The Future

Aug 17, 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Cowell Theater, Fort Mason


Caterina Fake
founder &

Named one of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine, Flickr founder, Caterina Fake is an early creator of online communities and a long time advocate of the responsibility of entrepreneurs for the outcomes of their technologies. Caterina’s interests include the cultural impact of new technologies, human interactions online, design, good governance, innovation and creativity—and how we can all make the internet a kinder, more human place.


Caterina has received Honorary Doctorates from the Rhode Island School of Design and The New School.

Saul Perlmutter
nobel laureate

Saul Perlmutter is a 2011 Nobel Laureate, sharing the prize in Physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe. He is the leader of the international Supernova Cosmology Project, director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, and executive director of the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics. He has appeared in numerous PBS, Discovery Channel, and BBC documentaries. As a professor of physics at UC Berkeley his interest in teaching scientific-style critical thinking for scientists and non-scientists alike led to his courses on Sense and Sensibility and Science and Physics & Music.

Saul is currently developing tools and methods for a citizen-scientist-style crowdsourced assessment of news articles.

Alison Gopnik
psychologist & best selling author

Alison Gopnik is the author or coauthor of over 100 journal articles and the bestselling and critically acclaimed popular books The Scientist in the Crib, The Philosophical Baby and The Gardener and the Carpenter. Alison has written widely about cognitive science and psychology for Science, The New York Times, Scientific American, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and New Scientist, among others. Her TED talk has been viewed more than 2.9 million times and she has frequently appeared on TV and radio including The Charlie Rose Show and The Colbert Report. Since 2013 she has written the Mind and Matter column for The Wall Street Journal.

An internationally recognized leader in the study of children’s learning and development, Alison has most recently introduced the idea that probabilistic models and Bayesian inference could be applied to children's learning.

Aza Raskin
center for humane technology

Aza is a cofounder of The Center for Humane Technology, which is leading the charge in reversing the digital attention crisis and realigning technology with humanity’s best interests. Previously, Aza Raskin helped build the web at Mozilla as head of user experience, was named to Inc and Forbes 30-under-30 and became the Fast Company Master of Design for his work founding Massive Health, an early consumer health behavior change company. The company was acquired by Jawbone, where he was VP of Innovation. Before that, he founded (acquired by Google), Humanized (acquired by Mozilla), and studied dark matter physics at the University of Chicago and Tokyo University.


Aza is proud to have served on the board for Planned Parenthood in California. He is less proud to have invented infinite scroll.

JD Beltran
sf arts commission

JD Beltran is an artist, designer, filmmaker, writer, curator, educator, and arts administrator. Her work has been screened and exhibited internationally, including at the Walker Art Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the M.H. de Young Museum, and the Getty Institute. JD has been commissioned for public art projects worldwide, and her work has been featured on NPR and reviewed in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and Wired. JD serves on the San Francisco Arts Commission (President from 2011-2018), and is faculty at the California College of the Arts, where she also is Director of the Center for Impact.

Fyodor Urnov

Fyodor Urnov was the first geneticist to publicly call for a moratorium on human embryo editing in 2015. Working at Sangamo Therapeutics, he co-invented the term "gene editing" and was key to its first-in-human use to treat HIV,  beta-thalassemia, and sickle cell disease.  A professor at UC Berkeley, Fyodor works with Jennifer Doudna at the Innovative Genomics Institute to bring us into a world where gene editing is a standard of medical care. His current effort focuses on using CRISPR to protect cancer patients, as well as military and civilian first responders, from radiation injury (, and to building a safe and efficient gene editing cure for sickle cell disease. Fyodor received his BSc from Moscow State University, his PhD from Brown University, and then trained at the National Institutes of Health.

Kal Spelletich
sf machine arts pioneer

For 25 years, Kal Spelletich has been exploring the interface of humans and machines, using technology to put people back in touch with intense, real-life experiences. His work is interactive, requiring participants to enter or operate his pieces, often against their instincts of self-preservation. He probes the boundaries between fear, control, and exhilaration by giving his audience the opportunity to operate fascinating and often dangerous machinery. Spelletich’s work has been included in numerous museum and gallery exhibitions including the De Young Museum, SFMOMA, The Exploratorium Museum and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He has exhibited internationally in Namibia, Germany, Croatia and Austria.

Katia Vega
designer & computer scientist

What if you could send a text by touching your hair? Or pay for coffee with your fingernail? Katia Vega always wondered why traditional beauty products and methods didn’t seem to change much over the decades, so she pursued a PhD in Computer Science at PUC-Rio (Brazil) and set out to discover how we can make our bodies interactive platforms. Currently faculty in the design department at UC Davis, Katia’s work has been featured by New Scientist, Wired, Discovery, and CNN, among others. At SXSW 2018, Katia won the Interactive Innovation award for her interactive installation, The Dermal Abyss, which replaced traditional tattoo ink with biosensors that shift colors in response to changes in our metabolism.


In 2016, MIT Technology Review named Katia as one of the 5 Innovators under 35 in Peru. In 2017, CNET recognized her as one of the Top 20 most influential Latinos in Tech.

Joe DeRisi

Dr. Joseph DeRisi was one of the early pioneers of DNA microarray technology and whole genome expression profiling, and is nationally recognized for his efforts to make this technology accessible and freely available. Recently, he led the development of a new diagnostic tool called the Virochip, a computer chip that contains DNA from every virus ever discovered that can quickly scan blood or spinal fluid for evidence of infection. Early work in his lab contributed to the identification of the SARS coronavirus and his ongoing research looks at the most deadly form of human malaria in order to develop faster, better therapeutic options.

Joseph has been a MacArthur Fellow, Searle Scholar, and Packard Fellow. He is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. Joe is currently co-president of the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub and faculty in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF.

Rachel Thomas

Recently selected by Forbes as one of 20 Incredible Women in AI, Rachel Thomas earned her math PhD at Duke, and was an early engineer at Uber. She is a professor at the University of San Francisco and co-founder of, which created the “Practical Deep Learning for Coders” course that over 200,000 students have taken. Rachel is a popular writer and keynote speaker. Her writing has been read by nearly a million people; has been translated into Chinese, Spanish, Korean, & Portuguese; and has made the front page of Hacker News 9x.

Alex Reben
roboticist & artist

Alexander Reben is an artist and roboticist who explores humanity through the lens of art and technology. Using “art as experiment” his work allows for the viewer to experience the future within metaphorical contexts. Reben’s work has been covered by NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fast Company, Filmmaker Magazine, New Scientist, BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, and WIRED, among others. Reben has exhibited at venues including The Vitra Design Museum, The MAK Museum Vienna, The Design Museum Ghent, The Vienna Biennale, ARS Electronica, VOLTA, TFI Interactive, IDFA, The Tribeca Film Festival, The Camden Film Festival, Doc/Fest, and The Boston Cyberarts Gallery. Reben has built robots for NASA, and is a graduate of the MIT Media Lab.

Sharon Chang
future architect

As Chief Creative Officer of the entertainment juggernaut that created popular shows such as American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, Sharon Chang ventured deep into uncharted territories to create hybrid formats and new ways to engage audiences before going on to found 19340, the film financing and production company behind hit documentaries The Eagle Huntress and Inventing Tomorrow. After nearly two decades exploring consequential intersections of emerging culture-making forces, she began to pioneer future architecture–a discipline that harnesses the intangible to shape complex cross-sector, context-driven, and systems-level collaborations to make the world more beautiful.


Jane Hirshfield is the author of eight poetry books, including The Beauty, long-listed for the 2015 National Book Award and Come, Thief, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is also the author of two now-classic books of essays, Nine Gates and Ten Windows, and editor/co-translator of four books collecting world poets from the past.

Her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Academy of American Poets, and the
California Book Award, Poetry Center Book Award, and best book of the year selections from The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and England’s Financial Times.

Hirshfield is the founder of Poets For Science and chancellor emerita of The Academy of American Poets. Her work appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Harper’s, The Paris Review, and eight editions of The Best American Poetry.

Vero Bollow
founder stochastic labs

Filmmaker Vero Bollow tells stories about science, technology, and the idiosyncracies of the human spirit. Her international feature, The Wind and the Water was nominated for the grand jury prize at the Sundance film festival. In 2014, she founded Stochastic Labs to support pioneering creative ventures in the SF bay area including Lynn Hershman Leeson and NASA scientist Josiah Zayner’s epic transmedia artwork The Infinity Engine; JD Beltran and Scott Minneman’s Cinema Snowglobe; Alexander Reben’s filmmaking robot BlabDroid; Graham Plumb and Karen Marcelo’s volumetric Open Cube; street artist KATSU’s AI Criminals; and Lauren McCarthy’s interactive performance piece Follower, among others. Vero is also the director of the Minerva Foundation.




The Future: 2019

What is at stake for the human animal in this critical moment in our evolution? Will we survive this “technological adolescence”? How can we reclaim optimism in the face of future technology?


On 08/17 a group of creative thinkers and makers will assemble to consider these questions in a radical new conversation format.

Unfiltered. Unmoderated.

A Long Conversation is a relay of two-person dialogues for a set period of time, unified by a common prompt.


Each speaker brings one idea to the stage about how to reclaim optimism in the face of future technology—a trend, an artwork, an innovation, a breakthrough, a movement.



Doors Open
Artist Demos & Exhibition Begins
The Long Conversation
Bar & Bites Reception
Doors Close & Exhibition Ends



About Stochastic

Stochastic Labs convenes the best creative minds in the SF bay area and beyond for conversations about the future of technology, science, entrepreneurship, and the arts (in a curious Victorian mansion in Berkeley).