What happens when a Facebook profile outlives our friends? Or when our text messages can be used to train an AI “twin” that can chat with loved ones after we die? Today, information about our lives can be packaged, transmitted, and analyzed like never before. As the traces of our lives are measured, tracked, and simulated to lead digital lives of their own, we ask: what will it mean to die tomorrow?
For our Dying Tomorrow workshop, swissnex San Francisco will convene experts from design, health, technology, and research to examine how technology shapes grieving in the digital age and beyond. Beginning with inspiration talks from experts, we will embrace collaborative design exercises to invent new rituals, technologies, and industry practices that make space for mourning. Together, we’ll imagine new futures for loss and grief, with participants developing provocative, thoughtful, critical, and even playful concepts that put humans at the center.
The daylong symposium ends with a public event, with expert panels and dance performances by KineTech Arts and Malika Fankha, examining the changing relationship between our bodies, our minds, and our data: from the influence of surveillance technology tracking our behaviors to our emotional manipulation by intimately informed machines.
This event is presented in partnership with HESAV (School of Health Sciences) in Lausanne, the University of Lausanne, and the Board of the Higher Education (DGES) of the Canton de Vaud, with local support from the Institute for the Future and Leonardo.
12:00pm: doors open
12:50pm: inspiration talks
2:00pm: “On Living and Dying: Body Talks in Western Art and Culture” mini-workshop
3:00pm: field research: interviews
3:30pm: ideation phase
4:40pm: rough prototyping phase
6:00pm: networking & apéro
Francesca Bosisio, Head of Research, Collaboratoire, University of Lausanne
Francesca Bosisio holds a PhD in health psychology and was trained in Science and Technology Studies at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is currently Head of research at the Collaboratoire, the research-action unit of Lausanne University, Lecturer at the Chair of geriatric palliative care of the Lausanne University Hospital, and Senior advisor to the Canton Vaud Medical Officer. Her activities include promoting citizen science and scientific mediation in the field of genomic medicine, personalized health, human enhancement, aging, and dying.
Ajay Chander, Vice President of Research, Fujitsu Laboratories of America
Ajay Chander leads R&D teams in imagining and building new human-centric technologies and products. His work has spanned transparent AI, AI life assistants, digital healthcare and wellness, software security, and computational behavior design. He has received several best paper awards, as well as the ACM’s “Most Influential Paper” (of the decade) award. Previously, he received his PhD from Stanford University. Currently, Dr. Chander serves as the Vice President of Research at Fujitsu’s R&D lab in Silicon Valley and provides technical and thought/strategy leadership for all aspects of the interplay between technology and the human experience.
Rachel Démolis, Researcher & Social Anthropologist, HESAV
Rachel Démolis is a social anthropologist who has served as a lecturer in Sorbonne University, having first developed research in anthropology of Orthodox Judaism, then worked in the field of Global Public Health, leading research on logics of cholera vaccine refusals in Mozambique (Gates foundation), WHO-funded research on dynamics of acceptability for new technologies for immunization, and currently works at Haute École de Santé Vaud (HESAV) in Switzerland, pursuing research on anthropological perspectives on polypharmacy among the elderly (Swiss National Science Foundation, FNS), assisted suicide and the use of technology in pain treatments, incorporating visual anthropology in her practice.
Sean Mulholland, IDEO Design + Team Lead
Sean Mulholland is fascinated by human computer interaction and how technology affects human to human interaction. As the techie of the family, Sean has been the digital archivist for several loved ones over the years. These experiences sparked his interest in exploring the new and emerging ways we can use technology to preserve our memories, and how our loved ones might access and experience them after we’re gone. Currently Sean works at IDEO as a Design + Team Lead focusing on new ventures, media, and technology, where he has led innovation and product design projects for numerous Fortune 100 companies. His craft expertise focuses on multimodal user experience design, prototyping, and research using a variety of digital and physical methods. His work on these topics been presented, published, and exhibited on four continents.
Megan Rosenbloom, Co-Founder, Death Salon
Megan Rosenbloom is the co-founder and director of Death Salon, the event arm of The Order of the Good Death, and a leader in the Death Positive movement. She is on a research team out to find the historic and scientific truths behind the world’s alleged books bound in human skin, or anthropodermic bibliopegy, and has a narrative non-fiction book about the history and ethical implications of this practice, tentatively titled Dark Archives. She is Associate Director for Instruction Services at the Norris Medical Library of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Megan is a medical librarian with a keen personal interest in the history of medicine and rare books, Obituary Editor of the Journal of the Medical Library Association, and President of the Southern California Society for the History of Medicine.
Eryk Salvaggio, Research & Content Strategy, swissnex San Francisco
Eryk Salvaggio is an artist, writer, and researcher at swissnex San Francisco, where he explores the potentials — and consequences — of emergent technologies. Once dubbed “the Harry Potter of the digital vanguard,” Salvaggio was an early pioneer of the net.art movement, exhibiting internationally with his work covered in The New York Times and NBC News. His project, Fluxus Ex Machina, used the GPT2 language model to produce 100 performance art pieces. He holds an MSc. in Media and Communication from the London School of Economics.
Throughout 2019, swissnex San Francisco will bring together experts from a wide range of disciplines to explore the questions we confront in an age of CRISPR, genetics, the datafication of DNA, artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology. Connecting artists and scientists, the LifeCycle series will pose challenging questions about where we want our tech to take us: not only looking at what is possible today, but how to be responsible stewards of our new health tech revolution.