Tag Archives: Sama Shodjai

Whose Electric Brain? the video

After a few fits and starts, the video of my March 15, 2012 presentation to the Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars at Simon Fraser University has been uploaded to Vimeo. Unfortunately the original recording was fuzzy (camera issues) so we (camera operator, director, and editor, Sama Shodjai [samashodjai@gmail.com]) and I rerecorded the presentation and this second version is the one we’ve uploaded.

Whose Electric Brain? (Presentation) from Maryse de la Giroday on Vimeo.

I’ve come across a few errors; at one point, I refer to Buckminster Fuller as Buckminster Fullerene and I state that the opening image visualizes a neuron from someone with Parkinson’s disease, I should have said Huntingdon’s disease. Perhaps, you’ll come across more, please do let me know. If this should become a viral sensation (no doubt feeding a pent up demand for grey-haired women talking about memristors and brains), it’s important that corrections be added.

Finally, a big thank you to Mark Dwor who provides my introduction at the beginning, the Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars whose grant made the video possible, and Simon Fraser University.

ETA March 29, 2012: This is an updated version of the presentation I was hoping to give at ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Arts) 2011 in Istanbul. Sadly, I was never able to raise all of the funds I needed for that venture. The funds I raised separately from the CAIS grant are being held until I can find another suitable opportunity to present my work.

My ‘Whose electric brain?’ talk on March 15, 2012

Later this week (March 15, 2012), I will be giving a talk in Vancouver,

The Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars

Notice of Meeting

Date:  Thursday, March 15, 2012

Time:  7:30 pm

Place:  Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC campus, 515 West Hastings Street (between Seymour and Richards Streets) in the Diamond Alumni Lounge, Room 2065 (second floor)

Speaker:  Maryse de la Giroday

Topic:  Whose electric brain?

Memristors are collapsing the boundaries between humans and machines and ushering in an age where humanistic discourse must grapple with cognitive entanglements. Perceptible only at the level of molecular electronics (nanoelectronics), the memristor was a theoretical concept until 2008. Two different researchers without knowledge of each other had postulated its probable existence respectively in the 1960s and the 1970s. Traditionally in electrical engineering there are resistors, inductors, and capacitors. The new circuit element, the memristor, was postulated to account for anomalies that had been experienced and described in the literature since the 1950s.

Conceptually, a memristor remembers how much and when current has been flowing. In 2008 when it was proved experimentally, engineering control was achieved months later in both digital and analogue formats. The more intriguing of the two formats is the analogue where a memristor is capable of an in-between state similar to certain brain states as opposed to the digital format where it’s either on or off. As some have described it, the memristor is a synapse on a chip making neural computing a reality. In other words, with post-human engineering we will have machines that can think like humans.

The memristor moves us past Jacques Derrida’s notion of undecidability (a cognitive entanglement) as largely theoretical to a world where we confront this reality on a daily basis.

A Brief Bio:

Maryse de la Giroday is a science communications consultant and writer who focuses on nanotechnology and science in Canada. Her blog (www.frogheart.ca) offers “Commentary about nanotech, science policy and communication, society, and the arts” and it currently enjoys an average of 50,000+ visits per month.

She has a BA (honors-Communications) from SFU and an MA (Creative Writing and New Media) De Montfort University, UK.

As an independent academic, she has presented on the topic of nanotechnology at the 2009 International Symposium on Electronic Arts, the 2008 Congress of Humanities and the Social Sciences, the 2008 Cascadia Nanotechnology Symposium, and the 2007 Association of Internet Researchers.

She gratefully acknowledge the 2011 grant from the Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars which makes the publication of her latest paper, Whose electric brain? possible.

I expect to be exploring ideas about machines and humans as buttressed by the notion of the memristor. The talk will be recorded (tarted up/edited) by Sama Shodjai and posted, in the near future, here and elsewhere online.

My latest project applying for a Shuttleworth Fellowship

This is a very interesting organization based in South Africa. Here’s a little more about their work, from the home page,

We are inspired by 2 things:

  1. The idea that it is people who change the world for the better
  2. That if we are rigorously open about ideas and practices, more people will copy them and make the world a better place in a shorter period of time.

We provide funding for dynamic leaders who are at the forefront of social change. We identify amazing people, give them a fellowship grant, and multiply the money they put into their projects by a factor of ten or more. We are looking for social innovators who are helping to change the world for the better and are looking for some support through an innovative social investment model.

The application requirements include a two-page submission answering four questions posed by the foundation, a three-page résumé, and a five minute video.

The latest round of applications closes today, Nov. 1, 2011 and the next round opens with a May 1, 2012 deadline.

After much cogitation on my part, camera operator, director and editor, Sama Shodjai (samashodjai@gmail.com), shot the 5 min. 4 sec. video I have embedded here,

Thank you, Sama, for framing me as artistically as you could, persisting through numerous flubs, and editing in such an elegant fashion with only a few hours to pull it together.