Ari Popper is the Founder and CEO of SciFutures, a foresight and innovation agency that uses sci-fi prototyping to help their clients create meaningful change in the Exponential Age. SciFutures works with Fortune 500 clients in a wide variety of industries such as Visa, Hershey, Ford, Clorox, Lowe’s and VMWare. Ari has over 20 years' experience as a marketing, consumer research and innovation executive. He is a passionate sci-fi fan and amateur sci-fi writer who was inspired to start
SciFutures during a creative sci-fi writing class at UCLA. He believes that: “Science fiction is powerful tool because it helps businesses understand the human potential of emerging technologies in order to develop human-centered strategies that the whole organization can understand and be inspired to rally behind. This provides a significant competitive advantage.”
Ari specializes in making disruptive and visionary futures tangible and reachable. His passion is to change our beliefs about what's possible, helping to ensure a more beneficial future for all.
author and ageism activist, this chair rocks
Writer and activist Ashton Applewhite is the author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against
Ageism. In 2016, she joined PBS site Next Avenue’s annual list of 50 Influencers in Aging as
their Influencer of the Year. Ashton has been recognized by the New York Times, the New Yorker, National Public Radio,
and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism. She blogs at This Chair Rocks,
has written for Harper’s, the Guardian and the New York Times, and is the voice of Yo, Is
This Ageist? Ashton’s work is a call to wake up to the ageism in and around us, embrace a more nuanced
and accurate view of growing older, and push back against the forces that frame it as decline
alone. She is a leading spokesperson for a movement to mobilize against discrimination on
the basis of age.
aubrey de grey
anti-aging pioneer / chief science officer & co-founder, sens research foundation
Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist based in Mountain View, California, USA, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, a biomedical research charity that performs and funds laboratory research dedicated to combating aging. He is also VP of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics, a biotechnology startup developing new therapies in the field of biomedical gerontology. He received his BA in computer science and PhD in biology from the University of Cambridge. His research interests encompass the characterization of all the types of self-inflicted cellular and molecular damage that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and/or prevent that damage. Dr. de Grey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organizations.
ai developer/ nanotech ninja/ cellular agriculture researcher, the knowledge society
Cassia is a 17-year-old AI developer and solar nanotechnology researcher from Toronto. She is passionate about using nanotechnology to make solar energy a more scalable technology using quantum dots and has done many projects in the field. With the help of experts from the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo and Amp Solar Group, Cassia has worked at several labs advancing quantum dot research with the goal of making windows into solar panels. Her current focus lies in cellular agriculture where she is altering hormonal growth factors to decrease the price of lab grown meat, an environmentally efficient alternative to farmed meat. Cassia has spoken about her projects and research at Elevate Tech Fest, the KMPG Annual Conference and the SingularityU Summit.
artist / innovator and founder, studio roosegaarde
Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde is a creative thinker who makes social designs that explore the relationship between people, technology and space. His fascination with nature and technology is reflected in his iconic designs such as Smart Highway (solar-powered roads that glow at night), Waterlicht (a virtual flood) and Smog Free Project (the world’s largest outdoor air purifier, which makes jewellery from smog). Daan graduated from The Berlage Institute with a Master’s in architecture. He founded
Studio Roosegaarde in 2007, where he works with a team of designers and engineers towards a better future. Together they develop smart sustainable prototypes for the cities of tomorrow. Daan is a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and was named Artist of the Year 2016 in the Netherlands. His awards include the London Design Innovation Medal, the INDEX Design Award, the World Technology Award, two Dutch Design Awards, the Charlotte Köhler Award and China's Most Successful Design Award. He has exhibited at the Design Museum in London, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Tate Modern, Tokyo National Museum, Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs Paris and Victoria & Albert Museum.
Felipe Villela is co-founder of reNature, a Dutch foundation with the goal of regenerating 1 million hectares of degraded land worldwide by 2030 through agroforestry. Felipe sees himself as a young leader within the agricultural sustainability movement, and has deep roots in this sector, thanks to his family’s background in large-scale organic citrus farming in Brazil.
Felipe’s goal is to inspire and educate businesses and industries to produce food and raw materials in a regenerative way. Together with local farmers, communities, government authorities, companies and organizations, reNature designs and implements economically viable model farms. His ideas extend beyond the food industry, providing interesting solutions for fashion, aromatics, medicine, cellulose, timber, rubber and many other sectors. Felipe has shared his insights on this agroforestry at the UN Environment Programme’s Global Landscape Forum and COP24. He believes that “only action leads to change”.
technology and science writer / co-founder, science disrupt
Gemma Milne is a Science & Technology Writer covering all things deep tech, including biotech, advanced computing, space, energy and innovation in academia, for titles such as Forbes, the BBC, CNBC, the Guardian, and Quartz. She is also Co-Host of Science: Disrupt – a podcast interviewing the innovators, iconoclasts and entrepreneurs creating change in science.
As a deep tech consultant, Gemma is an Expert Advisor for the European Commission and Innovate UK, and a Scout for Backed VC. Gemma is also an Innovation Jury Member for SXSW and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and she is currently writing her first book on hype and idealism in science and tech.
Genetics Genius / Machine Learning Maven, the knowledge society
Hannah is a genetic engineering researcher and Machine Learning developer
passionate about increasing human lifespan and healthspan. The young woman
moved from Vietnam to Canada all by herself at age 16 to join St. Michael's Hospital,
working on engineering an artificial ear cartilage.
After joining The Knowledge Society, a human accelerator that takes ambitious
students from 13 to 17 years old and gives them the skills and mindset to solve the
world's most important problems, she has worked on various projects, such as using
CRISPR to reverse aging fruit flies, developing algorithms to evolve a soft robot to
walk on Mars.
Currently, she is working with Princess Margaret Hospital to help create a software
that can automate the treatment planning process for cancer patients. Hannah's
spoken at various conferences around the world on her journey, such as Microsoft
Inspire in Las Vegas, South by Southwest, #movethedial Global Summit and more.
urban agriculturalist / founder and managing director, agritecture
Henry Gordon-Smith is a sustainability strategist focused on urban agriculture, water issues and emerging technologies. Henry was born in Hong Kong and has lived in Japan, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Canada, Spain, Austria and the United States. He earned his BA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, a certificate in Food Security and Urban Agriculture from Ryerson University in Toronto, and an MSc in Sustainability Management from Columbia University. Henry founded the popular blog Agritecture.com in 2011. He was also co-founder of the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) and served on the board from 2013 - 2017. In 2014, Henry launched NYC-based Agritecture Consulting, a boutique urban agriculture advisory firm where he helps entrepreneurs with vertical farming feasibility studies, recruiting and systems
design. To date, Henry and his team have consulted on 76 diverse urban agriculture projects in 20 countries. He also serves as a board member for several for-profit and non-profit agtech organizations.
Kyle Wiens is the CEO of iFixit, the free repair manual. He has dedicated his life to defeating the second law of thermodynamics, a battle fought in the courtroom as often as in the workshop. The Right to Repair campaign has, so far, successfully legalized cell phone unlocking and tractor repair.
futurist and science fiction writer
Madeline Ashby is a science fiction writer and scenario builder living in Toronto. Her most
recent novel, Company Town, was a finalist in the CBC Canada Reads competition and a
winner of the Copper Cylinder Award. Her short fiction has been published in Slate, MIT
Technology Review, Spacing, BoingBoing, Clarkesworld and multiple anthologies. A
graduate of the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at OCAD University, she has a
Master’s of Design and has done scenario planning and narrative prototyping for Intel Labs,
the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, the Atlantic Council, XPRIZE
director, 500 startups
Pahrada "Mameaw" Sapprasert: Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree 2018 — recognized by Forbes as one of the most influential Venture Capitalists of age under 30 in Asia Pacific. Mameaw is the Director of 500 Startups Thailand (500 TukTuks) - a fund focused on promising Thai and CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam)
startups in seed to Series A stage. 500 TukTuks has invested in over 60 companies in the past 44 months and is also the most active investor in Thailand. Other than making investments, 500 TukTuks also empowers startups with best of Silicon Valley’s education, thinking, talent to provide unfair advantage in the local market. Mameaw also plays an important role in building the ecosystem in Thailand and CLMV by being an advisor to Alibaba e-founder Fellowship, dtac Accelerate A Academy, mentor and judge to SeedStars, and regular guest speaker for events and universities. Previous to joining 500 TukTuks, Mameaw was a Money-Market Dealer at Bangkok Bank and graduated from Imperial College London with MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management.
architect and principal, hollwich kushner
Matthias Hollwich, Principal of Hollwich Kushner and Co-founder of Architizer.com, has established himself at the forefront of a new generation of groundbreaking international architects. He believes the key to successful architecture lies in finding new and exciting ways to create dialogues and relationships between people and buildings. He was recently honored in Fast Company’s ranking of the world’s top 10 most innovative architects and in Business Insider’s list of top business visionaries.
Matthias has taught architecture as a visiting Professor at PennDesign, and his work has been published in leading media outlets such as The New York Times, Wallpaper* and The Wall Street Journal. His latest book, Architecture Can!, was co-authored by Marc Kushner and published by Images Publishing in the 2018.
socio-ecological architect / urban designer / professor nyu / co-founder, terreform one
Mitchell Joachim is the Co-founder of Terreform ONE and an Associate Professor at NYU. He was formerly an architect at the offices of Frank Gehry and I.M. Pei. He has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and fellowships with TED, Moshe Safdie, and the Martin Society for Sustainability, MIT. He was chosen by Wired magazine for "The Smart List” and selected by Rolling Stone for “The 100 People Who Are Changing America”, and featured as “The NOW 99” in Dwell magazine and “50 Under 50 Innovators of the 21st Century" by Images Publishers. He has also co-authored three books, and his design work has been exhibited at MoMA and the Venice Biennale. Mitchell has received many honors, including the ARCHITECT R+D Award, AIA New York Urban Design Merit Award, 1st Place International Architecture Award, Victor Papanek Social Design Award, Zumtobel Group Award for Sustainability, History Channel Infiniti Award for City of the Future, and Time magazine’s Best Invention with the MIT Smart Cities Car.
director, fukuoka global startup centre
Mumu Makinose is responsible for the Fukuoka Global Startup Center (GSC), an organization that supports foreign startups who want to come to Fukuoka. The GSC’s staff members use their experience working and traveling abroad to help companies navigate the process of setting up their businesses, and connect them to local mentors who can answer their questions and provide support along the way.
Over the course of his career working in the international banking sector and at Sony, Mumu has lived in multiple countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America, giving him insight into the challenges and benefits of building a new life and business abroad. He’s also the founder of Fukuoka startup lainen LLC, where he works with international companies in countries like Estonia, Switzerland, Tunisia, and China. His extensive experience and network give him the unique ability to understand startup development from both a Japanese and international perspective.
reporter, technology and culture, new york times
Nellie Bowles covers technology and internet culture from San Francisco for The New York Times. Before joining The Times, she was a correspondent for “VICE News Tonight.” She has written for California Sunday, Recode, The Guardian and the San Francisco Chronicle. Nellie’s hometown is San Francisco.
chief personal scientist, personalscience.com
Richard Sprague is an avid self-experimenter and long-time Quantified Self contributor who has been building and marketing consumer software internationally for decades at numerous technology companies including Apple, Microsoft, and several Silicon Valley startups, including microbial genomics leader uBiome. Having sequenced his microbiome more than 600 times near-daily since 2014, he builds analysis software to study the interaction between his microbiome, the food he eats, and new tracking self-tracking technologies including continuous glucose monitoring. Educated at Stanford and University of Pennsylvania, he worked in Tokyo and Beijing for more than 10 years and currently lives in Seattle, where he enjoys discussing health and comparing wellness discoveries with others at www.personalscience.com
biochemist and crispr expert, columbia university
Samuel Sternberg, PhD, runs a research laboratory at Columbia University, where he is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. He received his B.A. from Columbia University in 2007, graduating summa cum laude, and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned graduate student fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. Sam's research focuses on RNA-guided bacterial immune systems (CRISPR-Cas) and on the development of these systems for genome engineering. In addition to publishing his work in leading scientific journals, he recently co-authored a popular science trade book together with Jennifer Doudna, a leading figure in the "CRISPR revolution". Entitled A Crack in Creation, their book is about the discovery, development, and applications of gene-editing technology. It has been published in over a dozen foreign languages, including German (Eingriff in die Evolution), and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
critical futurist and managing partner, changeist
As a futurist, founder and managing partner of Changeist, Scott’s work focuses on guiding organizations toward better futures through foresight, narrative design and strategic design. Scott has worked with some of the largest and most respected global financial, retail, telecoms, property, technology, fashion and media brands, such as the BBC, The New York Times, ASOS, VF and Comcast. He has delivered futures projects, talks and workshops, and led teams in over a dozen countries and in multiple languages. Scott heads the futures program for Dubai Future Academy, and lectures at IED Barcelona. He has written for The Atlantic, Quartz, The Next Web, WIRED UK, and How We Get to Next. He is based in Amsterdam, where he is also developing several fiction and documentary projects, and writes and co-hosts the Underfutures podcast.
AI Researcher & Entrepreneur
16 years old, Canadian, and striving to develop the future of technology. Shalev Lifshitz is one of the world’s youngest AI researchers and entrepreneurs. He has spoken at various conferences inspiring many to explore and think about the future of AI as well as what questions we need to ask in order to be prepared for human-level artificial intelligence. Shalev is conducting research at the University of Waterloo to further the community’s efforts towards reaching Artificial General Intelligence and has developed a new Artificial Neural Network that aims to behave more like the human brain. Additionally, he is working at SickKids Hospital in Toronto creating a computer vision system to expedite diagnostic and drug discovery processes. His goal is to spark the next wave of human innovation and help humanity reach a new evolutionary step.
neuroscientist and co-founder, backyard brains
Timothy is a professional neuroscientist dedicated to improving public understanding of how the brain works. In early 2009, he co-founded Backyard Brains. Their aim is to make "Neuroscience for Everyone" by designing and creating inexpensive equipment and experiments that allows scientists of all ages to study and comprehend the electrical activity of the brain, muscles and heart. The idea began as a self-imposed engineering challenge between his friend Gregory Gage and him to improve neuroscience outreach at local schools. With the generous sponsorship of the National Institutes of Health, the Kauffman Foundation and the Start-Up Chile Program, Timothy works on rapidly bringing prototypes to market and designing intuitive experiments that teach students about physiology and electronics. To date, the equipment of Backyard Brains is in all 50 States in the USA and 82 countries around the world. Timothy also works extensively in Latin America, teaching classes on neuroscience, invention and creativity in the scientific progress.
Disclaimer: The views of me Convention speakers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either Mercedes-Benz and/or SXSW.