[Air-L] WEBCAST TOMORROW: Sophia Brueckner -- Sci-Fi Prototyping and Critical Optimism (Friday 8pm ET)

Christian Sandvig csandvig at umich.edu
Thu Feb 25 08:06:51 PST 2021

Hello AoIR, I thought this might be of interest. In addition to what I
wrote below I wanted to add: The artifacts that I expect to be described in
this talk (like the Embodisuit or the kindle highlight algorithm / romance
novel social network commemorative plate collection) make very interesting
class discussion material if you teach about technology or social networks.
The recording will also be available later if you wish to assign part of it
to a class. Christian

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Christian Sandvig <csandvig at umich.edu>
Date: Thu, Feb 25, 2021 at 10:52 AM
Subject: TOMORROW: Sophia Brueckner -- Sci-Fi Prototyping and Critical
Optimism (Friday 8pm ET)
To: ESC Center <esc-center at umich.edu>

Dear ESC enthusiasts,

I am so happy to report that Sophia Brueckner will appear tomorrow night to
provide an overview of her artistic practice. Brueckner, accomplished
artist, computer scientist, and former Googler (Google employee), is
relentlessly critical of the tech world as it stands today, but her
compelling perspective asks: What would a more positive vision of computing
look like? Brueckner's art questions surveillance, control and
dehumanization with computers by creating projects that offer alternative
visions of telepresence, wearables, content curation algorithms, and more.
She is also dedicated to opening debates about the ethics of technology to
those without a technological background. I hope you can join us.

This event is open to the public. Please feel free to forward this e-mail
as appropriate.



This is a scheduled video event. At the time stated above, watch via
webcast on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYn2vukv4gk

This video will be simulcast by Detroit Public Television at
dptv.org/pennystamps. A recording of the event may be available at a later
date after a delay for processing. Discussion is possible via the comments
on the Penny Stamps Speaker Series Facebook Page

Sci-Fi Prototyping and Critical Optimism

Sophia Brueckner, University of Michigan

Online via YouTube
Friday, February 26, 2021
8:00pm - 9:00 pm Eastern Time

Inseparable from computers since the age of two, Sophia Brueckner believes
she is a cyborg. As a software engineer at Google, she designed and built
products used by tens of millions. At the Rhode Island School of Design and
the MIT Media Lab, she researched the simultaneously empowering and
controlling aspects of technology with a focus on tangible and social

Since 2011, Brueckner has taught Sci-Fi Prototyping, a course combining
science fiction, extrapolative thinking, building prototypes, and
technology ethics at MIT, Harvard, RISD, Brown, and the University of
Michigan. Both the class itself as well as the students’ individual
projects received international recognition and were featured by The
Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, Wired, NPR, Scientific American, Fast
Company, and many others.

Creating new ways to apply science fiction to the design process, Brueckner
prototypes alternatives to the tech industry’s limited visions for how we
live with technology. She makes both physical and digital artifacts
combining software programming, digital fabrication, and electronics with
traditional media. These projects challenge the norms of the tech
community, whose work has enormous impact on our day-to-day lives, as well
as translates the problems in ways that are understandable to the everyday
user. She invites others to embody an attitude of “critical optimism” and
to imagine what technological futures they might prefer for themselves.
Brueckner is the founder and creative director of Tomorrownaut, a creative
studio focusing on speculative futures and sci-fi-inspired prototypes.

Brueckner’s work has been featured by Artforum, SIGGRAPH, the Peabody Essex
Museum, Portugal’s National Museum of Contemporary Art, Leonardo, Eyeo,
ISEA, TEDx, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and more. She was an
artist-in-residence at Autodesk Pier 9 and is now an artist-in-residence at
Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.). She is currently an
assistant professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design at the
University of Michigan. Her ongoing objective is to combine her background
in design and engineering with the perspective of an artist to inspire a
more positive future.


Link to this event on the Web:

More information about ESC: The Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing:

This event is part of the Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series. The
2020-2021 Series is brought to you with the support of Detroit Public
Television and PBS Books.


Michael Zimmer: Data Ethics During a Pandemic
Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 1pm ET


ESC is generously supported by the School of Information; the Center for
Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research; and the Department
of Communication & Media in the College of Literature, Science, and the
Arts at the University of Michigan.

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