C Burns

The Future of Humanity Conference: The Digital Divide

C Burns
The Future of Humanity Conference: The Digital Divide

Today, we are confronted with technologies that challenge our basic assumptions about human society.   

We cannot avoid a high tech society, but we can shape it…

Join us September 24, 2016 to explore The Future of Humanity:  The Digital Divide

To launch our monthly online publication, we’re hosting a day of panels, immersive art and good company… this one-day event explores what the future means from a human perspective – not just what technologies will take us there– but deeper philosophical questions: How we will define sentience? How people will choose to live and govern themselves? How we will communicate? What is the art and ethics that humans will bring with them into this new era? 

Livestream Available at our YouTube Account

Date:            Saturday, September 24, 2016


2:30pm – Politics & Technology: The Data Arms Race                  

3:30pm – Science & Innovation:  Improving Access to Science Education and Resources

5pm – Storytelling & Experience: Creating Cultural Communities 

6pm – Keynote:  Dr. Peter Asaro  - The New School, Campaign to Stop Killer Robots     

Mixer & Exhibits                                                                                                    2pm- 8pm

AfterParty - Featuring Mamajuana                                                                       7pm

PANELS: The Digital Divide

In this installment, we will explore who gets access to the future.  How are technologies changing our society?  In what ways are they improving access to resources?  In what ways are they providing an unfair advantage to early adopters and technologists?  Our previous panels have been tech focused, this event shines a light on our culture and its rapid and unprecedented changes.  

Politics & Technology: The Data Arms Race 2:30pm

Does technology make political participation more accessible or does it provide an unfair advantage to those who can afford the data?


Erika Whillas (@erikawhillas)

Al Benninghoff (@AlBenninghoff

Ben Yee (@yben)

Benjamin Yee has been a fundraiser and Digital Director for Barack Obama, served in the NY State Senate’s CIO’s office and has founded an online platform for crowd-funding lobbying.

Ben has also been a leader at every level of the Young Democrats, including VP of the nationwide Young Democrats of America.

He is currently Secretary of the New York County Democratic Party.

Erika Whillas

Erika is an information architect and UX designer with a MPA from Columbia, and is Chief Product Officer of CoClear, a New York consultancy specializing in interactive life cycle analysis of consumer products. Erika is currently undertaking a PhD to answer the question: "Can participatory democracy be scaled with the use of digital tools to improve urban governance?” with a focus on making cities more resilient to climate change.

Science & Innovation:  Improving Access to Science Education and Resources

We’ll discuss innovations changing the world by bringing the advantages of science and science education to the world, including those without traditional access to higher education.


Lou Auguste (@TeamLiveLonger)

Dhaval Palsana (@dhavalpalsana)

Amy Kraft (@mediamacaroni)

Jeff Gomez (@Jeff_Gomez)

Moderator: Michael Watson (@MichaelDWatson1)


Jeff Gomez

Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, has the greatest job in the universe: he designs, expands, and defends the integrity of some of the biggest blockbuster worlds in all of pop culture! Jeff served as a creator for the story worlds of Magic: The Gathering, Turok Dinosaur Hunter N64, Hot Wheels World Race, and Coca-Cola Happiness Factory.

As the most renowned Transmedia Producer in the entertainment industry, Jeff takes blockbuster movies, hit videogames, and major toy brands, and develops and extends their fictional worlds across multiple media platforms. He also serves as an advisor and consultant on global trends in technology, youth culture, and social media to studio heads, publishers, licensing agencies, C-suite executives, and government leaders.

Jeff has worked on such exciting franchises as Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, James Cameron’s Avatar, Hasbro’s Transformers, Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man, 343 Studios’ Halo, and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He also teaches transmedia storytelling for social good to non-profits, educational institutions and non-government organizations across the globe, including Mexico, Colombia, Australia, and the Middle East and North Africa region.

Growing up on the rough streets of New York City, Jeff has always championed the causes of young people. His Never Surrender! seminars teach kids how to deal with bullies, and he regularly provides career counseling to imaginative teens and young adults who are facing challenges in life.

Amy Kraft

Amy is a game designer, writer, producer, and strategist with over 15 years specializing in children’s media. She co-founded Monkey Bar Collective, creator of the Monkey Spot Scavenger Hunts app. Her work includes games and ebooks for companies including Scholastic, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Spin Master, Microsoft, Barnes and Noble, Speakaboos, Hooked on Phonics, Leap Frog, and Sylvan. Amy is passionate about getting kids involved in game design, leading workshops in Scratch and card game design in a NYC public school. She has blogged about kids’ games and media for Wired’s GeekMom.com, Scholastic Parents, and her own blog, Media Macaroni. Amy lives in New York City with her husband and two kids.

Dhaval Palsana 

Dhaval is an Engineer and maker with extensive experience in product design and computer vision. He is co-founder at Alexapath at where they are trying to make cancer diagnosis more accessible by integrating smartphones and low cost hardware design. As a lead engineer he is responsible for the overall product design and our proprietary imaging stitching algorithm. Apart from this  he is a 3d printing enthusiast and loves making things as a maker, He has worked on numerous robotic projects and strongly believes that imaginations can be transformed into reality through progress in science and technology, an example of which is robots, intelligent creatures designed to perform complicated tasks. He holds a B.Tech in Mechatronics Engineering from Ganpat Univeristy, India and M.S in Mechanical Engineering from NYU. 

Lou Auguste

Lou Auguste was born in Queens, NY. A recovering film maker, Lou has been developing mobile apps since 2012. His company AlexaPath is based in Brooklyn, NY. Together with co-founder Dhaval Palsana, Auguste has developed a technique called mobile Whole Slide Imaging or mWSI. mWSI is smart phone medical slide imaging. Their solution is part hardware and part software, allowing the user to turn any standard light microscope into a powerful digital imaging device. AlexaPath is currently working with the Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad (AMHE) to create screening programs for cervical cancer in Haiti.  

Moderator: Michael Watson 

Michael Watson is an editor and social media strategist. Currently working for The History Channel as a Producer and Editor, his past work includes writing and editing for the educational Youtube Network, Vsauce, and running logistics for the social media campaign for the 2013 Oscar nominated documentary, "The Square." In 2015 he sailed through the Pacific Ocean garbage patch to collect plastic samples to send to the Ocean Cleanup Project.


Storytelling & Experience: Creating Cultural Communities

How the tools of social communications have changed our cultural development and how we can learn the paths of future society. We all have friends we made on the internet, as lives and relationships are increasingly built online, what does this mean to communities and cultures?


Lee-Sean Huang (@leesean)

Jen Begeal (@jlbhart)  

Miguel Sanchez (@MSanchezsWorld)

Moderator: Caitlin Burns (@Caitlin_Burns)


Caitlin Burns

Currently serving as Vice Chair of the Producers’ Guild of America’s New Media Council, Caitlin Burns is a Founder at Datavized, an Immersive Design and technology Lab focused on VR, WebVR and AR applications of Data Visualization. She is also an Entrepreneur in Residence for the US Fund for UNICEF.

For 10 years, Ms. Burns worked as a Transmedia Producer and Franchise Strategist for media companies dealing with emerging business models and multiplatform coordination. Past clients include Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney Fairies, Disney Descendants and Tron Legacy for Disney, James Cameron’s Avatar for Fox, Halo for Microsoft, Happiness Factory for The Coca-Cola Company, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Nickelodeon and Transformers for Hasbro. She has also worked with Showtime, Pepperidge Farm, Diageo, The Canadian Media Fund, The Oregon Health Authority, Tribeca New Media Fund, UNICEF, FEMSA, Wieden+Kennedy, Reebok, Stratasys and the US Government.

LeeSean Huang

Lee-Sean Huang is the cofounder and creative director of Foossa, a community-centered design consultancy.

His work ranges from redesigning the experience of employee health and wellness at a Fortune 500 corporation to helping agencies of the United Nations better manage their institutional knowledge and refresh their public stories in changing times. He has taught senior organizers of the Service Employees International Union ways to rethink labor organizing in a networked age, advised a major social network on the multiple and shifting meanings of friendship, and conducted research supported by the European Union to build tools to scale online citizen debate and deliberation. He recently served as a coordinator for Letter for Black Lives, a crowdsourced open letter-writing and translation project to spark intergenerational and interethnic dialogue about racial justice. He is currently coordinating a collective intelligence project on big data and social innovation for communities of color.

Lee-Sean's career in designing participation and building movements began when he was a student at Harvard, where he studied Government and engaged as a community organizer and human rights activist. He later honed his campaigning and organizing skills running online-centered campaigns forAvaaz.org and Human Rights Watch. Prior to co-founding Foossa, Lee-Sean was the founding member of the design practice at Purpose, a public-benefit consultancy that builds movements and new power models to tackle the world's biggest problems.

Lee-Sean regularly writes, speaks, and teaches about design, storytelling, and social innovation. He is a faculty member at the MFA Design for Social Innovation Program at the School of Visual Arts. He also serves as a founding trustee and treasurer of the Awesome Foundation New York, an international network of donors who give micro-grants to forward the cause of awesome in the universe.

Jen Begeal
Jen Begeal is a Digital Storyteller experienced in developing cross-platform marketing campaigns for clients such as Current TV, Verizon Fios1 and A&E. Jen has been instrumental in the strategy and management of large scale social campaigns for entertainment clients including Universal Studios, Disney and Netflix. She currently heads StoryForward NYC producing monthly events promoting New York’s film, theater, gaming and technology communities. Jen is also an adjunct professor in the New Media department at Concordia College where she teaches classes on interactive media.

Miguel Sanchez

Miguel Sanchez i2s the Founder and Creative Director of Mass Ideation, a Bronx based Digital Creative Agency specializing in Transmedia Storytelling and Emerging Technologies. Prior to creating Mass Ideation, Miguel spent 8 years in the New York digital ad world creating high impact animated and interactive experiences for some of the biggest brands in the world. In 2009 he founded Mass Ideation where he began to lead teams in creating campaigns for brands like Pepsi, Lufthansa, Coke, Lexis Nexis, IHOP and Nickelodeon to name a few. Viewing Augmented Reality as an emerging technology with a lot of room for innovation in 2011 he created ARnews.tv to chronicle and promote the best practices, examples and companies working with the technology. Miguel continues to chronicle and work with AR, VR and MR to help brands tell more immersive stories.

KEYNOTE: Dr. Peter Asaro – "Humanity in the Age of Robots" 

Automation technologies have already begun to spread from the factories and into our shared public and social spaces. As they continue to do so at an increasingly rapid pace, they will continue to disrupt and transform our cities and our social interactions. Drones, self-driving cars, and autonomous weapons are just the tip of an iceberg of autonomous robotic technologies that our techno-culture is headed towards. In this presentation I will review some of the ways in which these technologies are disrupting social conventions, and how we might navigate towards an age in which robotics serves human interests instead of technocratic imperatives.

Dr. Peter Asaro is a philosopher of science, technology and media. His work examines artificial intelligence and robotics as a form of digital media, and the ways in which technology mediates social relations and shapes our experience of the world.

His current research focuses on the social, cultural, political, legal and ethical dimensions of military robotics and UAV drones, from a perspective that combines media theory with science and technology studies. He has written widely-cited papers on lethal robotics from the perspective of just war theory and human rights. Dr. Asaro's research also examines agency and autonomy, liability and punishment, and privacy and surveillance as it applies to consumer robots, industrial automation, smart buildings, and autonomous vehicles. His research has been published in international peer reviewed journals and edited volumes, and he is currently writing a book that interrogates the intersections between advanced robotics, and social and ethical issues.

Dr. Asaro has held research positions at the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University, theHUMlab of Umeå University in Sweden, and the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. He has also developed technologies in the areas of virtual reality, data visualization and sonification, human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robot vision, and neuromorphic robotics at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA), the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and Iguana Robotics, Inc., and was involved in the design of the natural language interface for the Wolfram|Alpha computational knowledge engine for Wolfram Research--this interface is also used by Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Bing to answer math queries, and won two 2010 SXSW Web Interactive Awards for Technical Achievement and Best of Show.

He is completing an Oral History of Robotics project that is funded by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities. He has also just initiated a new three-year project on Regulating Autonomous Artificial Agents: A Systematic Approach to Developing AI & Robot Policy, funded by the Future of Life Institute.

Dr. Asaro received his PhD in the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also earned a Master of Arts from the Department of Philosophy, and a Master of Computer Science from the Department of Computer Science.


Food By: Jessica Alfreds

Jessica Alfreds is a Chef and Organizer, working to strengthen communities and families by bringing them closer to their food sources.

Jessica runs a Farm to Fork Home Delivery Service in Northern NJ and all 5 boros of NYC, providing affordable, personally curated and customized grocery boxes filled with locally farmed produce- picked fresh for you the day of delivery - grass-fed beef, pasture raised chickens, wild seafood, as well as prepared entrees, desserts, recipes, and tips. Jessica is also available for catering large and small events, and for grassroots edible activism.  www.JessicaAlfredsFood.com

After Party w/Open Bar

DJ:  Mamajuana

Originally from The Lower East Side of NYC, music hungry Mamajuana has been part of the underground music scene since 2000 with the infamous Renegade Virus soundsystem, Konkrete Jungle OG and BP². A local staple, Hector has played various styles of hardcore, jungle, dubstep, dub and even noise, all on vinyl.

Mamajuana has played nationally and internationally to crowds of Ragga Jungle hungry ears and holds a roatating residency at Konkrete Jungle NYC with a focus on blending old school Ragga Jungle, new school Ragga Drum & Bass, and Dubwise. Representing the sound clash culture aspect Mamajuana plays exclusive tracks and dubplate specials from artists like Johnny Osbourne, Ranking Joe, Capleton, Jahdan Blakkamoore, Metric Man, Hired Gun and fast rising T.R.A.C. all cut to acetate! 

Crews: BP² , Konkrete Jungle OG, Big Juana Sound, Twisted Family Tree


Art, Installations and VR Experiences:


SAY OUR NAME” for Gear 360 by STATE Media

An immersive hip-hop dance piece filmed on the streets of New York City engaging the viewer to look into the eyes of the people that the brutality is happening to everyday on streets throughout our nation.  We must remember and say these names and never stop having this conversation until there is change and the injustice stops.  Director, Stina Hamlin and Producer & DP,  Nate Hamlin.  Choreographer Jonathan Lee brings his stylings through the music and the message with the talent of amazing dancers from various backgrounds. Ephraim Sykes (HBO's Vinyl, Hamilton, Motown), Sasha Hutchings (Hamilton, Motown, Sweet Charity), Winston Brown (Jacob's Pillow, Taylor 2, Pilobolus) and up and coming Yancy Greene.

A LIVE Playtest of Cardboard City by Double Eye Productions

In 2015 over 300 artists were evicted from their studios in Gowanus. Cardboard City is a hands-on interactive installation that blends virtual reality, augmented reality and user-generated content; using these artists' stories as an entry point. We are doing a playtest of our story! Come play with us!

In/Formation by Datavized

In\Formation is a two part (25 min) immersive documentary investigating the medium of Virtual Reality and creative use of the technology to build empathy and new forms of storytelling.

Explored through 3D 360-degree video, the live-action virtual reality experience documents VR pioneers during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival through a deep dive into their projects, motivations and speculations.

Playtest of Borders, a game by Genaro Vallejo Reyes, Gonzalo Álvarez and Johnathan DiaGiacomo.

"Borders" is a stealth based game where players must walk in the shoes of an immigrant and experience just how dangerous is the journey across the desert . Inspired by the stories told from hispanic parents and grandparents to their children, Players must avoid (La Migra)border patrol and the extreme heat of the desert by moving through bushes and staying hydrated. Many make the journey towards the border with the promise of a better life, but not all survive.


Title Sponsor:  The Spry Group, LLC 

If you’re interested in contributing to the publication, speaking or engaging on the day, or have creative art or media you’d like to exhibit, reach out to erek@paxsolaria.ne