Today, information about our lives can be packaged, transmitted, and analyzed like never before. Our social media profiles create digital twins. Big data and machine learning could someday create algorithms that understand us even more intimately than loved ones, or ourselves. 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 the emergent future of death and grieving in the digital age. Beginning with inspiration talks from experts in the field, we will embrace collaborative design exercises to imagine the creation of new rituals, technologies, and industry practices. Together, we will imagine new futures for loss and grieving, with participants developing provocative, thoughtful, and even playful concepts that could transform ideas for the end of life.
The daylong symposium ends with a public event with expert panels and dance performances by KineTech Arts, examining the changing relationship between our bodies, our minds, and our data: from the influence of surveillance technology to our emotional manipulation by informed machines.
(tentative, details TBA)
1:00pm — doors open
1:30pm — inspiration talks on death & digitization with experts
2:30pm — short break
2:45pm — design workshop begins
5:00pm — pitches
5:30pm — summary & next steps
Additional speakers TBA.
Rebecca Blum has spoken about her NecroTech research at SXSW, IxDA, End Well and SF Design Week, and co-developed and taught a course called “Designing for Death” at the Stanford d.School. In her day job, she leads the research team for Lyft’s Marketplace & Growth group, in San Francisco. Before joining Lyft, she was an Associate Strategy Director at frog design, where she worked with clients from Fortune50s to 5-person start-ups. She has published on technology and design in VentureBeat, FastCompany, and Business Insider. She also likes subway maps, improv, and puns.
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 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.
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.
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.