Designing and Doing
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Designing and Doing
March 6–7, 2018
Los Angeles, CA

USC’s Information Sciences Institute and Institute of Creative Technologies
March 5, 2018

Library Selection
Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins 1st Edition
(PublicAffairs, May 2017)
By Garry Kasparov


Monday, March 5
10:30 AM

Poolside Brunch at the Ritz-Carlton

11:30 AM

Field trip to USC Labs
Depart the hotel

12:00 PM
Information Sciences Institute (4676 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey)
2:30 PM
Institute of Creative Technologies (12015 Waterfront Drive, Playa Vista)
6:00 PM
First-Timers Reception
6:30 PM
Welcome Reception
7:00 PM
Welcome Dinner

Tuesday, March 6
7:30 AM


8:30 AM
Len Kleinrock, TTI/Vanguard Advisory Board
Conference Welcome
8:50 AM

TTI/Vanguard Announcements

9:00 AM

Samantha Kleinberg, Assistant Professor and Head of the Health and AI Lab, Stevens Institute of Technology
Healthcare: From Causes to Decisions
Massive observational datasets provide seemingly unprecedented opportunities for causal inference, such as identifying risk factors for disease with electronic health records. However, our ability to understand these complex data sets has not grown at the same pace as our ability to collect them. Machine learning algorithms have failed to capture the true complexity of causality, which may lead to ineffective predictions and interventions. More fundamentally, these algorithms are routinely evaluated in terms of accuracy—not utility. Thus, a key question remains: If we find the true causal structure of a system, does this really help us make better decisions? Some successes in causal inference using observational health data, along with recent work showing how more information can lead to worse decisions, provide a context for some general thoughts about right and wrong ways to use these large data sets and suggest a path forward for making better use of causal information.

9:45 AM

Mustafa Boyvat, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering
The Design Possibilities of Battery-Free Robots
The traditional Japanese art of origami transforms a simple sheet of paper into complex, three-dimensional shapes through a very specific pattern of folds, creases, and crimps. Folding robots based on that principle have emerged as an exciting new frontier of robotic design, but generally require onboard batteries or a wired connection to a power source, making them bulkier and clunkier than their paper inspiration and limiting their functionality. A team of researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University has created battery-free folding robots that are capable of complex, repeatable movements powered and controlled through a wireless magnetic field. Once the battery is subtracted, new options unfold for robot designers.

10:30 AM
Coffee Break
11:00 AM

Bret Victor, Researcher, Dynamicland
More and more, working on a computer isolates us more than it connects us. We have lost what it means to work side-by-side with real people, to work with our hands, to learn from our surroundings. Dynamicland is inventing a new form of computing in which people create computational media in the real world, with their hands and real physical materials, not behind screens or in virtual spaces. The prototype of this new computer is not a product, but a place—a community workspace where the people of Oakland will come to “live in the future” and shape the technology with us.

11:55 AM

Todd Richmond, Director of Advanced Prototype Development, Institute for Creative Technologies, University of Southern California
Living and Working Immersive—the Search for Egg Yolks
Technology advancements, driven by the move to digital, continue to increase in size, scope, and impact on society. But humans are profoundly analog, and this limits our ability to understand and quickly adapt to these new capabilities. The way forward involves looking for “egg yolks"— tools, techniques, and approaches that can form a stable emulsion between the human and the virtual.

12:25 PM
Members’ Working Lunch
1:40 PM

Roger McNamee, Partner and Cofounder, Elevation Partners, and Jonathan Taplin, Emeritus Director, Annenberg Innovation Lab, University of Southern California
A Conversation About Devices, Addiction, Children, and Happiness
The sad truth is that Facebook, Alphabet, and Apple have behaved irresponsibly in the pursuit of massive profits. They have consciously combined persuasive techniques developed by propagandists and the gambling industry with technology in ways that threaten public health and democracy. Society regulates products that create addiction. We have laws to prevent discrimination and election manipulation. None of these regulations and laws has yet been applied to Facebook and Google. The time has come. It’s going to take resourcing and people and philosophers and anthropologists and sociologists asking, how is this stuff affecting people's minds? And what does it mean to affect people's minds positively or ethically.

2:30 PM

Topical Breakout Groups

3:00 PM
Coffee Break
3:30 PM

Roni Zeiger, MD, Cofounder, Smart Patients, and Part-Time Urgent Care Doctor
Integrating Health into the Human Workflow
Patients are the most underused resource in healthcare. With the right tools, patients become experts in their conditions—and their knowledge improves the care they receive. Indeed, the next tipping point in medicine includes tapping into the knowledge created by networks of engaged patients.

4:15 PM

Alex Bayen, Professor of Engineering and Director, Institute for Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley
Is Networked GPS Making Traffic Flow Worse?
We’ve all experienced the dysfunction created by Google Maps and Waze as they guide cars away from congestion long after the highway has been cleared, or even off the freeways entirely and onto tertiary roads. Cities and towns have begun to ban nonresidents from their streets during commute hours; citizens are erecting fake detour signs and trying to trick the mobile apps to prevent them from sending cars into their neighborhoods. We need smarter apps. We need the best possible traffic engineering, and then we need the apps to collaborate with one another to implement that routing—steering the right number of people along different routes to prevent congestion.

5:00 PM

End of First Conference Day

6:30 PM
7:00 PM

Wednesday, March 7
7:30 AM


8:30 AM
Irmak Sirer, Partner and Data Scientist, Datascope, IDEO
Deep Learning Reveals the Essence of Matt Damon
As deep learning continues to advance, we add more and more powerful tools to the machine learning / big data toolkit. Generative Adversarial Networks—a framework where neural networks study real life images and learn to generate completely new, lifelike images that are in the same vein—open up new application possibilities. For example, we can train neural networks on celebrity faces, explore face generation, and examine the relationships between a non-celebrity face—such as Irmak Sirer’s—and the faces of different celebrities, such as Matt Damon’s, and George Clooney’s. (Sirer believes this irrefutably proves how handsome he is.) Interestingly these networks can be built in Python with Tensorflow—there is no challenging math or code review.
9:20 AM
Lera Boroditsky, Associate Professor, University of California, San Diego
How Language Shapes Thought
Humans communicate with one another using 7,000 or so different languages, and each language differs from the next in innumerable ways. Do people who speak different languages think differently? Do languages merely express thoughts, or do they secretly shape the very thoughts we wish to express? Are some thoughts unthinkable without language? The question of whether the languages we speak shape the ways we think has been at the center of controversy for centuries, and with good reason. At stake are basic questions all of us have about ourselves, human nature, and reality. Why do we think the way we do? Why does the world appear to us the way it does? It is now possible to come to some conclusions about how language shapes the way we think about space, time, number, causality, and agency.
10:10 AM

Len Kleinrock, TTI/Vanguard Advisory Board
Keep the Pipe Full, But No Fuller
In the last year there has been a surge of activity significantly improving the performance of Internet traffic TCP congestion control. Past performance has been problematical due to an early design choice that interpreted packet loss as congestion. The new approach is based on the system’s convergence to an optimal operating point that defines maximum throughput and minimal delay. This optimization is based on a metric called “Power” introduced in a 1979 paper. These developments will be presented along with a very general extension of Power leading to a Universal Power Profile and an intuitive rule of thumb for optimizing network performance.
10:30 AM
Coffee Break
11:00 AM

Bo Peng, Partner and Data Scientist, Datascope, IDEO
Data Science + Human Centered Design
Artificial intelligence has opened a realm of opportunities for designers. But if we’re not mindful—if we don’t design with the human element in mind—it could detract from the human experience instead of augmenting it. IDEO has worked with an ever-widening range of companies, from Proctor & Gamble to Thomson Reuters, to bring AI into design.

11:45 AM

Maja Matarić, Professor and Chan Soon-Shiong Chair in Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics, University of Southern California
Providing Care by Facilitating Social Interactions Rather than Automating Physical Tasks
Caring for the elderly is becoming an urgent concern in nearly all countries as populations age. We need to augment human caregiving with socially assistive robotics—robots that offer assistance through social rather than physical interaction. These intelligent, personalized robots can provide individualized care through monitoring, coaching, encouragement, and motivation in the contexts of convalescence, rehabilitation, training, and therapeutic aid. Much progress has been made in the past few years, not just for elderly populations, but people with autism and others with special needs in daily life.

12:30 PM
Members’ Working Lunch
1:45 PM

Rey Junco, Fellow, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University
Predicting Behavior, Personality, and Achievement from Small Online Datasets
What if we could take the same methods that Amazon uses and apply them to education and other noncommercial purposes? Amazon aggregates data over millions of shoppers engaging in billions of transactions every month. Similarly, we can take data about how thousands of students interact with their electronic textbooks to create models that predict how they will do in a course. More generally, data from mobile phone and computer activity can be used to predict empathy, grit, anxiety, and depression and we can then use these qualities to predict academic performance, personality characteristics, and even harassment behaviors.

2:25 PM

Marco Della Torre, Chief Technology Officer, Derive Systems
Designing Intelligence for the Vehicles Already on Our Roads
Vehicles coming off today’s assembly lines are customizable in ways unimagined until recently. But what about the 270 million vehicles already on the roads? As it turns out, their networks and software interfaces can be tapped into, and new features can be retrofitted in. For example, we can activate maintenance alerts even before warning lights are lit. Parents can limit the maximum speed teenage drivers can hit and can require that seat belts be fastened for a car to start. Fleet operators can add single sign-on, limit vehicle idling, control acceleration and transmission shift points, and maximize fuel efficiency in other ways as well.

3:10 PM

Alicia Juarrero, President, VectorAnalytica, Inc.
Enabling Innovation and Emergence: The Lessons from Complex Systems
Evolution selects for resilience, not stability. Thus evolvability, the ease with which a system or organization can change—its ability to innovate, in other words—improves resilience. To be sure, innovative transformation cannot be commanded. But we can make it more likely to occur by managing the constraints a system operates under—in practical terms, by reformatting an organization's background assumptions, expectations, and cultural framework. For example, in his forthcoming book Learning War, military expert Trent Hone argues that “between the end of Spanish-American War and the close of WWII, the U.S. Navy developed a sophisticated system of learning that fostered the emergence of an extremely effective tactical doctrine.” Hone describes the “enabling constraints” that fostered the emergence of a new doctrine.

3:50 PM

TTI/Vanguard Announcements

4:00 PM
Meeting Closes

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