Countdown to Nine Worlds Geekfest: Future Tech

The countdown is well and truly on for Nine Worlds 2014 Geekfest and to help you learn more about the various tracks we managed to talk to some of the track leads and get the latest from them.  This time it is the fine folks behind the Future Tech folks.

For me the idea of a Future Tech track is a really exciting one because normally it is not something you can directly get exposed to but at Geekfest you can talk to the real people and learn so much from the talks and panels.

Future Tech is for the curious-minded. It is designed to let Nine Worlds attendees experience the latest innovations and all sorts of geeks, from NASA scientists to brainwave hackers. As well as talks that’ll challenge and amuse, expect interactive sessions, including gadget demonstrations, coding workshops, hacktivism, gaming, and socialising.

 

The Future Tech track, headed by Tiana Sinclair, is for the curious-minded. “It will cover the geekery surrounding all things tech and is designed to stimulate citizens’ involvement in technological evolution process,” said Tiana. “Apart from talks that challenge & amuse, expect interactive quests, virtual reality demonstrations, coding workshops, hands-on hacking, gaming & a cyber rave entertainment programme.”

 

Ian Peters, whose specialities include cyber security, virtual reality technology and astrophotography, among others, will be bringing an Oculus Rift, a revolutionary virtual reality (VR) headset designed specifically for video games with an incredibly wide field of view, high resolution display, and ultra-low latency head tracking, hopefully with the new DK2 development pack, due for release in July. He will also be bringing new demo games/software.

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Geek Syndicate: It seems like future tech should always be a part of a geek convention but never really has in the past so how did the Future track come about for Nine Worlds.

Tiana Sinclair: Future tech has always been a part of nine worlds even though initially it wasn’t shaped as such (there was only VR tech & some sci-fi academia) so I came on board to give it recognition and make it as experiential as possible. I want to show diversity in tech program and let attendees try the latest innovations – be it a brainwave device, a drone or an alternative search engine.

GS: Your events list seems as to cover fun, dark and experimental areas. Can you tell us a bit more about them?

TS: The idea is to look at the existing version of ‘future’ as we see it from the industry point of view and suggest the alternatives. A lot of breakthroughs in the history of tech tend to slip unnoticed as they are considered ‘not commercially viable’ so there will be a discourse on that too. The goal is to include the community in the discussion – raising some topics on ethics, implementation, etc. ‘Dark’ is also an interesting word to describe it – quite often future tech is associated with dystopian narratives rather then utopian, as deep down most of us are afraid of the future so and what it brings to us, therefore inevitably we start imagining things – for example was Philip Dick right about his future predictions or did he actually shape it by putting those ideas in scientists’ heads in the first place? I guess that’s another interesting question to ask.

Oculus_Rift

GS: Will you cross over with the other tracks and if so can you tell us how?

TS: Future tech has a very transparent nature – I can see it ‘crossing’ with other tracks such as Skepticism (we are actually sharing room 11 together;), Videogame Culture, Steampunk or even social gaming .

GS: Why do you think we are so interested in future technology that is happening right now?

TS: In my personal opinion it is because we have the option to actually participate & shape the industry. It reflects in the likes of Kickstarter, Indigogo – in time travel terms those platforms represent the ‘wormholes’ that can accelerate your project. There are no rules in this game: you don’t have to please tech giants & research institutions anymore therefore we have a lot of variety on the market. It’s a very exciting time to be working in technology sector.

GS: Can you tell us about the guests you have?

TS: We have a varied selection of speakers – from artificial intelligence scientists and bioinformaticians to hackers that build drones & brain hacking devices. We also have a BBC technology presenter, privacy activist and a gamification artist so expect a lot of thought-provoking talks.

GS: Why do you think Nine Worlds has become so popular in such a short space of time?

TS: I call Nine Worlds a C2C (community-to-community) event. It probably sums up the whole idea. Originally there was a waiting curve from Kickstarter campaign and now it’s growing rapidly through peer-to-peer conversations and social networks. It’s great to see so many people sharing their experiences!

GS: Finally what are you looking forward to the most at Nine Worlds?

TS: What I am looking for the most is probably everything – the people, the topics and overall geek vibes. The event is really inclusive and you get a chance to expose yourself to lots of other geek fandoms and meet people you would’ve never met otherwise.

THANK YOU

Now that has got you even more interested check out the schedule below.

Future Tech – Schedule

Friday (Room 11)

10.00 – 11.15 – Virtual Reality and Oculus Rift Demo

Learn about the technology of virtual reality, and have a go at Oculus Rift, with Ian Peters.
Ian Peters, an independent software developer and specialist in cyber security, VR and astrophotography will be giving the definitive guide to virtual reality and bringing an Oculus Rift, a revolutionary headset designed specifically for videogames with an incredibly wide field of view, high resolution display, and ultra-low latency head tracking. He will also have a number of games for everyone to have a go with.
11.45 – 13.00 –  From Killer Drones, To Cuddly Robot Companions

Talk and robot demo with robotics scientist Emma Byrne.

Emma Byrne holds is a post-doctrial researcher who works in AI and robotics. She is one of the first creators of ‘robot scientist’ – the first machine to have independently discovered new scientific knowledge. Emma’s research interests broadly cover the area of artificial intelligence. Between giving a one robot the intelligence to plan genomics experiments, and giving another a human-like visual system, she spent a number of years working as a science writer. She has publications in Science, the BMJ and other leading academic journals and conferences as well as contributions to press: the Financial Times, Forbes and Global Business Magazine among other outlets.

13.30 – 14.45- Free Is A Lie

Talk on privacy and survelliance, with Aral Balkan
It’s 2014. Orwell was 30 years off his prediction for the rise of a surveillance state. He couldn’t foresee that it would be transnational corporations, not just governments, that would help usher in this new era. That instead of coercion, they would use the hegemony of unregulated capitalism to have us exchange our fundamental freedoms for access to modern life in a barter that most of us are neither aware of nor understood fully. He could not foretell a world where our corporeal selves enjoy fundamental freedoms but our digital selves — our simulations — are enslaved in corporate laboratories. Join Aral Balkan, founder of Indietech.org, for a look into what it means to live in a world where our simulations have no rights, what that means for our fundamental freedoms and democracy, and we can do about it.

15.15 – 16.30 – How To Get Your Idea Crowdfunded

Everything you need to know, with Kate Russell and Allen Stroud

Kate is a TV producer and presenter who appears weekly on BBC2 and BBC World News, reporting for technology programme, Click. She is also a published author and writes columns for National Geographic Traveller magazine and Web User magazine. Last month she published her first novel, Elite: Mostly Harmless, after successfully raising £17,000 on crowd funding platform, Kickstarter. Allen is a published author and lecturer in creative writing and film and TV production. He also raised funds for his most recent novel and short film, Elite: Lave Revolution, on Kickstarter. Together they will explain everything there is to know about crowd funding and help you structure your own campaign to have the best chance of succeeding.

17.00 – 18.15 – Mindpong with Stephen Chan

Stephen Chan celebrates the power of the brain with his latest project, which uses breakthrough electroencephalography (EEG) technology to read brain waves and combines it with game development. Mindpong was a part of The Brain Tumour Charity fundraising campaign and won The Art of Outdoor Digital prize. Stephen is a techincal Innovator working in the field of games, digital, media & interactive technology. He is a co-founder of SquidInkGames and Senior iOS Developer at MCSaatchi.

Saturday (Room 11)
11.45am – 1.00pm – EEG: Brain Hacking and Technology Demo
Presentation by Martin Dinov, who is a computer scientist pursuing a PhD at Imperial College London, working on creating a real-time EEG-based neurofeedback system for improving human attention; and Oliver Rimington, a bioinformatics PhD Student at Cardiff University who also likes to build cognitive enhancement gear. The two are currently working together on various DIY brain hacking and neurotech projects involving tDCS, tACS, TMS and EEG.

1.30pm – 2.45pm – Drone Zone: introduction to open source hardware and the maker movement

Open source hardware: come and see a real live drone, with Anish Mohammed
Anish Mohammed will address questions about how drones could integrate with other services to enhance our everyday life and what are the risks and opportunities to involve them in our daily activities. He will be bringing some drones so come and see a real live demonstration. Anish is part doctor/bioinformatician/cryptographer/hacker and philosopher who is passionate about technology, especially big data, cryptography and security. He also runs DroneZone meetup at London Hackspace for all geeks interested in autonomous vehicles and other forms of robotics.

Sunday
10.00am – 11.15am -Neuroscience of Swearing

Science writer Emma Byrne argues that, far from tuning out, we should listen carefully when people swear, because they often do so for good reasons. She’s currently working on her book “That’s F*c#ing Amazing: The History and Science of Swearing”. She’s going to be looking at why swearing kills pain; whether apes swear; why calling someone a lazy c-nt can be the quickest way to make friends; she argues that overall swearing could sometimes be good for you. It really is amazing stuff.

11.45am – 1.00pm – Lateral Search: Alternative Search Engines
Join J. Paul Neeley and Dan Foster-Swith to explore Yossarian – a search engine that helps generate ideas through lateral connections. Its algorithms assist people in the creation of ideas by returning metaphorically related results. This an immensely powerful creative tool for use by anyone looking to generate new ideas or see their problem or topic in a whole new light. With Yossarian’s expansive view of the world, the search algorithms help you see more by suggesting connections and links that you probably wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

1.30pm – 2.45pm- Gamification of Everything: mapping human psychology to technology

Gamification is the application of digital game elements and game design techniques to business & social challenges. The gamification designer combines game logic with everyday activities, events, services and products to make the world a more playfully challenging place. Speaker Cormac Horan, COO/Product Manager of Gordon Games, is currently working in the field of corporate gamification: his talk looks at the potential power of gamification as a future tool for organisations but also its power to change human behaviour.

 

SOURCE: Nine Worlds

GS Blogger: Montoya

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