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With Dan Chen (Research Assistant, MIT Media Lab).
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 06:00 PM    Cost: $30
Infinity Gallery NYC, 79 Leonard St

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THINK TANK #2: Screening of the Film Automata & Discussion on Future Robot/Human Relationships & Conflicts with Dan Chen

The Goal of this Think Tank

The goal of this event is to explore several of the most difficult & troubling implications of creating the next generation of robots that technologists, scientists, ethicists & governments are grappling with today. Using the 2014 scifi movie Automata as a guide for a cross-disciplinary, interactive discussion covering robot ethics, algorithmic biases, robot/human intimacy (physical & emotional), rise of the workforce, & how humans we will live & work alongside robots, our expert guest speaker, Dan Chen, will walk us through how experts are thinking about these ideas today & some additional considerations to help us grasp these big ideas.

Dan Chen designs human machines. He is an interaction designer, technology investigator & engineer who experiments with new ways of engaging with robots. He designs technology that explores human/machine interaction, identity, & augmented intimacy. Read his full bio below (yaaay Dan!).

This is a non-technical event. Anyone & everyone can participate: marketers, advertisers, developers, engineers, product managers, investors, data analysts, students, policy wonks, aliens from Mars -- all are welcome!
The Movie: Automata (2014)

If you Google "Automata," two different Wikipedia entries defining the word appears at the top of the search results:

(1) Automata theory -- the study of abstract machines & automata, as well as the computational problems that can be solved using them. It is a theory in theoretical computer science & discrete mathematics (a subject of study in both mathematics & computer science). The word automata (the plural of automaton) comes from the Greek word , which means "self-acting.

(2) Autmata Movie -- a 2014 Spanish-Bulgarian science fiction action film starring Antonio Banderas. In the year 2044, Jacq Vaucan (played by Banderas) - an insurance investigator for ROC, a company that manufactures Pilgrims (worker robots that have two unalterable protocols: they cannot harm any form of life, & they may not repair, modify or alter themselves or other robots in any way), discovers that someone is illegally modifying the robots to override the robot's second protocol to not repair itself or other robots. This, it turns out is a big threat to humanity.

Don't let the bad reviews fool you. Most reviews highlight the fact that the film disappointingly relies on tired scifi Hollywood cliches that go nowhere. But if there's one thing that most critics who reviewed this movie agree on, it's that this film (despite its shortcomings) is full of extremely compelling ideas & questions about the eventual dominance of robots in our near-future society (several critics have called the presentation of the ideas brilliant). They also agree that it is a visually stunning film depicting a dystopia & various classifications of robots that will give us much food for thought.
The Discussion & Thought Exercise

Ultimately, the movie asks: What are the unintended consequences we will face building robots that can be hacked to achieve self-actualization, self-repair, & to inflict maxim damage on humanity?

This event will pick up where the filmmakers left off & ask participants:

How realistic are some of the ideas about rogue robots in this film (which experts like Elon Musk & Stephen Hawking also warn us about) & when would these events become possible?
What should we do today in our daily lives at home, at work, & in our governments to lay the foundation for positive robot/human interaction & safeguards?
How should we design robots today to prepare us for the inevitable intimacy we will have with them in the near-future (and what social & psychological hurdles will we need to overcome to accept this new reality)?

This will be a hands-on, interactive thought exercise. Lite food & beverages included.

Dan Chen is an interaction designer, technology investigator & engineer.

He has several degrees including a MAS from MIT, an MFA in digital media from RISD & a BFA in communication design from UConn. He has over 7 years of design experience. Previous positions include Senior Designer at IDEO, Interaction Designer at Johnson & Johnson, Product Designer The Economist Group & Web Designer at Morningstar

His personal work has been featured in CNET, The Huffington Post, the verge, Engadget & Daily Mail. Dan was invited as a speaker at TEDx Viennam, RISD, Brown University & School of Visual Arts. His work was exhibited in Vitra Design Museum, MAK Wien, Design Museum Gent & Ars Electronica.

Working in the realms of robotics, communication design, interaction design & product design, Dan explores the new ways of communication & human experience through working prototypes & storytelling, inviting a reflective evaluation & implication.
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