Pioneer a brighter future, today.

December 1-3, 2017
Princeton University


Artificial Intelligence


Enhanced interfaces




Synthetic biology



Catastrophic and Existential risk


Material Advancement


Space Development


Economic and 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.


More information on this year's conference coming soon...

Last Year's Conference

Last year's speakers

Meet our speakers and panelists

Andrew Zwicker

Head of Education and Physicist @ Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Luke Nosek

    Partner @ Founder's Fund, Co-Founder @ Paypal

      Julia Bossmann

      President @ Foresight Institute

        Andrew Critch

        Researcher @ Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI), UC Berkeley

          Philip Metzger

          Co-Founder @ KSC-NASA Swamp Works

            Gregory Stock

            Icahn School of Medicine, Founder @ Signum Bioscience

              Susan Schneider

              Associate Professor @ Cognitive Science Program, University of Connecticut

                Robin Hanson

                Professor @ GMU, Research Associate @ Future of Humanity Institute

                  Anders Sandberg

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

                    Jeremy Kasdin

                    Adjutant Scientist @ NASA’s WFIRST mission

                      Sam Sternberg

                      Doctoral Researcher @ Doudna Lab, UC Berkeley

                        Roman Yampolskiy

                        Director @ Cyber Security Laboratory, University of Louisville

                          Riva-Melissa Tez

                          Co-Founder @ Permutation Ventures

                            Andreas Mershin

                            Physicist @Center for Bits and Atoms, MIT

                              David Williamson

                              CTO @ Modern Meadow

                                Edwin Turner

                                Advisor @ Breakthrough Starshot and Astrophysics Professor @ Princeton University

                                  Cosmo Scharf

                                  Co-Founder @Visionary VR and @VRLA

                                    Last year's schedule

                                    1:00pm - 3:00pm

                                    Venue: Carl ICahn Laboratory, Oval Lounge

                                    Venue: Frist Center, Auditorium 302

                                    The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a world-class fusion energy research laboratory dedicated to developing the scientific and technological knowledge base for fusion energy as a safe, economical and environmentally attractive energy source for the world’s long-term energy requirements.

                                    The field trip will include a guided tour of the laboratory and NSTX, the largest spherical tokamak reactor in the world, as well as a keynote speech by Andrew Zwicker, Head of Education at PPPL, on the Future of Nuclear Fusion.

                                    Andrew Zwicker

                                    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.

                                    The top three will receive $2000, $1000, and $500 in prize money respectively.

                                    Venue: Friend Center, Auditorium 101

                                    9:30 am - 11:00 am
                                    Panel: Prospects for Space Development and Extraplanetary Habitation

                                    Will humanity become a space-faring civilization? If so, how soon? And how will this change human society? Panelists from industry, government, and academia will consider these questions from multiple perspectives.

                                    Edwin Turner – Advisor at Breakthrough Starshot and Astrophysics Professor at Princeton University
                                    Jeremy Kasdin – Adjutant Scientist at NASA’s WFIRST mission
                                    Philip Metzger - Co-Founder, Swamp Works, NASA-KSC

                                    Venue: Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Taylor Auditorium

                                    Companies and labs from across the world at the forefront of rapidly developing disruptive technologies will present their latest breakthroughs and explain potential applications. This is a unique opportunity to understand and interact with the current cutting edge of technology and place the future in the context of the present.

                                    Venue: Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Atrium

                                    Can the vast potential of Artificial Intelligence be safely harnessed? Or do the risks outweigh the rewards?

                                    Panelists Include:
                                    Andrew Critch - Researcher at Machine Intelligence Research Institute
                                    Riva-Melissa Tez - Co-Founder at Permutation Ventures
                                    Robin Hanson – Professor at GMU and Research Associate at the Future of Humanity Institute
                                    Roman Yampolskiy – Director of Cyber Security Laboratory at University of Louisville
                                    Susan Schneider - Associate Professor at Cognitive Science Program at University of Connecticut

                                    Venue: Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Taylor Auditorium

                                    Three 15 minute presentations followed by 5 minutes of Q&A on three pioneering technological applications that will radically change the way our world will look like in the near future.

                                    Confirmed Case Studies:
                                    Cosmo Scharf: Virtual Reality - What if we could live in the Matrix?
                                    David Williamson: The Future of Materials Crafting via Biotechnology
                                    Andreas Mershin: Nanotechnology - Unlocking the Nanoscale

                                    Venue: Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Taylor Auditorium

                                    Participants will have the opportunity to interact over dinner with the Conference Speakers as well as Princeton professors who are active in the technologies of the conference.

                                    Venue: Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Atrium

                                    As we work to develop solutions to global challenges, VR offers an unprecedented space for design and collaboration. This workshop at StudioLab will provide an overview of ways to use VR for design, exploration, research and simulation. In addition to highlighting what’s on the cutting edge in the industry of commercial VR headsets and their potential applications, the workshop will feature a full-motion virtual reality (FMVR) system -- the Vizmove Walking Virtual Reality System – which combines the Oculus Rift with motion trackers to allow physical motion in 50 square meters of real space. Participants will be able to try out the system and experience some of the benefits it offers in terms of greater immersion, a more natural ability to engage in VR, reduced risk of motion-sickness and an increased sense of realism.

                                    Princeton’s Nuclear Futures Lab (currently working in StudioLab) will also demonstrate the potential of VR for design and simulation by sharing its work on the use of VR to support innovation in nuclear arms control. The research team is using FMVR to develop facility architectures and verification protocols for treaties that do not yet exist. VR allows researchers to engage with questions that are otherwise impossible to address in an open environment, for example, inspecting nuclear warheads stored at military facilities while offering greater flexibility for design and brainstorming and eliminating the risk of experimenting in dangerous environments.

                                    Audiovisual Piece for Fulldome and Virtual Reality

                                    Morphogenesis (from the Greek morphê ‘’shape'' and genesis “creation” literally, "beginning of the shape") is the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape. As a fulldome and virtual reality piece, which is inspired by the phenomenon of emergence in self-organized systems, Morphogenesis consists of the continuous transformation of fundamental geometrical patterns and uses them as the building blocks of an immersive space and a visual notation for the sound, during an audiovisual journey through different aspects of the physical and biological universe. As the common characteristics of emergence that can perceived universally, the audiovisual experience intends to emphasize the systemic interconnectedness over space and time of all natural dynamics and how these dynamics result to create novelty.

                                    Visual Artist: Can Buyukberber:
                                    Sound Artist: Yagmur Uyanik:

                                    In this talk hosted by the Princeton 3D Printing Club, we will discuss the past, present, and future of 3D printing. Our focus will be on affordable desktop fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers, especially in regards to challenges that educators and entrepreneurs face when using these empowering (and occasionally frustrating) tools of manufacturing.

                                    Is there some principled way to assign probabilities to conjectures written in PA or ZFC before they are proven or disproven? This workshop led by Andrew Critch will introduce a new algorithm for doing this, which satisfies a criterion called Garrabrant induction that has many nice asymptotic consequences. In particular, the algorithm learns to “trust itself” in that it assigns high probability to its own predictions being accurate (it can refer to itself because ZFC and PA can talk about algorithms). It also assigns high probabilities to provable statements much faster than proofs can be found for them, as long as the statements are easy to write down. More generally, the algorithm was developed as a candidate model for defining “good reasoning” when computational resources are limited. This talk will given an overview of the algorithm, the Garrabrant induction criterion, and its currently known implications.
                                    Excellent choice for mathematically and computer science inclined participants.

                                    Why should you care about having an impact? What are examples of good tech companies? How does impact evaluation fit into the startup process?

                                    All these questions and many more will be answered by Richard Batty and Michael Peyton Jones, founders of the Good Technology Project. In this workshop, Richard and Michael will show participants how to search for an important problem to solve by modelling and measuring their impact. He will discuss the mechanisms, difficulties and counterfactuals involved in the process.

                                    Do you want to lead a high impact venture? If so, this is the workshop to start with!

                                    Technology can extend human capabilities - for better and for worse. For example, nuclear physics enabled a new source of electricity but also the means to destroy cities full of people. Future technologies such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology could bring enormous benefits or extreme global catastrophe, depending on how they are designed and used. So what does that mean for us? This workshop will cover how to assess the risks and potential benefits of future technologies and how to shift them from risk to benefit.

                                    9:30 am - 11:00 am
                                    Panel: Genetic Engineering and Prospects for Human Enhancement

                                    Panelists include:
                                    Gregory Stock - Professor @ Icahn School of Medicine; Founder@ Signum Bioscience
                                    Anders Sandberg - James Martin Research Fellow at Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University
                                    Sam Sternberg - Doctoral Researcher @ Doudna Lab, UC Berkeley

                                    Venue: Friend Center, Auditorium 101

                                    Each breakout group focused on applications of one keystone technology, students will receive a simulation problem--involving both innovation trajectories and risk prevention involved in real-world tech integration--and will work collaboratively to draft a resolution. Resolutions will need to take into account technical aspects as well as social, economic, political, and industry implications.

                                    Venue: Friend Center Library, Conference Rooms

                                    Princeton Envision was founded to inspire our generation to pioneer a brighter future through the responsible and innovative use of rapidly developing disruptive technologies, and this requires a sustained effort. A three-day conference can only scratch the surface of the revolutionary impacts of these technologies on our future.

                                    Our goal is to build a global network of bright and talented young pioneers. Build a Vision will explain how participants can set up Envision chapters at their universities to gain more in-depth exposure to the technologies and their implications as well as to instigate action.

                                    Activities of Envision chapters may include but are not limited to: inviting guest speakers; hosting trips to relevant companies, institutions, and conferences; innovation competitions; and discussions.

                                    Venue: Friend Center, Auditorium 101

                                    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.

                                    The Closing Ceremony will include:
                                    Announcement of the winners of Envision Entrepreneurship
                                    “Pioneering a Brighter Future” - President of Princeton Envision
                                    Keynote Address: Julia Bossmann, President @ Foresight Institute

                                    Venue: Friend Center, Auditorium 101

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

                                    Venue: Campus Club

                                    Last Year's Sponsors

                                    The Companies & Organisations that make Envision Conference possible

                                    CST Logo
                                    Princeton MAE
                                    Keller Center

                                    Last Year's Partners and Advisors

                                    Future of life institute

                                    Shirley Tilghman

                                    President Emerita and Professor of Molecular Biology @ Princeton University, Board Member @Google, 2015 President @ American Society for Cell Biology

                                    Peter Bruce-Clark

                                    Co-Founder @ Permutation Ventures

                                    Sam Altman

                                    President @ Y Combinator, Co-Chairman @ OpenAI

                                      Jaan Tallinn

                                      Co-founder @ Skype, Co-founder @ Future of Life Institute, Partner @ Ambient Sound Investments

                                        Brett Schilke

                                        Head of Impact @ Singularity University

                                        Emily Lammers

                                        Product Manager, Global Macro @ Franklin Templeton Investments

                                        Last Year's Technology Expo Presenters


                                        Osterhout Design Group

                                        Augmented Reality – SmartGlasses

                                        NeuroDigitalLogo (1)


                                        Virtual Reality – GloveOneVR

                                        Simplex Sciences Logo (1)

                                        Simplex Sciences

                                        Biotech – DNA Ladder Fabrication

                                        MakerarmLogoVector (1)


                                        Robotics – MakerArm



                                        Virtual Reality – Time Travel in The City

                                        IRIS-ETH Logo (1)

                                        ETH IRIS - Institute of Robotics and Intelligence Systems

                                        Nanotechnology – Nanoswimmers

                                        OSU NBL Logo (1)

                                        Ohio State University Nanoengineering and Biodesign Lab

                                        Nanotechnology/Biotechnology – DNA Origami Machines and Nanostructures

                                        Princeton Rocketry Club Logo (1)

                                        Princeton Rocketry Club

                                        Space Exploration – Blasting Off Again: An Intro to High-Power Rocketry

                                        Princeton 3D Printing Club Logo (2)

                                        Princeton 3D Printing Club

                                        3D Printing – Creative Designs

                                        VR Artist (Visuals) - Can Buyukberber


                                        VR Artist (Sound) - Yagmur Uyanik


                                        Brown Space Engineering

                                        Nanosatellite EQUiSat

                                        Hosted by



                                        • Princeton University

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