This summer, CNN’s brand studio Courageous is partnering with Square Enix to host a first-of-its-kind conference on human augmentation. Human by Design will be held at the Paley Center* for Media in New York City on August 3, 2016, and explore the intersection of technology and humanity with the objective of bringing together top minds to debate, question, and challenge what it means to be human.
Watch the Human by Design Launch Video:
Square Enix is aligning with Human by Design to support the release of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the video game developed by Eidos-Montréal and the sequel to the critically acclaimed Deus Ex: Human Revolution, on August 23, 2016. Set in the year 2029, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided features a world that has become so divided by hatred, prejudice, and fear that many countries are enacting harsh laws aimed at segregating mechanically augmented humans and “Naturals” from each other. The many parallels of the near-futuristic Deus Ex Universe will be explored at the conference, particularly around how technology is rapidly shaping the human condition and the ethics of self-regulation.
“Since the launch of Courageous, we have been committed to pioneering the evolution of branded content to help brands tell more powerful stories,” said Otto Bell, vice president and group creative director of Courageous. “Human by Design greatly embodies this approach, as we’ve assembled a group of thought-leaders across the fields of science, technology, ethics, and cyborg activism who, for the first time, will come together to discuss the cutting-edge technologies and innovations that are shaping human augmentation.”
“Human by Design goes beyond bringing to life the key themes of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. This conference is a special opportunity for a video game to take pause from the limitless world we play in, and to drive the conversation around what is really happening in the space of human augmentation,” said Jon Grant, senior product marketing manager at Square Enix. “Our hope is that the gaming world tunes into the conference and is inspired to get involved as well.”
Featured panel sessions at Human by Design will include:
Is Augmentation a Human Right?: How can augmentation be accessible to everyone on the planet?
• E. Christian Brugger, Cardinal Stafford Professor of Christian Ethics at John Vianney Major Seminary in Colorado and author of hundreds of articles on topics in bioethics, natural law theory and the interdisciplinary field of psychology and Christian anthropology.
• Dr. Natasha Vita-More, Designer, researcher, and scientist who explores the intervention of biological limited lifespans, selective enhancement, and related socio-political issues.
• Adam Arabian, Ph.D PE, Technical Director of multiple nonprofits and Professor of Engineering at Seattle Pacific University, focused on supporting refugees and underserved communities globally.
• Dr. Steve Mann, Chief Scientist at California-based Metavision, Inventor of HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging, Founder of MIT Media Lab Wearable Computing project and widely regarded as “The Father of Wearable Computing.”
Selective vs. Therapeutic Augmentation: Who should have the final say on augmentation procedures — doctors or individuals?
• Neil Harbisson, British-born cyborg artist and activist best known for having an antenna implanted in his skull to perceive visible and invisible colors such as infrareds and ultraviolets via sound waves.
• Dr. Michael Chorost, Author of Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human, the groundbreaking “cyborg memoir” about getting a cochlear implant.
• Samantha Payne, Co-Founder of Open Bionics, an award-winning startup developing low-cost bionic hands for amputees or those born without a hand.
• Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also serves as Director of the Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory.
The Future of the Far Far Next: What will medical advances enable 10 years from now?
• Will Rosellini, IP Expert and serial entrepreneur with three companies in progress that focus on repairing the nervous system using active electrical devices.
• Lucy McRae, Science-Fiction Artist, Director, Body Architect, and TED Fellow probing the frontiers of the body, health and human adaptability.
• Zoltan Istvan, Futurist, Author of best-selling philosophical novel The Transhumanist Wager, and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate of the Transhumanist Party.
• Tan Le, Founder and CEO of EMOTIV, a bioinformatics company advancing the understanding of the human brain through electroencephalography (EEG).
The conference will culminate with the presentation of The Code of Ethics on Human Augmentation. Drafted by the Human by Design Board, which is comprised of conference speakers, The Code is meant to engage a deeper conversation around the issues of human augmentation, while reflecting the specific views of the authors, in an effort to help shape the future of the industry.
To bring global access to the live event and provocative conversation, Courageous will capture original video of the conference that will be distributed in ad space across CNN’s digital and social footprint, including CNN’s Snapchat Discover channel and Turner’s social distribution platform, Launchpad. The conference will also be streamed live on Twitch: twitch.tv/deusex.
Visit the Human by Design website for access to the conference agenda, bios of the speakers and more information of The Code: humanxdesign.com.