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.


Susan Ramonat

CEO @ Spiritus Partners

    Francesca Rossi

    Top Researcher in Artificial Intelligence

      Patrick Henry Winston

      Professor of AI and CS @ MIT, Chairman @ Ascent Technology

        Rick White

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

          Latanya Sweeney

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

            Anders Sandberg

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

              Peter Turchin

              Professor of Cultural Evolution and Cliodynamics @ the University of Connecticut

                Michael Graziano

                Professor of Neuroscience @ Princeton University

                  Phil Torres

                  Founder, X-Risks Institute

                    Neil Harbisson

                    Artist and Cyborg activist

                      Joanna Bryson

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

                        Andrew Critch

                        Researcher @ Center for Human-Compatible AI

                          Kate Adamala

                          Synthetic Biology Professor @ University of Minnesota

                            Jens Naumann

                            First Recipient of an Artificial Vision System

                              Joe Davis

                              Researcher and Artist @ Department of Biology @ MIT

                                Robin Hanson

                                Professor @ GMU, Research Associate @ Future of Humanity Institute

                                  Peter Stibrany

                                  Chief Business Developer and Strategist @ Deep Space Industries

                                    Christopher Chyba

                                    Professor of Astrophysical Sciences and International Affairs @ Princeton University

                                      Envision Entrepreneurship Judges

                                      Jacob Poliskin

                                      Associate @ Mark Cuban Companies

                                        Danielle Strachman

                                        Founder and General Partner @ 1517

                                          Georgia Dinest

                                          Director @ Kernel, Former Lead @ Google X

                                            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

                                                        Last Year's Conference

                                                        Meet our speakers and panelists

                                                        Last year's speakers

                                                        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

                                                                          David Williamson

                                                                          CTO @ Modern Meadow

                                                                            Edwin Turner

                                                                            Advisor @ Breakthrough Starshot and Astrophysics Professor @ Princeton University

                                                                              Jeremy Kasdin

                                                                              Adjutant Scientist @ NASA’s WFIRST mission

                                                                                Cosmo Scharf

                                                                                Co-Founder @Visionary VR and @VRLA

                                                                                  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

                                                                                          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

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                                                                                              • Princeton University

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