BCNM Around the Web November 2019

02 Nov, 2019

BCNM Around the Web November 2019

Here's the recap of all our amazing BCNM community has been up to from the web!

Ken Goldberg recently took part in Litquake, San Francisco's Literary Festival, on a panel titled "AI, Robots, and the Future of Humans." There, he and participants such as Tim O'Reilley and Jane Metcalfe pondered questions that considered our human-robot futures. Ken will also join RE•WORK's Deep Learning Summit in 2020 as a speaker, demonstrating how tech research can be applied in real world situations.

Additionally, after news about a robotic system solving a Rubik's cube went viral, WIRED reached out for his thoughts on AI reinforcement learning.

From the article:

“I wouldn’t say it’s total hype—it’s not,” says Ken Goldberg, a roboticist at UC Berkeley who also uses reinforcement learning, a technique in which artificial intelligence programs “learn” from repeated experimentation. “But people are going to look at that video and think, ‘My God, next it’s going to be shuffling cards and other things,’ which it isn’t.”

Read more here.

Alex Saum and Claudia von Vacano were a part of “Escape Keys: Readings of Electronic Literature” and “Digital Humanities & Electronic Literature: a Lightning Roundtable,” respectively. Alex discussed "Beauty Routine" from The Offline Website Project and Claudia spoke of the merits behind building STEAM for digital humanities.

Visit the official website for more information.

Jacob Gaboury was at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) in Milan, Italy. While he was there, he co-organized a 3-part discussion, "Artful Technologies and Technological Art in the 20th Century."

See here to view the entire conference agenda.

Alum Trevor Paglen is gaining traction in the media as his latest bodies of work, From ‘Apple’ to ‘Anomaly' and Training Humans, are on display at London's Barbican Art Gallery and the Osservatorio Fondazione Prad, respectively.

The British Journal of Photography notes that his art "invites the viewer to consider that the world of images has grown distanced from human eyes as machines have been trained to see without us." Apollo Magazine asserts "we begin to realise how strange and troubling this exercise in image classification really is."

Trevor also wrapped up an exhibition at Sam Fox School's "Decoys & Depictions" symposium and a conversation on sophisticated deepfake tech at "AutoUpdate."

Alum Bo Ruberg partook in a variety of events this past month to discuss their new book, Video Games Have Always Been Queer. They joined the NYU Game Center's lecture series and UCLA's Department of Information Studies to discuss how video games are rich sites of potential to explore LGBTQ issues and queer experiences.

Bo also received the opportunity to be in the International Festival of Independent Games, hosting a talk titled "What Matters to You in Indie Games Today? [Unconference]." There, they led group conversations and created experimental zines.

In the latest "Professors at the Pub" series by UC Santa Barbara alumni, alum Alenda Chang conducted an ecological discussion about whether playing games can save the planet.

From the event description:

Games, especially digital ones, are often criticized as being bad role models for kids or wasting time that would be better spent outdoors... however, games offer exciting opportunities to represent and respond to these complex ecological problems. They can, for instance, foster better understanding of human impacts on natural processes and systems, build emotional connections to the nonhuman world, and, most importantly, move us beyond apathy or resignation by requiring us to take action.

Read more about her talk here.

In celebration of her new book, The Revolution That Wasn’t: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives, alum Jen Schradie held a book signing at Northeastern University. This work identifies the digital-activism gap by addressing how technology fails to equalize the playing field and rewards the wealthy.

Her book was also referenced by The Verge when commentating on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's talk to Georgetown University students about free speech and internet services.

From the article:

The idea of neutrality seems more true of the internet because the costs of distributing information are dramatically lower than with something like television or radio or other communication tools.

However, to make full use of the internet, you still need substantial resources and time and motivation. The people who can afford to do this, who can fund the right digital strategy, create a major imbalance in their favor.

Read more here.