How Magic Works
12:30 p.m. October 28, 2008 in Park Auditorium, 345 Park Ave, San Jose
ABSTRACT: "How'd you do that?" Everyone wants to know how magic works. Magician and author Jamy Ian Swiss will do just that — but you might be surprised by the secrets he reveals. In magic, Jamy says, "the method is not the trick" — because in fact, the method is never the "trick" in any creative endeavor. Rather, creating a compelling illusion is a delicate process comprised of countless details — including psychology, misdirection, timing, body language, sleight of hand, and a strong grasp of story and narrative structure. Prepare to be amazed in more ways than one by this eclectic tour through one man's distinctive set of artistic passions.
BIO: According to post-modern magic stars Penn and Teller, Jamy Ian Swiss "makes one understand what a terrifying art form pure sleight of hand can be." He has performed internationally for presenters ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the Smithsonian Institution. His television appearances include 48 Hours on CBS, the PBS documentary The Art of Magic, PBS Nova, Comedy Central, and The Today Show on NBC. He is the author of Shattering Illusions, a collection of essays, and The Art of Magic, the companion book to the PBS documentary. In a recent profile in The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik writes, "Swiss is thought to have one of the most masterly sleight-of-hand techniques in the world today... like seeing Yo-Yo Ma."
A Lifetime of BAD Pictures
12:30 p.m. September 16, 2008 in Park Auditorium, 345 Park Ave, San Jose
ABSTRACT: Bruce's lecture will include highlights from his career at National Geographic with stories behind the photographs. How do you capture on camera what you see with your eyes? He'll try and show you. He'll explain where ideas come from and how to prepare yourself for those serendipitous moments that make the best pictures.
BIO: Bruce Dale has produced over two thousand published photographs in National Geographic during his travels in over 75 countries. Recognitions include twice named Magazine Photographer of the Year, 1989 White House Photographer of the Year, and honors for his digital work from the Smithsonian Institution. In addition to many other awards, one of his photographs now journeys beyond the solar system on board NASA's Voyager Spacecraft as testimony about planet Earth. His versatility ranges from anthropological studies of Gypsies and American Mountain People, to highly technical work such as mounting remote cameras on the vertical stabilizer of a jumbo jet to make in-flight photos. A half dozen stories in China, Bats, Roadrunners, a book on the American Southwest, and a splendid collection of landscape images contribute to his portfolio. In 2007, National Geographic published a collection of his infrared photography at Arlington National cemetery and panoramas from recent work in India.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dale got an early start in photography and had over 50 photographs published in newspapers before his graduation from High School. He worked as a medical photographer for the Cleveland Clinic, joined the Toledo Blade at 19 and was a staffer there for seven years before joining National Geographic where he stayed for thirty years.
An early devotee of digital photography, Dale has become an expert on the subject, finding it adds tremendously to the creativity he brings to advertising campaigns. In addition, he continues with photojournalism assignments; lectures; and teaches on location with students at photographic workshops throughout the year.
From Pixels to Perception: Computational Models of Visual Grouping
12:30 p.m. August 5, 2008 in Park Auditorium, 345 Park Ave, San Jose
ABSTRACT: The phenomenon of visual grouping was first highlighted by the Gestalt school of visual perception led by Max Wertheimer, nearly a century ago. In computational vision, this ability has been studied as "image segmentation," the partitioning of an image (or video stream) into sets of pixels that correspond to "objects" or parts of objects. This process is based on bottom-up cues such as similarity of pixel brightness, color, texture and motion, as well as top-xdown input derived from familiar object categories such as faces. In this talk, I will describe the research conducted in my group over the last ten years aimed at developing a scientific understanding of grouping, both in the context of human perception and for computer vision. At a philosophical level, the techniques that we have developed go some way towards closing the much-cited "semantic gap" between pixels and perception.
BIO: Jitendra Malik was born in Mathura, India in 1960. He received the B.Tech degree in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 1980 and the PhD degree in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1985. In January 1986, he joined the university of California at Berkeley, where he is currently the Arthur J. Chick Professor in the Computer Science Division, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS). He is also on the faculty of the Cognitive Science and Vision Science groups. During 2002-2004 he served as the Chair of the Computer Science Division and during 2004-2006 as the Department Chair of EECS. He serves on the advisory board of Microsoft Research India, and on the Governing Body of IIIT Bangalore. He has authored or co-authored more than a hundred and fifty research papers, and graduated twenty-five PhD students who occupy prominent places in academia and industry. He received the gold medal for the best graduating student in Electrical Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 1980, a Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1989, and the Rosenbaum fellowship for the Computer Vision Programme at the Newton Institute of Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge in 1993. At UC Berkeley, he was selected for the Diane S. McEntyre Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2000, a Miller Research Professorship in 2001, and appointed to be the Arthur J. Chick Professor in 2002. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Kanpur in 2008. He was awarded the Longuet-Higgins Prize for a contribution that has stood the test of time twice, in 2007 and in 2008. He is a fellow of the IEEE.
Professional Success and Beyond: The Dynamic Path
12:30 p.m. July 22, 2008 in Park Auditorium, 345 Park Ave, San Jose
ABSTRACT: In this talk, Jim Citrin, one of the world's leading executive search consultants and an expert on leadership and success, will share insights from the nearly 400 executive and board director searches he has completed over the past 14 years as well as from his best-selling book, The Dynamic Path. Based on three years of research and access to some of the most inspiring people of our era, from Lance Armstrong to Bono to Billie Jean King to Jeff Immelt to Colin Powell, The Dynamic Path unlocks a new way to identify and put into practice the most important principles for a successful career and a meaningful life. Jim will bring to life the book's themes, such as how to pursue excellence, how to deliver when it counts most, how to exercise inspiring leadership, and how to build a meaningful legacy. He will lead discussions to show how these principles are applicable and achievable in your work internally at Adobe, with your customers, and in your own life outside of the office. Jim will also weave in tactics for superior performance on the job as well as long-term career strategies that can shape your professional life for years to come.
BIO: James M. Citrin is one of the world's leading executive search consultants and an expert on leadership and success. He is a senior director and member of the worldwide board of directors of Spencer Stuart. Citrin is the author of the best-selling book, The Dynamic Path — Access the Secrets of Champions to Achieve Greatness through Mental Toughness, Inspired Leadership and Personal Transformation. His previous books, including Lessons from the Top, The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, and You're in Charge, Now What?, as well as his popular Yahoo! Finance column, "Leadership by Example," have cemented his place as one of the most original thinkers on leadership in the world today. Thanks to The Dynamic Path, Citrin was honored to receive an adjunct professorship from the United States Olympic Committee at Olympic University, a groundbreaking program of leadership development based on the principles of the Olympic Movement. Jim has motivated audiences with his timely subject matter and engaging speaking style at conferences such as EG '07, Foursquare, and Fortune Brainstorm; at business schools including Stanford, Harvard, Northwestern, Wharton, Duke, University of Texas, University of Virginia, NYU, Columbia, and Dartmouth; and for companies including Walt Disney, Time Warner, Conde Nast, Reed Elsevier, Eastman Kodak, Conoco Phillips, Goldman Sachs, and McKinsey & Company, among many others.
From the Case Book of ...
4:00 p.m. June 3, 2008 in Chaplin Presentation Center, 601 Townsend, San Francisco
ABSTRACT: In a field with few design principles, rules of thumb, or laws named after people more influential than Murphy, with no Plancks or Avogadros to hold constant, and little quantification of any sort (we know how to count bad things and how long it takes to fix them), it appears the best we can do right now is tell stories. Over (enough) beer we cons up lightly anonymized War Stories about late night phone calls, scary devices, hard to find bugs (which exploiters somehow found), the backups that didn't, stupid criminals, craven prosecutors, cute hacks (but "don't try this at home") and pointy-haired bosses ... There will be a few of these in this talk, but also some Cautionary Tales, parables, isomorphs of the Old Stories which demonstrate that human frailty and the Law of Unexpected Consequences operate most strongly near the intersection of Bleeding Edge and Slippery Slope. Also just a bit about the future.
BIO: Mark Seiden, a programmer since the '60s, has generalized for the last 25 years in security, network, and software engineering for companies worldwide. As a Yahoo Paranoid and as a consultant, his recent projects have included design, architecture, and implementation for eBusiness systems, security for online financial transaction processing and for a distributed document processing system, as an expert in computer crime cases (whodunit and whadidtheydo) and testing of network, procedural and physical security in facilities and systems all over the world, in research environments and universities. Time Digital named him one of the 50 "CyberElite" in their first annual list, and he's been involved with four National Academy of Sciences studies on some trippy subjects. Mark was also the first registrant of the domain, food.com. He's been played by an actor in a rather bad movie, and his Erdos number is 4.
Technologies of Cooperation
4:30 p.m. May 12, 2008 in Chaplin Presentation Center, 601 Townsend, San Francisco
ABSTRACT: Using tools and symbolic media to do things together in new and more complex ways is uniquely human. Media and collective action have coevolved, with speech, writing, the alphabet, and the press enabling the survival of our primate ancestors, the growth of complex civilizations, the construction of civil societies, self-governance, and collective knowledge creation. Today, digital tools and global networks, together with new knowledge about human psychological, social, economic, and political behavior, make it possible to think about refining — as Adobe does — the design of platforms specifically for the amplification of collaboration.
BIO: In the 1980s, Howard Rheingold's, Tools for Thought, forecast the future of personal computers as mind-amplifiers. In the 1990s, Rheingold identified and named The Virtual Community; in 2001, his book, Smart Mobs, named another phenomenon. He worked with Institute for the Future, initiating an interdicisplinary study of cooperation. More recently, Rheingold has taught digital journalism, participatory media and collective action, virtual community and social media at Stanford and Berkeley. He was recently awarded a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to create a social media classroom, curriculum, and community of practice around the use of participative media in pedagogy.
Architecture for Commonsensical Intelligence
12:30 p.m. April 15, 2008 in San Jose State CR, 345 Park Ave, San Jose
ABSTRACT: "The Emotion Machine" describes a model for making machines with human-level commonsense knowledge and reasoning. Most previous AI models were based on single techniques (such as neural-network learning schemes, statistical methods, or simulations of evolution). But it turned out that each of these could only solve certain classes of problems. So, instead we're proposing to build an open software system that can assimilate different "ways to think," so that, when one method fails, it can switch to another. The model is based on multiple levels of "Critics," each of which tries to recognize obstacles that the system encounters, and then rearranges its ways to represent problems and its procedures for dealing with them. The traditional focus on finding a "single best method" has hobbled most previous AI research. Our goal is to develop and implement an architecture that is much more resourceful and extensible. Google "Minsky Home Page" to see more details.
BIO: Marvin Minsky has made many contributions to AI, mathematics, cognitive psychology, computer science, linguistics, robotics, and optics. In recent years he has worked chiefly on imparting to machines the human capacity for commonsense reasoning. His conception of human intellectual structure and function is presented in two complementary books, The Society of Mind and The Emotion Machine, and he teaches a course on these subjects at MIT. Professor Minsky has degrees in Mathematics from Harvard and Princeton. His inventions include the first neural network simulator, various mechanical eyes, hands and other robotic devices, and the widely used Confocal Scanning Microscope. A member of the NAS, NAE and Argentine NAS, he has received the ACM's Turing Award, MIT's Killian Award, the Japan Prize, the IJCAI Research Excellence Award, the Benjamin Franklin Medal, and the Robert Wood Prize for Optoelectronics.
LIFE: The Unfolding Journey
4:00 p.m. March 25, 2008
ABSTRACT: Frans Lanting's "LIFE: The Unfolding Journey" presents a remarkable vision of the story of life on Earth from the Big Bang to the present that speaks to the future for all life on planet Earth. Seven years ago Lanting set off on a journey of photographic discovery that parallels new scientific insights about the history of life. His search has been wide-ranging and provocative, leading him from microscopic worlds to primordial landscapes that preserve time capsules of life's history. The result is a glorious celebration of planet Earth that inspires and informs through images and stories of the amazing biodiversity that surrounds us all. The journey culminates in a new vision of nature as a collective force that maintains our planet's atmosphere—the protective membrane essential to all life. At a time when humans are realizing their global impact on the atmosphere, LIFE sets the stage for seeing a path to the future that rises from an understanding of life's astonishing past.
BIO: Frans Lanting has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time. His influential work appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world, and has been commissioned frequently by National Geographic, where he has served as a Photographer-in-Residence. For more than two decades he has documented wildlife and our relationship with nature in environments from the Amazon to Antarctica. He portrays wild creatures as ambassadors for the preservation of complete ecosystems, and his many publications have increased worldwide awareness of endangered ecological treasures in far corners of the Earth.
His books have received awards and acclaim: "No one turns animals into art more completely than Frans Lanting," writes The New Yorker magazine. His previous books include LIFE: A Journey Through Time, Jungles, Penguin, Living Planet, Eye to Eye, Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, Okavango: Africa's Last Eden, Forgotten Edens, and Madagascar: A World Out of Time.
Lanting has received numerous awards for his work as a photographer and conservationist, including top honors from World Press Photo, the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award, the title of BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and Sweden's Lennart Nilsson Award. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands inducted him as a Knight in the Royal Order of the Golden Ark, that country's highest conservation honor.
Christine Eckstrom is a writer, editor, and videographer. She has collaborated with Frans Lanting for more than 15 years on assignments and fieldwork on every continent. She is the author of Forgotten Edens and a contributing author of 15 books published by the National Geographic Society. The editor of Jungles, Penguin, and Eye to Eye, she partners with Frans Lanting to produce books, videos, and other publishing projects from their studio and gallery in Santa Cruz, California.
Weaving the Real and Imaginary in Visual Effects
4:00 p.m. March 11, 2008
ABSTRACT: Where do new ideas come from for vivid visual effects? Inspiration can be right in front of us.
BIO: Dennis Muren is the Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic. Recipient of eight Academy Awards for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, Muren is actively involved in the evolution of the company, as well as the design and development of new techniques and equipment. In June 1999, Muren became the first visual effects artist to be honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is currently finishing a book on 'How to Observe' for computer artists.
From Strip to Screen: Bringing Comics to Life
4:00 p.m. January 29, 2008 in Chaplin CR, 601 Townsend, San Francisco
ABSTRACT: We'll discuss our process through each stage or production (selection, direction, voice, story-reel, approvals, pencil-test, animation, post-production and distribution), highlighting the Adobe tools we use (Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.), and present a wish-list of features or tools that might improve our animation process. Finally we'll present our vision of the future of online animated comics along with the future software tools we'd like to put in the hands of the next Charles Schulz or Bill Watterson to create the next great ANIMATED comic strip.
BIOS: Jim Cox has spent over 20 years as a feature animation producer and writer including co-executive producer on the DreamWorks Animation 2006 hit, "Over the Hedge" ($335 million in world wide box office). Other credits include producer/screenwriter on "Ferngully," story on "Beauty and the Beast" and screenwriter on "Oliver and Company."
Michael Fry has been an internationally syndicated cartoonist for over 20 years. Co-creator of the "Over the Hedge" comic strip that inspired the DreamWorks animated feature. Executive producer of the prime time animated series, "Committed," based on his comic of the same name. Creator, producer, writer, animator and voice actor of the animated on-line series, "Live Nude Geeks," for PC Magazine. Author or co-author of nine books.