Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of September 2021

Online Edition: the L.A.S.T. Dialogues


Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking
Hosted from Stanford during September 2021
by Piero Scaruffi

During the covid pandemic, this online program replaces both the 12 physical L.A.S.E.R.s that were planned at Stanford University and University of San Francisco for 2020 and the L.A.S.T. Festival that was planned for Spring 2020. Since some of them are simply "fireside chats", we tentatively called them the The Life Art Science Tech (L.A.S.T.) dialogues. See previous and future speakers and their videos.
(Note: All times are California time)

  • October 6 @ 6pm
    David Kirby (Cal Poly) on "TBA"
    Jessie Liu (UC Berkeley), David Moses (UCSF) & Sean Metzger (UCSF) on Speech Neuroprosthesis
    name (affiliation) on "title of the talk"
    Register here or here


    David Kirby (Cal Poly) on "TBA"
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    David A. Kirby (Cal Poly) is...


    Jessie Liu (UC Berkeley), David Moses (UCSF) & Sean Metzger (UCSF) on Speech Neuroprosthesis
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    Jessie Liu (UC Berkeley), David Moses & Sean Metzger (UCSF) work in the lab of UCSF neurosurgeon Edward Chang. They have developed a "speech neuroprosthesis" that decodes the signals sent by the brain to the vocal tract and turns them into words displayed on a screen, and then uses statistical language models to improve accuracy. The brain implant and the related A.I. software has enabled a man with severe paralysis to communicate in sentences, although limited to a vocabulary of 50 words.


    name (affiliation) on "title of the talk"
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    name bio
  • October 20 @ 12pm (California time)
    Heather Barnett (University of the Arts London) on "Many-headed: Co-creating with the Collective"
    Clare Stanton (Harvard Law School) on "Linkrot and Content Drift: The Irreversible Decay of Internet Content"

    Register here or here


    Heather Barnett (University of the Arts London) on "Many-headed: Co-creating with the Collective"
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    Heather Barnett is an artist, researcher and educator working with living systems. Recent work centres around nonhuman intelligence, collective behaviour and systems for co-enquiry and knowledge distribution, including The Physarum Experiments, an ongoing enquiry with an intelligent slime mould, interventions with an ant colony in Almeria, and Animal Collectives collaborative research with the SHOAL Group at Swansea University where she is an Honorary Research Fellow. Heather is Pathway Leader on the MA Art and Science and Convenor of the Art & Living Systems Lab at Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts London), a Visiting Associate Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, and founding member of The Slime Mould Collective (http://slimoco.ning.com/). She works with natural phenomena and emergent systems. Employing live organisms, imaging technologies and playful pedagogies, her work explores how we observe, influence and understand multi-species ecosystems. Combining disciplinary methods from art and science, participatory art and practical philosophy, Barnett will share recent work made in `collaboration' with a range of organisms including slime moulds, ants and humans. Her work aims to tease and test our definitions of agency, intelligence and collective behaviour.


    Clare Stanton (Harvard Law School) on "Linkrot and Content Drift: The Irreversible Decay of Internet Content"
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    Clare Stanton (Harvard Law School) is... Hyperlinks are a powerful tool for journalists and their readers. Diving deep into the context of an article is just a click away. But hyperlinks are a double-edged sword; for all of the internet's boundlessness, what's found on the web can also be modified, moved, or entirely disappeared. This often-irreversible decay of web content is commonly known as linkrot. It comes with a similar problem of content drift, or the often-unannounced changes--retractions, additions, replacement--to the content at a particular URL. Stanton and collaborators at Harvard Law School undertook a project to gain insight into the extent and characteristics of journalistic linkrot and content drift. We examined hyperlinks in New York Times articles starting with the launch of the Times website in 1996 up through mid-2019, developed on the basis of a dataset provided to us by the Times. We focus on the Times not because it is an influential publication whose archives are often used to help form a historical record. Rather, the substantial linkrot and content drift we find here across the New York Times corpus accurately reflects the inherent difficulties of long-term linking to pieces of a volatile web. Results show a near linear increase of linkrot over time, with interesting patterns emerging within certain sections of the paper or across top level domains. Over half of articles containing at least one URL also contained a dead link. Additionally, of the ostensibly "healthy" links existing in articles, a hand review revealed additional erosion to citations via content drift. Read the report here.


The Stanford LASERs are sponsored by the Deans of: Engineering; Humanities & Sciences; and Medicine.