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TO BE OR NOT TO BE BIONIC: On Immortality and Superhumanism

Saturday, June 2, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm EST

“We can rebuild him. We have the technology,” began the opening sequence of the hugely popular 70’s TV show, “The Six Million Dollar Man.” Forty-five years later, how close are we, in reality, to that sci-fi fantasy? More thornily, now that artificial intelligence may soon pass human intelligence, and the merging of human with machine is potentially on the table, what will it then mean to “be human”? Join us for an important discussion with scientists, technologists and ethicists about the path toward superhumanism and the quest for immortality.

The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.


Mariette DiChristinaEditor

Mariette DiChristina is Director of Editorial & Publishing for Nature Research Magazines, overseeing the global editorial teams for Nature magazine, Partnership & Custom Media and Scientific American, for which she also serves as editor in chief.

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Jessica BrillhartImmersive Director

Jessica Brillhart is an Immersive Director, Writer, and Theorist. She’s the founder of the independent studio, Vrai Pictures, and is on the roster for Mssng Peces. Previously, Brillhart was the Principal Filmmaker for VR at Google where she worked with engineers to develop Google Jump.

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Wendy JuRoboticist

Wendy Ju is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Science at Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, where she leads the Future Autonomy Research (FAR) Lab. Her work focuses on ways that interactive devices like robots can communicate with people without interrupting or intruding.

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S. Matthew LiaoBioethicist, Philosopher

S. Matthew Liao is Arthur Zitrin Professor of Bioethics, Director of the Center for Bioethics, and Affiliated Professor in the Department of Philosophy at New York University. He is the author of The Right to Be Loved, Moral Brains: The Neuroscience of Morality, and over 60 articles in philosophy and bioethics.

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Hod LipsonRoboticist

Hod Lipson is a roboticist who works in the areas of artificial intelligence and digital manufacturing. An award-winning researcher, teacher, and communicator, Lipson enjoys sharing the beauty of robotics though his books, essays, public lectures, and radio and television appearances.

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Max TegmarkPhysicist, AI researcher, Author

President of the Future of Life Institute, Max Tegmark advocates for positive use of technology. He is also a professor doing physics and AI research at MIT.

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