Upcoming Events: Science & Technology

Thu 7/30

Image - Big Science and the Launch of the Military Industrial Complex

Big Science and the Launch of the Military Industrial Complex

Date: Thu, July 30, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With journalist Michael Hiltzik.

Michael Hiltzik, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist, Los Angeles Times

The birth of Big Science can be traced to Berkeley, California, nearly nine decades ago, when a resourceful young scientist pondered his new invention and declared, “I’m going to be famous!” Ernest Orlando Lawrence’s cyclotron would change our understanding of the basic building blocks of nature. Its influence would be felt in academia and international politics. It was the beginning of Big Science.

Since the 1930s, the scale of scientific endeavors has grown exponentially. The first particle accelerator cost less than $100 and could be held in its creator’s palm, while its descendant, the Large Hadron Collider, cost $10 billion and is 17 miles in circumference. Scientists have invented nuclear weapons, put a man on the moon, and examined nature at the subatomic scale – all through Big Science, the industrial-scale research paid for by governments and corporations that have driven the great scientific projects of our time. Join the discussion about the incredible story of how one invention changed the world and of the man principally responsible for it all.

Tue 8/25

Image - How We Listen to Music

How We Listen to Music

Date: Tue, August 25, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Joel Selvin, Music Critic, SF Chronicle; Author, Here Comes the Night
Davey D, Hip Hop Journalist; Founder, Hard Knock Radio, KPFA
Emma Silvers, Interactive Producer, KQED
Gabe Meline, Music Editor and Curator, KQED Arts - Moderator

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Streaming has given everyone instant, and mostly free, access to any type of music they wish. This music revolution seems like a giant leap forward for listeners and aspiring artists alike. However, Gabe Meline sees this as potentially harmful to both the art and the industry. How can the industry make any money when listeners can stream a song free? How does a musician get the time their song deserves when the average listener has an increasingly diminishing attention span? Award-winning music writer and editor Gabe Meline considers the implications of our listening habits for the near future in which an elevated form of art is becoming increasingly disposable.

Music Matters

Tue 9/1

Image - Human Need not Apply: The Age of Artificial Intelligence

Human Need not Apply: The Age of Artificial Intelligence

Date: Tue, September 01, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Jerry Kaplan

Jerry Kaplan, Entrepreneur; Technical Innovator; Author; Futurist

Computers with artificial intelligence, or AI, date back to the 1950s, and since then, the technology has advanced to all sorts of new levels. It seems that the average American now depends on AI several times throughout the day. Computers aren’t just computers anymore. They are becoming much more than that, and the advancement of this technology has many people discussing the dangers of “synthetic intellects.”

Jerry Kaplan, serial entrepreneur, technical innovator, best-selling author and futurist, is one of the many who questions the impact of AIs in our society. Join us as Kaplan informs us of the several eye-opening possibilities, such as robots transcending the factory floor, working alongside human laborers of all kinds, and how the law is likely to recognize AIs as “artificial persons” for many purposes.

Tue 9/15

Image - Science and Practice of Mindfulness Meditation in Sports, Work and Life

Science and Practice of Mindfulness Meditation in Sports, Work and Life

Date: Tue, September 15, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With an opportunity to try it!

JoAnn Dahlkoetter, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist; Olympic Coach; Author, Your Performing Edge
Philippe Goldin, Ph.D., Psychology, Neuroscience; Assistant Professor, UC-Davis; Researcher, Stanford

Meditation is embraced by world-class athletes, Fortune 500 corporations and by public figures such as Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Clint Eastwood and Rupert Murdoch. This ancient practice is often used to improve mindfulness, spirituality and to reduce stress, but is it something worth including in your day to day or just another spiritual/religious paradigm? Our panelists will discuss the underlying science of meditation and answer your questions about improving your happiness as well as your physical, mental and emotional performance. At the end, we’ll all have an opportunity to try it.

Thu 9/24

Image - The Revolution in Small Satellites

The Revolution in Small Satellites

Date: Thu, September 24, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Space opens up to new entrants...

Mike Safyan, Director of Launch and Regulatory Affairs, Planet Labs

A revolution is happening in the space industry. What used to be the domain of nation states and a handful of big corporations is now accessible to students and startups. Planet Labs, a local San Francisco startup, is launching fleets of small satellites to image the entire Earth every day. Mike Safyan, one of Planet's founding team members, will tell the story of how Planet Labs went from garage to orbit to create an unprecedented view of the Earth's changes. As space opens up to new entrants, more people than ever before will have access to radical new tools and data streams to help solve global challenges, such as deforestation, urban sprawl and food security.

Safyan is the director of launch and regulatory affairs at Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based firm that designs, builds and operates the world’s largest fleet of Earth imaging satellites. He has been involved with the launch and operations of over 100 satellites to date.

Wed 10/7

Image -  The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine W

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World

Date: Wed, October 07, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Professor Pedro Domingos

Pedro Domingos, Professor, University of Washington; Co-founder, International Machine Learning Society

Machine learning is the automation of discovery – the scientific method on steroids – that enables intelligent robots and computers to program themselves. No field of science today is more important yet more shrouded in mystery. Pedro Domingos gives us a peek inside the learning machines that power giants like Google all the way down to the smartphone in your pocket. These programs are already helping us fight the war on cancer and predict the movements of the stock market, and they are making great headway with instant language translation and discovering new laws of nature.

Leading us through machine learning’s five major schools of thought (neuroscience, evolution, psychology, physics, and statistics) Domingos assembles a blueprint for the future universal learner – the Master Algorithm – and discusses what it means for you and for the future of business, science and society.

Wed 10/28

Image - Understanding Digital Video and the Future of Social Media

Understanding Digital Video and the Future of Social Media

Date: Wed, October 28, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Jon Leland, Founding Director of Creative Services, USA Network; Author, Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts Every Business MUST Know

Social media, mobile marketing and cloud-based computing are the most widely understood mega-trends that are revolutionizing online communications. In this eye-opening presentation, media innovator and pioneer Jon Leland goes a step further to illuminate how these new forms of multimedia—and digital video in particular—are creating revolutionary new channels that are democratizing media consumption and creation. Consumers are more empowered, but so are businesses and organizations as well as content creators. Anyone can now reach customers, audiences and constituencies in entirely new ways.

Surprisingly, in Leland's view, the real power is fueled by humanistic values, such as authentic engagement. Leland will explain the long-term implications of these fresh new digital video and social media ecosystems, including the veritable explosion in video-based pay-per-click advertising (via Facebook and YouTube), new content sponsorship trends (via Kickstarter and Patreon) and the latest music offering from Apple.

Fri 11/13

Image - The Orbital Perspective

The Orbital Perspective

Date: Fri, November 13, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With author Ron Garan

Ron Garan, Former NASA Astronaut; Author, The Orbital Perspective

Garan, a retired NASA astronaut who logged 178 days in space and 71 million miles in orbit, will discuss his perspective of his experience as an astronaut and his time spent on the International Space Station. He was a long-term resident of the ISS, where he lived and worked with U.S. and Russian crewmates. He also served aboard the space shuttle Discovery. He left NASA in 2013, but not before becoming the first person ever to give a TED Talk from space.

Today Garan applies three-dimensional thinking, or “the orbital perspective,” to long-term global problem solving – working, primarily, to create a more sustainable, peaceful planet, and combat world hunger, thirst and poverty.?

As founder of Manna Energy Foundation, a nonprofit social-enterprise incubator, Garan helps address the developing world’s need for fresh water, renewable energy and access to communications. He started Fragile Oasis, a one-of-a-kind humanitarian initiative connecting Earth dwellers with astronauts in space