Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of September 2020

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

Exploring the Frontiers of Knowledge and Imagination, Fostering Interdisciplinary Networking

Hosted from Stanford University and University of San Francisco
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.
(Note: All times are California time)

  • September 10 @ 6pm: Roger Malina on "The Legacy of Frank Popper", Ilke Demir on "The Science of Generative Art", AnneMarie Schleiner on "Transnational Play"
    Register here

    Roger Malina: "The Legacy of Frank Popper"
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it here.

    We pay tribute to one of the most influential scholars in both art and science, who died recently. We invited his friend Roger Malina to discuss Popper's work and influence. Born in the Czech Republic in 1918, Frank Popper died in 2020 at the age of 102. He was among the first art historians to explore the relationship between technology and modern art, starting with his essays on kinetic art in the 1950s that culminated in the books "Origins and Development of Kinetic Art" (1968) and "Kinetic Art - Light and Movement" (1975). He then explored audience participation in his book "Art-Action and Participation" (1980). The "virtualization" of art was the focus of his books "Art of the Electronic Age" (1993) and "From Technological to Virtual Art" (2007). He was professor emeritus of Aesthetics and the Science of Art at the Sorbonne in Paris.

    Roger Malina is a space scientist and astronomer, and currently a Distinguished Professor of Art and Technology, and Professor of Physics, at the University of Texas at Dallas and Directeur de Recherche, for the CNRS in France. He founded the ArtSciLab at UT Dallas. In 2012-13 Malina chaired the National Science Foundation funded study "Steps to an Ecology of Networked Knowledge and Innovation". He previously served as director of the Observatoire Astronomique of Marseille and was NASA Principal Investigator for a project at the University of California, Berkeley. Malina is an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics. He has served on the Comite National of the French CNRS for Astronomy and on the French National Commission on Cosmology. He has received a number of prizes and awards including the International Academy of Astronautics Social Sciences Award, several NASA Public Service Awards, "Laser d'or " Prize, from the International Video Art Organization. Since 1982 he has served as Executive Editor of the Leonardo Publications at MIT Press. He is Chairman Emeritus of Leonardo ISAST (International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology).

    Ilke Demir on "The Science of Generative Art - Proceduralization"
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it here. Ilke Demir's research focuses on generative models for digitizing the real world, analysis and synthesis approaches in geospatial machine learning, and computational geometry for synthesis and fabrication. She earned her B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from Middle East Technical University with a minor in Electrical Engineering, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Purdue University, with her dissertation discussing geometric and topological shape processing approaches for reconstruction, modeling, and synthesis. Afterwards, she continued her research at Facebook on deep learning approaches for human understanding in virtual reality, geospatial machine learning for map creation, and 3D reconstruction at scale. In addition to her publications in top-tier venues (SIGGRAPH, ICCV, CVPR), she has organized workshops, competitions, and courses in deep learning, computer vision, and graphics (DeepGlobe, SkelNetOn, WiCV, SUMO, OpenEDS, etc.). She received numerous awards and honors such as Jack Dangermond Award, Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship, and Industry Distinguished Lecturer, in addition to her best paper/poster/reviewer awards. She has also been actively involved in women in science organisms for the past 10 years, always being an advocate for women and underrepresented minorities.

    Manual creation of massive and detailed 3D models may take weeks, or months, even for experienced artists. In contrast, generative algorithms enable efficiently creating content coherent with the reality, as long as the representations are good approximations of the real world. In this talk, I will introduce "proceduralization" to discover such generative representations from 2D and 3D data for synthesis, modeling, and reconstruction; combining computer vision, machine learning, and computational geometry approaches. I will briefly introduce geometry processing algorithms to discover artistic elements, and grammar discovery methods to extract procedural rules. The rest of the talk will be devoted to proceduralization applications for content creation, interactive editing, localization, mapping, and reconstruction. I will conclude by some new directions in geometric deep learning for generative models.

    AnneMarie Schleiner on "Transnational Play - Piracy, Urban Art, and Mobile Games"
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it here. Anne-Marie Schleiner is engaged in gaming and media culture in a variety of roles as a critic, theorist, activist, artist, and designer. She has exhibited in international galleries, museums and festivals. Documentation of her performative culture work is available on the Video Data Bank. She holds a doctorate in Cultural Analysis from the University of Amsterdam. She has taught at universities in the United States, Mexico, and Singapore, and teaches web scripting at the University of California, Davis. She recently published her book "Transnational Play - Piracy, Urban Art, and Mobile Games".

    Transnational Play approaches gameplay as a set of practices and a global industry that includes diverse participation from players and developers located within the global South, in nations outside of the First World. Players experience play in game cafes, through casual games for regional and global causes like environmentalism, through piracy and cheats, via cultural localization, on their mobile phones, and through urban playful art in Latin America. This book offers a reorientation of perspective on the global developers who make games, as well as the players who consume games, while still acknowledging geographically distributed socioeconomic, racial, gender, and other inequities. Over the course of the inquiry, which includes a chapter dedicated to the cartography of the mobile augmented reality game Pokémon Go, the author develops a theoretical line of argument critically informed by gender studies and intersectionality, postcolonialism, geopolitics, and game studies, problematizing play as a diverse and contested transnational domain.

  • September 17 @ 6pm (Sep 18 @ 9am Beijing time):
    A.I. scientist Yi Zeng of the Institute of Automation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences on "Brain-inspired Artificial Intelligence and Ethics of Artificial Intelligence". In conversation with Piero Scaruffi.
    Register here or here
    If you missed this dialogue, you can view it by clicking on the image:
    . We invited Yi Zeng, one of China's top scholars in A.I. to discuss the state of Artificial Intelligence, in particular three topics that he has been researching: brain-inspired Artificial Intelligence, harmonious Artificial Intelligence principles, philosophy and ethics of Artificial Intelligence. Yi Zeng is a Professor and Deputy Director at Research Center for Brain-inspired Artificial Intelligence, and Director of the China-UK Research Centre for AI Ethics and Governance, both at the Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is a board member for the National Governance Committee of Next Generation Artificial Intelligence, Ministry of Science and Technology China. He is the Director for the Research Center on AI Ethics and Sustainable Development, Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence. He is an expert in the UNESCO Adhoc Expert Group on AI Ethics. He is the lead drafter of Beijing Artificial Intelligence Principles, Harmonious AI Principles, and one of the major drafters for the National Governance Principles of New Generation Artificial Intelligence, China. He founded the Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Development Goals (AI4SDGs) Cooperation Network. His major research interests focus on Brain-inspired Artificial Intelligence models, Artificial General Intelligence, AI Safety, Ethics, and Governance.
  • September 24 @ 6pm :
    Margot Gerritsen (Stanford) on "Computational Mathematics gives you wings: how Computational Mathematics powers the modern world"
    Register here or here
    After the event, the video will be posted here.

    This could be considered the century of computational mathematics. One consistently encounters it in the most diverse fields, from epidemiology to neuroscience, e-commerce and physics, even internet art, and of course artificial intelligence, as well as in current affairs like domestic politics (Russian interference in US elections) and foreign politics (China's use of big data to control domestic public opinion). We will discuss the role of computational math in our developed (?) societies, the math that lies behind the engineering and social phenomena of our time; what are the power and the danger of computational math; the strengths and the weaknesses of a civilization that is increasingly based on it. Since it is everywhere, and we are increasingly surrounded and dependent on it, it is important to understand what it is and how it is evolving. It is a little bit the "magic" of our time. We all talk about algorithms but we don't really know what's inside an algorithm. We just assume that some wizards know the secret potion, and hope that the secret potion will make us immortal while fearing that the secret potion will poison us.

    Margot Gerritsen is Professor of Energy Resources Engineering, Senior Fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy, and former Director of the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering at Stanford University. For a number of years she was the Senior Associate Dean for Educational Affairs in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences. She is also the co-founder of the global Women in Data Science www.widsconference.org and the host of the WiDS podcasts. Her primary interest is computational mathematics, including search algorithm design and matrix computations, computer simulation and mathematical analysis of engineering and natural processes, and including applications to sustainability, and renewable and fossil energy production. She is also active in coastal ocean dynamics and yacht design.

The Stanford LASERs are sponsored by the Deans of: Engineering; Humanities & Sciences; and Medicine; by Continuing Studies.
The USF LASERs are sponsored by the Dean's Office of Arts and Sciences.