A New Kind of Citizen - Jeff Lieberman - H+ Summit @ Harvard


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Jeff Lieberman
Time Warp, MIT Media Lab
A New Kind of Citizen: Where We Haven't Looked

Lieberman covers education reform in the context of introspective neuroscience. He explores solutions for the future that look inward to move forward instead of thinking that only external solutions are going to solve problems. Innovation is not just about new technologies, it is about technologies we've had and not taken advantage of for hundreds (or more) years.

As he highlights in his concept description for Time Warp, the high-speed photography show he currently hosts, "We can use technology to allow us to see the world in ways we never before dreamed, to transcend the limits of the human body, to show us beauty we didn't know existed." In this talk, this same concept is extended to apply to technologies and techniques both old and new.

Thirty-year-old Jeff Lieberman is a musician wrapped in a roboticist sculptor wrapped in a photographer. The host of Discovery Channel's Time Warp may already have four degrees (two bachelors of science and two masters) behind him, but that hasn't stopped him from pursuing yet another in the form of a doctorate at MIT's Media Lab. And when he isn't studying, teaching or filming, Jeff is making music, inventing robotics-related stuff and creating "technological sculpture".

But it has been a lifelong struggle to get the perfect mix of art and science in his life. Post-graduation, after working at several start-up companies, Jeff decided to focus on the intersection between art and technology and returned to MIT to work at the Media Lab in the Robotic Life Group. There he headed design on the Cyberflora installation, a robotic flower garden that senses and responds to people in a lifelike manner, and the Motor Learning Robotic Wearable Suit, a robotic suit that teaches motor skills (dance, sports, rehab, etc). Jeff has also produced kinetic art sculptures, including Absolut Quartet, a music-making machine that incorporates the audience into the performance, and light bulb, an electromagnetically levitated and wirelessly powered light bulb.

In addition to his robotic research (which has been published in several papers and publications) and pursuit of higher learning, Jeff continues to make art. Not only is he a passionate high-speed photographer, but he's been on several concert and performance tours around the world, even releasing an album with his duo Gloobic. He also finds time to host a TV show mediated around the exploration of high-speed photography.

Published in: Education, Technology, Spiritual
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  • want to pose a question.
  • a human being?
    improve quality of our lives - ‘benefit the human condition’
    what if deepest way to improve our lives
    is to fundamentally change the way we think?
  • evolution. 4 billion years gives context -
    senses evolve for survival function
    limited access to reality
  • how does this apply to thought?
    major tool of humans - memory+concepts+self = future
    let’s explore mechanism - experience yourself.
  • experiment 2: 5 sec. - house you grew up. - see yourself seeing
    30 seconds - “focus all attention” nose breathing
    mind wandered
    most advanced - no off switch
  • 1. ‘you’ are not thoughts, but the witness
    2. you can exert no on/off control
    thought not bad

    99% evolution - only see right in front of you, present moment
    now the opposite!
  • technology not only evolutionary theme right now
    at this point in evolution - imbalanced relationship
    between thought and awareness
    tool is using you.
    so much that you think you are it!
  • thought - survival mechanism - simulate future (main ability)
    goal oriented: to be effective, reduces focus on now for future.
    uses emotion as feedback

    enormous advantage - but side effect ->
  • future step becomes present -> devalued.
    valuable for survival - not happiness.
    our happiness exist deepest in NOW present moment: (forget self) negative emotions fundamentally cannot exist w/o thought: regret, jealousy, anxiety - 99% again
  • suffering: tool of thought is not under control...
    we can change this architecture - directly. (experiments)
    developing mindfulness changes the architecture/OS.
    western science serious - <anxious, <depression, <chronic pain, >purpose, >happiness, >emotional stability, >immune - recent.
    most amazing: ancient s.c. technologies from 3000ya!
  • riches, health, honor -> happiness
    OS: insures ‘next big thing’ never going to come?
    points us away from the moment, the now.
    if the problem is in our head, we cannot change it outside our head.
    have to change our relationship with thoughts.
    not stopping thought...
    imagine past project - all times had to do right now - effective!
  • citizen scientist - observation/inquiry - can do here+now.
    modern tech can help!

    most important problem in science.
    deepest way we can change the world - change how we see it.

  • A New Kind of Citizen - Jeff Lieberman - H+ Summit @ Harvard

    1. 1. A New Kind of Citizen (Scientist) Jeff Lieberman http://bea.st
    2. 2. Why do we want to change things?
    3. 3. 1017 s time 10-23 s 10-15 m 1026 m space human experience of space and time in the physical world
    4. 4. We do not perceive reality - we perceive functionality.
    5. 5. A thought experiment: paying attention.
    6. 6. What does this mean?
    7. 7. The Human Operating System (1.0)
    8. 8. now
    9. 9. now
    10. 10. The Human Operating System (2.0?)
    11. 11. Why do we want to change things?
    12. 12. Why do we want to change things?
    13. 13. A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. -Einstein
    14. 14. Further Reading: James Austin Ramana Maharshi Stephen Batchelor Michael Singer Dan Gilbert Eckhart Tolle Bhante Gunaratana Alan Watts Daniel Goleman Alan Wallace Rick Hanson, PhD. Daniel Siegel, M.D. Jiddu Krishnamurti Andrew Newberg Rodolfo Llinas Matthieu Ricard Nisargadatta Maharaj Jill Bolte Taylor