Past Keynote Speakers
Edward Neumeier is an American screenwriter, producer and director best known for his work on the science fiction movies RoboCop and Starship Troopers. He wrote the latter's sequel, and most recently wrote and directed Starship Troopers 3: Marauder.
Neumeier studied journalism at the University of California at Santa Cruz then attended the School of Motion Picture and Television at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). After completing his bachelor's degree at UCLA, Neumeier started work in the Hollywood film business, as a production assistant on the TV series Taxi, a prohof-reader for Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures; and as a junior executive at the Universal Pictures company.
Dr. Vivienne Ming, named one of 10 Women to Watch in Tech by Inc. Magazine, is a theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Socos, a cutting-edge EdTech company which applies cognitive modeling to align education with life outcomes. Dr. Ming is also a Vice-president and Distinguished Scientist at ShiftGig, where she explores the how to build job markets that drive long-term economic growth and investing in the workforce. Previously, Dr. Ming was Chief Scientist at Gild, an innovative startup that builds better companies by unleashing human potential in their workforce using machine learning. Dr. Ming’s speaking topics address her philosophy to maximize human potential, emphasizing education and labor markets, diversity, and AI and cybernetics. She has recently presented at SXSW, SXSWedu, ReWork, InfoCamp, Bloomberg, XX in Health, and Columbia University, among many presentations worldwide. Her work and research have received extensive media attention including the New York Times, NPR, Nature, O Magazine, Forbes, and The Atlantic. She lives in Berkeley with her wife and their two children.
Chris Hables Grey
Dr. Grey is an extremely productive scholar who is globally known for his cultural studies of science and technology, social media and social change. His most widely cited books include: Postmodern War (1992), where he exposed the use of computers as weapons by the US military; The Cyborg Handbook (1995), a compendium of material on cyborgs (biomechanical fictional beings) that has become the standard reference in the field; and Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Postmodern age (2000), where Chris examines the implications for daily life and politics of the enhancement of humans by machines. In addition to authoring six books, Chris has established multiple collaborations, published twelve book chapters, and written thirteen articles.
Kim Stanley RobinsonKim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer known for his award-winning Mars trilogy. His work delves into ecological and sociological themes, and many of his novels appear to be the direct result of his own scientific fascinations, such as the fifteen years of research and lifelong fascination with the planet Mars.
Karen Joy Fowler
Karen Joy Fowler is an author of six novels and five short story collections in the science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction genres. She is best known as the author of the best-selling novel The Jane Austen Book Club that was made into a movie of the same name. Fowler’s previous novel, Sister Noon, was a finalist for the 2001 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. Her debut novel, Sarah Canary, was a New York Times Notable Book, as was her second novel, The Sweetheart Season. In addition, Sarah Canary won the Commonwealth medal for best first novel by a Californian, and was short-listed for the Irish Times International Fiction Prize as well as the Bay Area Book Reviewers Prize. Fowler’s short story collection Black Glass won the World Fantasy Award in 1999, and her collection What I Didn't See won the World Fantasy Award in 2011.
Dr. Kimberly LauKimberly Lau is a Professor of American Studies and the Provost of Oakes College. Her research interests focus on questions of gender, race, and power in popular culture and folklore, and she is currently working on a project about World of Warcraft and its potential for alternative modes of masculine sociality. She is the author of New Age Capitalism: Making Money East of Eden (2000),Body Language: Sisters in Shape, Black Women's Fitness, and Feminist Identity Politics (forthcoming), and numerous articles. This quarter, she is teaching a course on the vampire in folklore, literature, and popular culture.
Marc Okrand is Director of Live Captioning at the National Captioning Institute (NCI) in Vienna, Virginia, near Washington, DC. Okrand is a pioneer in the use of closed-captioning for live television broadcasts. He has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, where he specialized in Native American languages. He taught linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was a post-doctoral fellow in the Anthropology Department of the Smithsonian Institute.
Dr. Okrand was first recruited to create dialogue in Vulcan for the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and then two years later was assigned to create a language for the alien warrior race of Klingons. James Doohan, who played Star Trek’s Scotty, had actually coined a few words of Klingon for the first Star Trek movie. Okrand took the sounds of those words as a starting point and created the language known today as Klingon.
Annalee NewitzAnnalee Newitz is a journalist who covers the cultural impact of science and technology. She received a PhD in English and American Studies from UC Berkeley, and in 1997 published the widely cited book, White Trash: Race and Class in America. From 2004–2005 she was a policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She writes for many periodicals from Popular Science to Wired, and from 1999 to 2008 wrote a syndicated weekly column called Techsploitation. Since 2008, she is editor-in-chief of io9, a Gawker-owned science fiction blog, which was named in 2010 by The Times as one of the top science blogs on the internet.