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The 2012 World Science Festival took place on May 30-June 3 in New York City. We offered a slate of exciting new programs and old favorites this year, all aimed at unlocking the beauty and complexity of science for everyone. Sign up for our newsletter to stay connected and get exclusive interviews, stories, and updates on upcoming programs.

THE CREATOR: ALAN TURING AND THE FUTURE OF THINKING MACHINES

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Date: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Time: 08:00 PM-10:00 PM
Venue: Museum of the Moving Image
Moderator: Tim McHenry
Participants: Al + Al, Yann LeCun, Janna Levin, Josh Tenenbaum


Join the world premiere screening of The Creator, a beautiful and surreal short-form film by award-winning British filmmakers Al+Al, which follows sentient computers from the future on a mystical odyssey to discover their creator: legendary computer scientist Alan Turing. Decades ago, Turing famously asked, ‘Can machines think?’ and ever since, the notion of computers exceeding human intelligence has transfixed researchers and popular culture alike. Marking the centenary of Turing’s birth, The Creator will launch a wide-ranging conversation among leading computer scientists and physicists about the promise and perils of artificial intelligence, as we take a personal look at the remarkable and tragic life of this computer visionary.

This movie contains adult themes. Some content may not be appropriate for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.

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Moderator

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Producer

Tim McHenry, the program producer at New York City’s Rubin Museum of Art, presents theater-going audiences with what the Huffington Post has called “some of the most original and inspired programs on the arts and consciousness in New York City.” His public programs explore the wider implications of the museum’s collection and art exhibitions through music, film, performance, and intimate conversation. To mark the exhibition and publication of psychiatrist C.G. Jung’s Red Book, for example, McHenry put Jungian psychoanalysts on stage with the likes of Alice Walker, Sarah Silverman and David Byrne. He brought physicists together with Philip Glass, Charlie Kaufman, Laurie Anderson and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur to explore the universe in connection with an exhibition on the cosmos in 2010. He has invited great minds such as Oliver Sacks, Mike Nichols and Ken Burns to come to the museum to “talk about nothing.”

The museum’s popular series of Brainwave talks, which McHenry just produced for the fifth year in a row, has paired renowned neuroscientists such as Eric Kandel and Daniel Kahneman with the likes of Tom Wolfe, Lou Reed, Moby, Amy Tan and Paul Simon. McHenry has also organized art experiences that break the traditional mold, such as the Dream-Over—a sleepover at the museum for grown-ups—and an event that converted the whole building into an olfactory Memory Palace.

Participants

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Artists

Since 2001 AL Holmes and AL Taylor have created an award winning body of films commissioned by Animate, Arts Council England, BFI, Channel 4 television, Cornerhouse Cinema, FACT gallery, Film London, MuHKA, Southbank Centre and the World Science Festival, exhibiting internationally in galleries, site specific installations, film festivals, television and concert halls. In 2008 the duo’s critically acclaimed solo exhibition Eternal Youth at FACT for the European Capital of Culture celebrations toured to the National Art Museum of China for the Olympic Games. In 2009, inspired by the historical and technological significance of the site, they transformed the first railway station in the world into a space for the arts and were awarded the Liverpool Art Prize. In 2010 they collaborated with Philip Glass, Brian Greene and David Hwang on Icarus at the Edge of Time. In 2011 they created Superstitious Robots a trilogy of shorts for Channel 4 television. In 2012 they will premiere The Creator, a new sci-fi short commissioned to celebrate Alan Turing’s centenary at the Museum of Moving Image in New York.

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Computer Scientist

Yann LeCun is Silver Professor of Computer Science and Neural Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and the Center for Neural Science of New York University. After an Electrical Engineer Diploma from ESIEE (Paris), he obtained a PhD in Computer Science from Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris) in 1987, and became a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. He joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, NJ, in 1988, and became head of the Image Processing Research Department at AT&T Labs-Research in 1996. He joined NYU as a professor in 2003, after a brief tenure at the NEC Research Institute in Princeton. His current interests include machine learning, computer perception and vision, robotics, and computational neuroscience. He has published over 150 technical papers and book chapters on these topics as well as on neural networks, handwriting recognition, image processing and compression, and VLSI design. His handwriting recognition technology is used by several banks around the world to read checks. His image compression technology, called DjVu, is used by hundreds of web sites and publishers and millions of users to access scanned documents on the Web, and his image recognition methods are used in deployed systems by companies such as Google, Microsoft, NEC, France Telecom and several startup companies for document recognition, human-computer interaction, image indexing, and video analytics. He is the co-founder of MuseAmi, a music technology company.

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Astrophysicist & Writer

Janna Levin is an astrophysicist and writer. She has contributed to the understanding of black holes, the cosmology of extra dimensions, and gravitational waves in the shape of spacetime. Levin is the author of the popular-science book, How the Universe Got Its Spots and the Pen/Bingham prize winning book, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines. Levin is a Professor at Barnard/Columbia and was recently named a Guggenheim Fellow.

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Cognitive Scientist

Josh Tenenbaum is a professor of Computational Cognitive Science in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He studies learning, reasoning and perception in humans and machines, with the twin goals of understanding human intelligence in computational terms and bringing computers closer to human capacities.

He and his collaborators have pioneered accounts of human intelligence based on inference in sophisticated probabilistic models. His current work focuses on understanding how people come to be able to learn new concepts from very sparse data—how we “learn to learn”—and on characterizing the nature and origins of people’s intuitive theories about the physical and social worlds.

Tenenbaum received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1999, and was a member of the Stanford University faculty in Psychology and (by courtesy) Computer Science from 1999 to 2002. Several of his papers have received outstanding paper awards or best student paper awards at the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), NIPS, and Cognitive Science conferences. He is the recipient of the New Investigator Award from the Society for Mathematical Psychology (2005), the Early Investigator Award from the Society of Experimental Psychologists (2007), the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association (2008), and the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences (2011).

Photo Credit – Donna Coveney

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