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

      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

                  Anders Sandberg

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

                    Robin Hanson

                    Professor @ GMU, Research Associate @ Future of Humanity Institute

                      Shahram Hejazi

                      Venture Partner @ BioAdvance, James Wei Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship @ Princeton University.

                        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


                                  1:00pm - 3:00pm

                                  Venue: Jadwin Atrium

                                  Venue: Taylor Auditorium, Frick Chemistry Laboratory 3:15-3:30: Video and speech by Andrew 3:30-4:15: Joe Davis talk + questions 4:15-4:30: Neil Harbisson demo of new technology

                                  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 pitch competition for start-ups in frontier tech that drive large-scale impact. Our focus technologies are: AI/Robotics Biotechnology Nanoscale (Nanotech/Fusion) Enhanced Interfaces (VR/AR and Brain-Machine Interfaces)

                                  8:30 am - 9:15 am

                                  Venue: Atrium, Frick Chemistry Laboratory

                                  Section 1: A brave new world 9:00-9:15 - Neil Harbisson - Cyborgism 9:15-9:30 - Stephen Frey - Neural enhancement 9:30-9:45 - Kate Adamala - Synthetic biology 9:45-10:00 - Questions 10:00-10:20 - Peter Turchin + Questions - Ages of discord Section 2: Existential Risk 10:20-10:35 - Phil Torres - The ethics of existential risk 10:35-10:50 - Anders Sandberg - concrete existential risk reduction today 10:50-11:00 - Questions

                                  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

                                  Section 3: Government 1:00-1:15 - Latanya Sweeney - Working in government 1:15-1:30 - Rick White - Interfacing with government from the private sector 1:30 - 1:45 - Christopher Chyba - Dealing with biosecurity 1:45 - 2:00 - Simon Levin - Insights from ecology on cooperation 2:00 - 2:30 - Panel Section 4: Action 2:30 - 2:50 - Shahram Hejazi + questions - Building a start-up in a high-tech ecosystem 2:50 - 3:10 - Robin Hanson + questions - Elephant in the brain

                                  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? 7:30-7:50 - Peter Stibrany + Questions - Expansion of the human presence in space 7:50-8:30 - Debate with Robin Hanson would be interesting to have a poll before and after the debate, shown live on the screen

                                  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. 9:30-9:50 - Katja Grace 9:50-10:10 - Joanna Bryson - The real existential threat of AI 10:10-10:30 - Francesca Rossi - AI - where next? 10:30-11:00 - Questions

                                  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. 12:30-1:10 - Anders Sandberg + Questions 1:10-1:30 - Final speech and thank yous

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

                                  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

                                                  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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