Pioneer a brighter future, today.

December 1-3, 2017
Princeton University


Artificial Intelligence


Enhanced interfaces




Synthetic biology



Catastrophic & Existential risk


Material Advancement


Space Development


Economic & Social Change


Human Enhancement

Because the world is changing. Fast.

The world is set to change drastically over the next several decades. Four technological trends in particular will cause unprecedented transformations. The spectrum of possible futures for humanity is wider than it has ever been – and the outcome depends upon our actions now. In light of this, what should we do?

This year’s Envision Conference brings together future engineers, scientists, programmers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and policy makers from top universities around the world to collectively answer the question:

What can we do to pioneer a brighter future?

Envision Conference 2017 is centered around action. Throughout panels, debates, breakout sessions, an expo and career fair, and workshops, you’ll be thinking about solutions and strategies. The future is unpredictable and no solution will be perfect, but that doesn’t mean we should sit back and watch events unfold. It’s possible to act now in ways that maximize the likelihood of beneficial outcomes.

We’ll provide you with the pioneering individuals, organizations, and companies working on or proposing concrete solutions and strategies, and the space to engage with them. We count on you to do the rest.

Speakers and Panels

Latanya Sweeney

Former CTO @ FTC, Professor of Government and Technology @ Harvard University

    Christopher Chyba

    Professor of Astrophysical Sciences and International Affairs @ Princeton University

      Rick White

      CIO / SVP of Advanced Programs & Technology @ Sotera Defense Solutions

        Simon Levin

        Professor of Ecology and Evolution and Director of Center for BioComplexity @ Princeton University

          Peter Stibrany

          Chief Business Developer and Strategist @ Deep Space Industries

            Robin Hanson

            Professor @ GMU, Research Associate @ Future of Humanity Institute

              Francesca Rossi

              AI Ethics Global Leader, IBM Research AI

                Joanna Bryson

                Natural and Artificial Intelligence researcher @ University of Bath and Princeton University

                  Katja Grace

                  Researcher at MIRI @ Berkeley

                    Phil Torres

                    Founder, X-Risks Institute

                      Anders Sandberg

                      James Martin Research Fellow @ the Future of Humanity Institute @ Oxford University

                        Robin Hanson

                        Professor @ GMU, Research Associate @ Future of Humanity Institute

                          Kate Adamala

                          Synthetic Biology Professor @ University of Minnesota

                            Neil Harbisson

                            Artist and Cyborg activist

                              Joe Davis

                              Researcher and Artist @ Department of Biology @ MIT

                                Peter Turchin

                                Professor of Cultural Evolution and Cliodynamics @ the University of Connecticut

                                  Stephen Frey

                                  Co-Founder NeuroTechX


                                    Envision Entrepreneurship Judges

                                    Jacob Poliskin

                                    Associate @ Mark Cuban Companies

                                      Danielle Strachman

                                      Founder and General Partner @ 1517

                                        Jon Gosier

                                        Founder @ Wounds A.I. Investor. Data Scientist.


                                          Max Tegmark

                                          President of Future of Life Institute, Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

                                            Sebastian Seung

                                            Evnin Professor in Neuroscience, Professor of Computer Science and Princeton Neurosciences Institute

                                              Shirley Tilghman

                                              Board Member at Google, President Emerita of Princeton University, Professor of Molecular Biology

                                                Andreas Mershin

                                                Research Scientist at MIT Center for Bits and Atoms

                                                  Stephen Frey

                                                  Product Research at Kernel and Co-Founder at NeurotechX

                                                    Tentative schedule

                                                    Venue: Taylor Auditorium, Frick Chemistry Laboratory

                                                    Venue: Frick Chemistry Laboratory Conference attendees will participate in group sessions designed to build relationships with their conference peers as well as lay the groundwork for interacting with the themes of the conference. Participants will apply to topic-specific sessions, allowing for conference themes to be framed through the lens of what participants are interested in.

                                                    Venue: Taylor Auditorium, Frick Chemistry Laboratory Envision Entrepreneurship is a competition for the most innovative application of technology for large-scale impact. These can include start-ups, government projects, inventions, or corporate projects. Applications will be judged on impact, feasibility, downside mitigation, and technology. They can be but do not need to be executable by the applicant. The top 5 applications will have 10 minutes to present during Envision in front of a panel of judges composed of industry experts.

                                                    8:30 am - 9:15 am

                                                    Venue: Atrium, Frick Chemistry Laboratory

                                                    Venue: Taylor Auditorium, Frick Chemistry Laboratory

                                                    A brave new world
                                                    We live in a time of rapid change. Four speakers explore the future trends that have the potential to instigate pervasive change for everyone. Two are technologies - Kate Adamala, Stephen Frey, Neil Harbisson, and Joe Davis will explore synthetic biology and neurotechnology. But we must also be cognizant of the non-technological trends which determine our operating landscape - Peter Turchin will examine the larger structural-demographic trends that are making our social, political, and economics systems increasingly unstable.

                                                    Existential Risk
                                                    We’ve all heard the term existential risk in various contexts - and have probably heard contradictory viewpoints on it. To paint a clearer picture, Phil Torres will detail the ethical considerations for existential risk, and Anders Sandberg will elaborate on what we can concretely do today to reduce existential risk.

                                                    Venue: Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Atrium Start-ups, non-profits, and academic labs will showcase their latest technological advancements and research progress. Full list of participants to be announced.

                                                    Venue: Atrium, Frick Chemistry Laboratory

                                                    Venue: Taylor Auditorium, Frick Chemistry Laboratory Governance plays a crucial role in shaping new technological ecosystems and their effects, but is currently woefully behind the times in its regulation on many rapidly developing technologies. Christopher Chyba will address the urgent need and framework for biosecurity-related governmental oversight. Furthermore, any high-tech business will find itself having to interact with government. Latanya Sweeney and Rick White will explore the practical aspects of working in, or with, the government. Finally, there are certain fundamental, often unintuitive principles underlying how and why humans cooperate, and valuable insights can be gained from ecological systems in shaping systems, governmental or otherwise, that coordinate many players with their own interests towards the safe and beneficial development of technology.

                                                    Personal tools will address the process of actually implementing changes in our messy, complex reality. No matter how sophisticated a vision may be, it’s useless without the practical ability to implement it.

                                                    Venue: Atrium, Frick Chemistry Laboratory

                                                    Workshops will range from practically oriented leadership workshops to informative workshops on topics like global catastrophic risk. The full list of workshops will be announced soon.

                                                    Participants can sign up to ask questions in a more intimate setting to one of the speakers for half an hour together with several other participants.

                                                    Participants will have the opportunity to network with each other and attend office hours with our speakers.

                                                    The Chief Strategist of one of the world’s premier space development companies will face off against an economics professor to answer a question that is become more relevant by the day: is space development economically feasible?

                                                    AI is already causing profound change, but much more is still to come, and the questions are growing faster than the answers. Francesca Rossi and Joanna Bryson, two AI researchers, will present different visions of what risks we should be focusing on and how to deal with them, and Michael Graziano, a neuroscientist, will explain how his mechanistic theory of consciousness implies it is possible to build a conscious AI in the technical sense, and why that might be valuable.

                                                    Conference attendees will reconvene with their Orientation Groups and experts in that group’s topic’s field to converse about the conference’s themes in retrospect. Discussion will focus around how these themes can be practically applied to their Orientation Group’s specific topic, as well as their personal engagement with the technology and the ideas in the future.

                                                    The Closing Ceremony will wrap up Envision Conference and tie together the many issues discussed into a single thread: the future is going to be drastically different from the present as a result of technology, and we can act now to harness its full potential.

                                                    We will provide you with a venue to network with participants you have not yet had the chance to meet.

                                                    About Envision

                                                    Envision was officially founded as the Princeton Futurist Society in the spring of 2016 by Luca Rade, then a freshman, as an umbrella group for the discussion of the potential of AI, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, fusion, and space development to drive fundamental change. With an initial group of eight officers, PFS organized discussions, twice-monthly dinners with professors, and trips to speaking events in New York, including a private Q&A session with Ray Kurzweil, now Director of Engineering at Google. As the group learned more, it became increasingly aware of the risks these technologies bring, and adjusted its focus to take a more nuanced stance.

                                                    As the semester drew to a close, PFS’s leadership realized futurism was a niche topic and there was a shocking lack of discourse on the issues it focused on. PFS changed its name to Envision and took a more active role in promoting thought and action on managing the impacts of rapidly developing technologies, expanding its size and scope. While continuing its discussions and guest speaker dinners, it organized trips to Boston and Silicon Valley, and hosted a conference at Princeton in December of 2016 that brought 150 top undergraduates and graduates from all over the world together to hear from a wide range of speakers, interact with organizations and companies at the career fair and expo, and discuss with each other. Today, Envision remains committed to promoting discussion and action on pioneering a brighter future through the prudent advancement of breakthrough technologies by focusing on our conference, which has proven to be by far our highest-impact activity.


                                                    The Companies & Organisations that make Envision Conference possible

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