hanska Luger is a multidisciplinary artist and an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota). Through monumental installations and social collaboration, Luger activates speculative fiction and communicates stories about 21st Century Indigeneity, combining critical cultural analysis with dedication and respect for the diverse materials, environments, and communities he engages. He lectures and produces large-scale projects around the globe and his works are in many public collections. Luger is a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow, recipient of the 2021 United States Artists Fellowship Award for Craft and was named a 2021 GRIST Fixer, he is a 2020 Creative Capital Fellow, a 2020 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow, and the recipient of the Museum of Arts and Design’s 2018 inaugural Burke Prize, among others. www.cannupahanska.com IG: @cannupahanska #cannupahansaluger

    Fix was founded on a simple premise: Promising solutions to the climate crisis exist — they just haven’t yet gained sufficient momentum to tip the scales.

    We’re here to change that.

    At the heart of what we do are the visionaries — we call them Fixers — whose bold ideas are powering real, tangible progress. Through our storytelling, we lift up and amplify their voices to a diverse audience hungry for change. Through our Fixer network, we foster collaboration on the big ideas that can get us there faster. And through our live events, we lay the foundation for the kind of creative thinking needed to move the needle.

    Frances Haugen

    Data Engineer, Scientist, Whistleblower

    Frances Haugen is an advocate for accountability & transparency in social media. Born in Iowa City, Iowa, Frances is the daughter of two professors and grew up attending the Iowa caucuses with her parents, instilling a strong sense of pride in democracy and responsibility for civic participation.

    Frances holds a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Olin College and an MBA from Harvard University. She is a specialist in algorithmic product management, having worked on ranking algorithms at Google, Pinterest, Yelp, and Facebook. In 2019, she was recruited to Facebook to be the lead Product Manager on the Civic Misinformation team, which dealt with issues related to democracy and misinformation, and later also worked on counter-espionage.

    During her time at Facebook, Frances became increasingly alarmed by the choices the company makes prioritizing their own profits over public safety and putting people's lives at risk. As a last resort and at great personal risk, Frances made the courageous decision to blow the whistle on Facebook. The initial reporting was done by the Wall Street Journal in what became known as “The Facebook Files”.

    Since going public, Frances has testified in front of the US Congress, UK and EU Parliaments, the French Senate, and National Assembly, and has engaged with lawmakers internationally on how to best address the negative externalities of social media platforms.

    Frances has filed a series of complaints with the US Federal Government relating to Facebook (now named ‘Meta’) claiming that the company has been misleading the public and investors on how it handles issues such as climate change, misinformation, hate speech, and the impact of its services on the mental health of children and young adults.

    Frances fundamentally believes that the problems we are facing today with social media are solvable, and is dedicated to uniting people around the world to bring about change. We can have social media that brings out the best in humanity.

    Gabo Arora

    VR / AR / AI Creator / Filmmaker / Professor, Johns Hopkins University

    Gabo Arora is a world renowned multi-award winning immersive artist, professor, entrepreneur and former UN diplomat who works with the most cutting-edge emerging technologies, including virtual and augmented reality, to tell some of the most important stories of our time. Widely recognized as a pioneer of new documentary formats, his work, part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, has been described by the BBC and LA Times, amongst many others, as “game changing”, “powerful, moving and without precedent”, and “transcending all the typical barriers of rectangular cinema.” He has designed and led campaigns of significant measurable impact, raising many millions of dollars, for the United Nations, UNICEF, USC Shoah foundation and the Nobel Peace Prize committee. He has had the honor of being the UN’s first-ever Creative Director; a Davos World Economic Forum Arts and Culture Leader; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and is the Founding Director of a new lab and academic department - the first of its kind - dedicated to Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technologies (ISET) at Johns Hopkins University. His creative tech and production studio LIGHTSHED.IO is based in Brooklyn.

    Gabriel Akhmad Marin

    Musician

    Multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Marin “boasts insane chops, impeccable time, mastery of diverse traditional scales, rare fretless guitar fluency, and a gift for manipulating effects,” (Premier Guitar Magazine). Called “the guiding light for his generation of six-stringers” by The Buffalo Times, He is "A fretless guitar virtuoso whose microtonal adventures rival those of many eastern musicians, and a talent for rhythm and nuttiness" (Bass Musician Magazine).

    Gabriel has studied and performed music from North and South India, Iran, the Balkans, Turkey and Central Asia, as well as western classical music and avant-garde jazz. As one of the few players to explore the fretless guitar and MIDI guitar, he has found a truly unique and expressive voice. In addition to this his exploration and layering of a vast array of effects contributes to his distinct sound. He is a founding member of internationally renowned fusion band Consider the Source. In addition to Guitar, Gabriel is versed in Dutar, Dombra, Tanbour, Balta Saz, and Kamancha.

    https://www.gabrielmarinmusic.com/music

    Jack Petocz

    Political Strategy Associate at Genz for Change

    Jack Petocz is an 18-year-old student activist from Flagler County, Florida. He is known for organizing nationwide walkouts in opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, drawing thousands of peaceful student protesters. Jack is the founder and executive director of his own activism organization, Recall FCSB, which encourages students to act upon bigotry rampant within his local school board. Most notably, his group fought discriminatory book banning, being featured in MSNBC, the New York Times, and Nightline. In addition, he is the political strategist at Gen-Z For Change, a nonprofit leveraging the tool of social media for progressive change, where he is currently focused on midterms.
    Jules Terpak is a video-first content creator who covers tech and digital culture and writes advice columns for The Washington Post.

    Jade Begay

    Fixer

    Jade Begay, Climate Justice Campaign Director, is Diné and Tesuque Pueblo of New Mexico. Begay leads NDN Collective’s climate justice campaign work and brings extensive experience working in climate justice movement spaces throughout Turtle Island and within Indigenous communities across the globe. She has also worked as a multimedia producer, filmmaker and communications professional working in non-profit and Indigenous organizations. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Video and a Master of Arts degree in Environmental Leadership.

    Jason Steinhauer

    Author / Founder / Global Fellow

    Jason Steinhauer is the best selling author of "History, Disrupted: How Social Media & the World Wide Web Have Changed the Past," a public historian, podcast host, founder of the History Communication Institute, creator of History Club and a Global Fellow at The Wilson Center. He writes and speaks about how social media and the web are shaping what we know about history.



    Jerry Weinstein (discussant)

    Civic Engagement Consultant; Thought Partner

    Over the past twenty years, Jerry Weinstein’s work as a communicator/storyteller has been focused on curating ideas and people; connecting voices to audiences; while being agnostic about media platform. As an alum of NYC’s Civic Hall, a collaborative workspace for civic tech startups, he mentored and coached hundreds of founders in the civic tech space. Jerry has been working with KC and the Collaboratorium for nearly a decade, always advocating the urgency of “civic-ifying” IRL, the metaverse, and worlds not yet imagined. His substack, FOMO, is obsessed with the interplay between culture and civics.

    John Mack

    Artist, Author

    John Mack is an artist, photographer, author, lecturer and the founder of the nonprofit initiative Life Calling, whose mission is to foster awareness and balance for society in the Digital Age. Mack is a 2022 honoree of The Explorer’s Club 50: Fifty people changing the world who the world needs to know about. Mack has recently published two books, A Land Between Worlds: The Shifting Poetry of the Great American Landscape, and Notes to Selfie: Bits of Truth in a Phoney World. Additionally, Mack serves as a board member of Fairplay, an organization that strives to create a world where kids can be kids, free from the false promises of marketers and the manipulations of Big Tech. He has served as an adjunct lecturer for the Graduate program of Design at the University of Lisbon. He currently lives between London and Seville.

     

     

    John Mack (moderator)

    Artist, Author

    John Mack is an artist, photographer, author, lecturer and the founder of the nonprofit initiative Life Calling, whose mission is to foster awareness and balance for society in the Digital Age. Mack is a 2022 honoree of The Explorer’s Club 50: Fifty people changing the world who the world needs to know about. Mack has recently published two books, A Land Between Worlds: The Shifting Poetry of the Great American Landscape, and Notes to Selfie: Bits of Truth in a Phoney World. Additionally, Mack serves as a board member of Fairplay, an organization that strives to create a world where kids can be kids, free from the false promises of marketers and the manipulations of Big Tech. He has served as an adjunct lecturer for the Graduate program of Design at the University of Lisbon. He currently lives between London and Seville.

    Jonathan Haidt

    Professor, NYU

    Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultural and political divisions. Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis (2006) and of The New York Times bestsellers The Righteous Mind (2012) and The Coddling of the American Mind (2018, with Greg Lukianoff).  He has given four TED talks. In 2019 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Since 2018 he has been studying the contributions of social media to the decline of teen mental health and the rise of political dysfunction. He is currently writing Life After Babel: Adapting to a world we can no longer share.

    Jules Terpak

    Digital Wellness Creator

    Jules Terpak is a video-first content creator who covers tech and digital culture and writes advice columns for The Washington Post.

    Justin Hendrix (moderator)

    Professor, CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press

    Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press, a new nonprofit media venture concerned with the intersection of technology and democracy. Previously, he was Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. He spent over a decade at The Economist in roles including Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. He is an associate research scientist and adjunct professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

    Kathleen Cohen

    Tech Humanist, XR Immersive Strategist

    Kathleen Cohen is "Tech Humanist" and an Extended Reality (XR) Experience Strategist and with over 25 years building both user and guest experiences. Kathleen’s background includes working as an Artist and Creative Producer for DreamWorks Interactive, IBM Centers for Innovation and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. Kathleen also was the former Vice President of Digital Innovation & Integration for the National Constitution Center helping to tell the contemporary story of the U.S. Constitution. Kathleen sits on the Advisory Board of holoride (Munich); a spinout of Audi innovation piloting passenger entertainment, think VR in your car. For the past four years, Kathleen also has been the Jury Chair and Keynote speaker for the AUREA Award, a dedicated conference on excellence in Location Based Entertainment, hosted by Europa-Park in Southern Germany.

    Kathleen’s consultancy, the Collaboratorium focuses on XR Research, XR Strategy & Production and Public Engagement. Kathleen was recently speaking at the Milken Global Conference alongside Deepak Chopra taking a deeper look into the Metaverse. Her latest talks are Being Human, Becoming Human and Beyond Human, IRL vs. XR, The Future and Present Converge(s) and Meet Your Digital Twin, a talk about the land rush to recreating humans. 

    Kathleen recently completed the 1st immersive artist-in-residency project for a National Endowment For The Arts funded Arts Organization, Surel’s Place in the state of Idaho working alongside the University of Idaho's Virtual Technology & Design Research Lab, and BlackBox VR -- with key learnings from Indigenous Science and the Neurodivergent communities.

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathleencohen

    Larissa May

    Founder #HalftheOther Story

    Larissa May (Larz) is a global marketing guru and founder of #HalfTheStory, a non-profit dedicated to empowering the next generation's relationship with social media. In 2020, Larz was named one of Business Insider's Rising Stars in Brand Marketing for her role in launching multiple million dollar ventures (Otherland and Kin Euphorics). She also created a grassroots community that pioneered a nationwide conversation about the importance of digital wellbeing for youth. Her efforts in community building have led to the founding of the Global Day of Unplugging, an internationally recognized day to divest from technology and plug back into life. Larz has been dubbed a Digital Wellness activist by Time, Forbes, Refinery29, Good Morning America, and NBC. To date, #HalfTheStory has become a leading youth 501(c)3, receiving over 30,000 stories from 99 countries around the world. From political figures, to leaders in tech, Larissa’s work has permeated all facets of life and business and her voice continues to carry a new generation of digital activists.

    Laura Ó Reilly

    Artist/Technologist

    Laura Ó Reilly is an interdisciplinary artist and technologist who grew up in New York City. Laura is an alumna of The New Museum’s creative tech incubator, NEW INC, where she built and led Wallplay Network. Ó Reilly creates new media art experiences that are frameworks for regenerative communities. Her current initiative, Technology Gap, created “Demystifying NFTs: Learn How to Create Eco-Responsible NFTs”, a workshop/award program presented by New York Foundation For The Arts (NYFA) and made possible by Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Technology Gap is an eco tech-art initiative that aims to make learning about energy-efficient blockchain technology accessible, by teaching through the lens of ecology and digital permaculture. Ó Reilly’s upcoming metaverse project, SUN IN THE MACHINE: Experiments In Embodied Ecology, a six-part somatic art film, game, NFT series, and podcast explores practicing alchemy through the six cosmic processes of transformation: growth, digestion, elimination, crime (disease), healing, and regeneration through a daily art improv practice.

    https://www.instagram.com/lor.earth

    Marshall Davis Jones

    Voice Artist, and Coach

    Marshall Davis Jones is a master communicator.

    He has written and voiced for companies like Microsoft, SAP and the Four Seasons.

    He’s performed and taught performance as an ambassador for the US Embassy in Trinidad and El Salvador.

    As a voice coach he has worked with renowned speakers, industry leaders and various organizations from youth development to law enforcement. 

    He sits on the advisory board for tech companies as an expert on human vocal performance.

    Besides writing and performing poetry globally, he has been a narrative consultant for two documentaries (one winning the Kaiser Permanente Thrive Award).

    He appears as himself in Ray Romano’s Tribeca Film Festival acclaimed Somewhere in Queens.

    He’s also had poems flown by NASA into space. That was fun.

    Maya Georgieva

    XR Futurist, Metaverse Strategist, Author

    Maya is the Senior Director of the Innovation Center and XR, AI, and Quantum Labs at The New School. She leads a team driving innovation focused on immersive storytelling, spatial computing, AI, Quantum Computing, future interfaces, and design. Maya teaches the signature Immersive Storytelling course at Parsons School of Design and often speaks about the Metaverse and frontier technologies like AI and Quantum and speculative futures. Her work has been featured at SXSW, the MIT Media Lab, The Atlantic, The Economist, and the Fulbright Program, among others. She is the co-author and principal investigator of the State of XR and Immersive Learning Report. She has authored white papers on the future of education and immersive learning in EDUCAUSE Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education. Maya actively writes and speaks on the topics of the metaverse, immersive storytelling, and the future of learning, creativity, and work and consults organizations and startups in this space. She has been named one of the 30 Higher Education Influencers to follow in 2022.

    She is also the co-founder of Digital Bodies, an award-winning website focusing on VR/AR/MR and their impact on media and society. She has worked with Google, HP, Microsoft, Intel, Facebook, and various education and non-profit organizations on developing immersive experiences, digital strategy, and innovation. Maya has spoken at United Nations and European Commission on education, policy, and corporate Innovation forums.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/mayaig

     

     

     

    Maya Lilly

    Fixer

    Maya Lilly (she/her) is a film and tv producer who helps the climate movement get better at telling its own tales. She was the producer for acclaimed documentarian Lauren Greenfield for many years (Queen of Versailles, Always Like a Girl commercial) and produced the feature docs Generation Wealth and The Big Fix, as well as several docuseries about Black resistance and undocumented narratives. She is currently the producer of original climate content for The YEARS Project, the team that did the Emmy-winning Years of Living Dangerously with James Cameron. She is focused on uplifting frontline BIPOC climate narratives, and has worked with the Navajo, Hopi, Anishinaabe, Gwich’in, Cancer Alley communities, Moloka’i indigenous, climate journalists, and pipeline protestors.

    Nick Johnson

    First Pokemon Go player to catch all 142 Pokemon in the US

    Nick Johnson is the first Pokémon Go player to catch all the available Pokémon in America. And then he went on a mission across the globe for the rest.

    https://twitter.com/nlj_1

    Nikhil Swaminathan

    Grist Interim CEO and Editor in Chief

    Nikhil oversees Grist’s Editorial program, and the organization more broadly in this capacity as Interim CEO. Under Nikhil’s direction, Grist Editorial has won numerous awards and published major investigations. Nikhil began his tenure at Grist as Senior Justice Editor, founding the Environmental Justice Desk. He’s held editorial positions at Scientific American, Al Jazeera America, GOOD, Archaeology and others. Prior to joining Grist, he was in the inaugural class of Ida B. Wells fellows at The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

    Pita Juarez

    Fixer

    Pita Juarez -A queer, immigrant woman of Guatemalan descent, Pita Juarez is a filmmaker, strategist, storyteller, organizer, and creative, based in Phoenix. With roots in the progressive movements, Pita challenges the “status quo” by shifting cultural narratives, empowering marginalized communities, and uplifting unspoken stories while transcending traditional media boundaries in the fight for environmental justice.

    Richard Garriott

    Game Developer, Entrepreneur, Private Astronaut

    Richard Garriott de Cayeux currently serves as the President of the Explorers Club. He is a founding father of the videogame industry and the commercial spaceflight industry, a flown astronaut, and the first explorer to have explored pole to pole, orbited the Earth, and reached the deepest point in the Ocean.

    Richard has been inducted into the computer gaming hall of fame and received the industry lifetime achievement award. He is credited with creating the now ubiquitous term “avatar” for one’s virtual self and the category of massively multiplayer games (MMORPGs). He authored the acclaimed Ultima Series and has built 3 leading gaming companies: Origin Systems (sold to Electronic Arts), Destination Games (sold to NCsoft) and Portalarium.

    As a principal shaper of the commercial spaceflight industry, he cofounded Space Adventures, the only company to arrange space flights for private citizens and is the sixth private astronaut to live aboard the International Space Station. The son of a NASA astronaut, he became the first second-generation astronaut, served on NASA advisory Council, and has been a key leader in civilian and commercial space through institutions such as the Challenger Center for Science Education, the XPRIZE Foundation, and Space Adventures.

    Richard Louv

    Journalist, Author

    Richard Louv is a journalist and author of ten books, including Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, Our Wild Calling: How Connecting With Animals Can Transform Our Lives - And Save Theirs, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, and Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life: 500 Ways to Enrich Your Family’s Health & Happiness.

    He coined the term “nature-deficit disorder,” a concept first introduced in Last Child in the Woods; and speaks internationally on the importance of children’s and adults’ exposure to nature for their health, and on the need for environmental protection and preservation for greater access to nature and the health of the Earth.

    https://twitter.com/richlouv

    Save The Humans

    Social Organization

    AGO is a movement accelerator. We bridge the gap between remarkable organizations and the creative, tech, and strategic expertise that can help them succeed. We are working on a new climate movement. “Save the Humans” is a joyful revolution, created for humans, by humans. It brings a fresh perspective to the climate crisis by reigniting connection and catalyzing positive action through humor and a life-centric reframe. This movement is an inclusive one and will create conditions for participation for people of every background. Initial steps include a series of short films, a website and social hub, and real-life activations - but ultimately we aim to create something that people can take on and make their own.

    https://articlegroup.org/

    Sinead Bovell (moderator)

    Futurist, MBA, B.B.A Finance

    Sinead Bovell is a futurist and the founder WAYE, a tech education company that prepares youth for a future with advanced technologies.

    To date, Sinead has educated over 200, 000 young entrepreneurs on the future of technology, and has spoken at world renowned institutions including the United Nations, Cornell University, and Bloomberg, on the intersection of business, technology and the future. Most recently, Sinead was appointed to the United Nations International Telecommunications Union to offer strategic guidance on global digital cooperation and bridging the digital divide. This year, Sinead will be teaming up with Wired Magazine to bring concepts in advanced technologies to the masses through accessible video programming.

    Prior to founding WAYE, Sinead received her MBA from the University of Toronto and worked as a management consultant for A.T. Kearney.

    Susan Linn

    Author, WHO'S RAISING THE KIDS

    Susan Linn is a psychologist, award-winning ventriloquist, and a world-renowned expert on creative play and the impact of media and commercial marketing on children. She was the Founding Director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (now called Fairplay) and is currently research associate at Boston Children’s Hospital and lecturer on psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. The author of Consuming Kids, The Case for Make Believe, and Who’s Raising the Kids? (all published by The New Press), she lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

    https://twitter.com/drsusanlinn?lang=en

    Tali Horowitz (moderator)

    East Coast Education Director

    Tali Horowitz is the East Coast Education Director at Common Sense, where she works with educators to empower students and their families to meaningfully harness the power of media and technology for learning and life. In this work, she partners with state-level organizations, school districts, including the New York City Department of Education, and community organizations to provide consultations, professional development (both in-person and virtual), and conference presentations. Tali has been an educator for almost 20 years in a variety of educational settings, including the NYCDOE and the San Francisco Unified School District. In 2013, she received a Fulbright Fellowship to research culturally responsive pedagogy in New Zealand.

    Technology Gap / New York Foundation for the Arts

    Education

    Demystifying NFTs is a two-part workshop series and award program where artists, performers, writers, and cultural workers can learn how to create eco-responsible NFTs.

    While NFTs have disrupted the art world, many of us cannot explain how this technology functions. The conversation is often characterized by inaccessible jargon, which is further complicated by the fact that blockchains have become increasingly known for their negative environmental impact—making many hesitant to enter the space.

    For this reason, NYFA partnered with artist/technologist Laura Ó Reilly, who developed this program as part of her new Technology Gap initiative in an effort to ground crypto back to earth. Demystifying NFTs presents an accessible, environmentally conscious alternative to creating and stewarding NFTs.

    Thanasi Dilos

    Co-Founder Civics Unplugged

    Thanasi's goal is to assemble the impact avengers and build things that do good.
    In his senior year of High School (2020), he co-founded Civics Unplugged, a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) social enterprise that trains and funds young civic innovators across the globe. To date, Civics Unplugged has worked with 2,500 fellows from all 50 States and 74 countries around the world. CU Fellows have been appointed to office, admitted to top universities, and raised a combined $2,000,000 in impact capital. After graduating high school, he chose not to attend college and focus 100% on building various social impact organizations including: Gotham Labs, a venture accelerator assembling the social impact avengers, investting in regenerative economics with Aera Force, and The Dream DAO, which funds and mentor young people to work in web3 x social impact.

    Tristan Harris

    Technology Ethicist

    Tristan Harris has spent his career studying how today’s major technology platforms have increasingly become the social fabric by which we live and think, wielding dangerous power over our ability to make sense of the world. Named to the TIME 100 “Next Leaders Shaping the Future” and Rolling Stone Magazine’s “25 People Shaping the World,” Tristan is Co-Founder & President of the Center for Humane Technology, which is catalyzing a comprehensive shift toward humane technology that operates for the common good, strengthening our capacity to tackle our biggest global challenges. He is the Co-Host of “Your Undivided Attention,” consistently among the top ten technology podcasts on Apple Podcasts, which explores how social media’s race for attention is destabilizing society and the vital insights we need to envision solutions. Tristan was also the primary subject of the acclaimed Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” which unveiled the hidden machinations behind social media and has reached an estimated 100 million people worldwide, streaming in 190 countries in 30 languages. He has briefed heads of state, technology company CEOs, and members of the US Congress, in addition to mobilizing millions of people around the world through mainstream media campaigns.

    https://twitter.com/tristanharris?lang=en

    Yuval Noah Harari

    Historian, Philosopher, Author

    Prof. Yuval Noah Harari is a historian, philosopher, and the bestselling author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, and Sapiens: A Graphic History. His books have sold 35 Million copies in 65 languages, and he is considered one of the world’s most influential public intellectuals today.

    Born in Israel in 1976, Harari received his PhD from the University of Oxford in 2002, and is currently a lecturer at the Department of History in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2019, following the international success of his books, Yuval Noah Harari and Itzik Yahav co-founded Sapienship: a social impact company with projects in the fields of entertainment and education. Sapienship’s main goal is to focus the public conversation on the most important global challenges facing the world today.

    www.life-calling.org
    Life Calling is a project of the Giving Back Fund, Tax ID: 04-3367888, a non-profit corporation with federal tax-exempt status from the IRS under section 501(c)3.
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