From DAD to DADBOT: How Virtual Immortality Preserves People and Personality
Can technology save the voices of people you love after they pass away, and create new conversations? Hear how the Dadbot was created and preserved the conversation style and stories of James Vlahos’ father, and how near future voice computing and memory-sharing services will allow departed human personalities to live inside computers. Then consider the technical potential, key hurdles, ethical questions and social benefits of virtual immortality that will exist beyond the human body.
James Vlahos invented the Dadbot, a conversational avatar created when his father was dying of cancer. He is the cofounder of HereAfter (hereafter.ai), which uses data and conversational AI to share and preserve life stories. James is also the author of TALK TO ME: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way that We Live, Work, and Think. He plays bass in the soul jazz group Seven Way Split and has done ski mountaineering in Iran.
Oakland’s Postwar Redevelopment Projects in Archival Photographs
Urban renewal programs in West Oakland built highways and infrastructure, and also forced nine thousand West Oakland residents from their homes and destroyed the architecture of a thriving community of color. Recently 40,000 Oakland Redevelopment Agency photographs documenting the city’s transformation from 1964-2000 were rediscovered, and they provide a counter narrative to the modern focus on ruin porn declension narratives. Instead, they remind us that many contemporary communities organized against West Oakland urban renewal, with responses that continue to have a lasting grassroots impact. See photographs of Oakland redevelopment, and learn how photography archives can point the way towards historical truth.
Moriah Ulinskas is an audiovisual archivist PhD candidate in Public History at UC Santa Barbara and founding member of the Community Archiving Workshop, a collective of film and video archivists working to help communities maintain intellectual control over their recordings. She has been organizing the photographs left by the Oakland Redevelopment Agency since 2016 and has lived in West Oakland —the neighborhood most impacted by the ORA— for over 20 years. Moriah has two small dogs, two rather large teenagers, and still shoots, develops and prints her own photographs.
Using Synthetic Biology and Artificial Intelligence to Design Novel Cells
See how new synthetic biology is designing life to unique specifications, and how breakthrough artificial intelligence is crucial to the next generation of this technology. From the creation of coats made of spider silk that didn’t come from spiders to renewable biofuels using plants as the only input, new products rely on the ability of AI to combine, tweak, design and create new, living, and supremely functional cells. Learn how machine learning is enhancing novel synthetic biology, and consider how this will impact the modern world.
Hector Garcia Martin founded the Quantitative Metabolic Modeling Group at Berkeley Lab, where he has been using math and computers to engineer novel cells for over a decade. He also loves cooking, as befits someone born in the Basque Country.
With music from DJ Rubberband Girl, drinks from The UPTOWN, eats available for purchase from Grilled Cheese Guy, and info from the great Oakland Public Library.