The Synthetic Minds podcast

Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Welcome to the Synthetic Minds Podcast, a thought-provoking podcast where the boundary between the imagined and the real blurs as we traverse from Science Fiction to Science Reality. In each episode, we delve deep into the visionary worlds of science fiction writers, uncovering the profound insights these storytellers offer about our future. This isn't just about the art of science fiction; it's a journey to explore how these futuristic narratives can inform and shape our actual world in business and our personal lives. For more information, see https://thedigitalspeaker.com read less
NewsNews

Episodes

Cinematic Futures: Crafting Tomorrow's World with Brad Rochefort - Synthetic Minds Podcast EP07
03-07-2024
Cinematic Futures: Crafting Tomorrow's World with Brad Rochefort - Synthetic Minds Podcast EP07
Can science fiction storytellers predict and shape our future better than tech moguls? Brad Rochefort’s cinematic storytelling doesn’t just entertain—it provokes deep thought about our technological trajectory and its ethical implications. In the latest Synthetic Minds podcast, Brad discusses how his works, like "Zip Code" and "The Holdout," serve as blueprints for exploring futuristic concepts. Rochefort’s creative process blends real-world advancements with imaginative storytelling. His film "Zip Code," inspired by a real-life blogger's cybernetic journey, showcases how blending human experience with tech innovations can generate compelling narratives. These stories allow businesses to conceptualize future scenarios, anticipating the impacts of emerging technologies. Brad emphasizes the role of speculative fiction in strategic planning. By simulating potential futures, his narratives help organizations explore the societal impacts of new technologies in a risk-free environment. How can businesses leverage these insights to navigate technological advancements more ethically and effectively? About Brad Rochefort Brad is the author of The Secrets of Screenwriting, a textbook on unlocking your ideas for feature film screenplays. He wrote and produced The Holdout, a short film about a man who relives his life until he gets it just right. The Holdout played in festivals in New York, LA, London, Italy, Central America, and Online. Some of my other projects in development include the completed feature-length script for Zip Code, a story about the inventor of the bionic eye, as seen on the film development platform Film.io, and an upcoming limited series about a future world ruled by the powerful people in control of a global satellite system and the near-sentient AI rumored to have awakened within.
Cyberpunk Insights: Navigating Tomorrow with T.R. Napper - Synthetic Minds Podcast EP06
24-06-2024
Cyberpunk Insights: Navigating Tomorrow with T.R. Napper - Synthetic Minds Podcast EP06
Is technology a tool for progress or the ultimate mechanism for control? T.R. Napper's cyberpunk narratives might just have the unsettling answers we need. In Episode Six of the Synthetic Minds podcast, T.R. Napper, a celebrated science fiction author, delves into the cyberpunk ethos, painting a dystopian vision of the future where technology wields power and surveillance. Napper’s works, like "36 Streets," not only entertain but also serve as cautionary tales, challenging business leaders to think critically about the ethical implications of rapid technological advances. His rich background in diplomacy and international relations enriches his narratives, offering profound insights into the societal impacts of technology. Napper’s discussion emphasizes the importance of futures thinking—using speculative fiction as a strategic tool to navigate and shape tomorrow’s corporate landscapes. As leaders, how can we balance technological innovation with ethical considerations to ensure a fair and humane future? About T.R. Napper T. R. Napper is a multi-award-winning science fiction author, including the Aurealis three times. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s, Interzone, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and numerous others, and been translated into six different languages: http://nappertime.com/ He received a creative writing doctorate for his thesis: The Dark Century, 1946 - 2046. Noir, Cyberpunk, and Asian Modernity. Yes, he is officially a Doctor of Cyberpunk. Before turning to writing, T. R. Napper was a diplomat and aid worker, delivering humanitarian programs in Southeast Asia for a decade. He also was a resident of the Old Quarter in Hanoi for several years, the setting for his debut novel, 36 Streets (winner of the 2022 Aurealis Award for 'Best Science Fiction Novel'): https://amzn.to/4cpJfqt
Telling Stories to Envision the Future with Brenda Cooper - Synthetic Minds Podcast EP04
30-05-2024
Telling Stories to Envision the Future with Brenda Cooper - Synthetic Minds Podcast EP04
Can science fiction really guide us in shaping the future of our businesses, or is it just a realm of fantastical tales? In the 4th episode of Synthetic Minds, I explore how science fiction can serve as a powerful tool for strategic foresight. My guest, Brenda Cooper, a celebrated author and technologist, shares her unique perspective on the intersection of technology and society. Brenda’s novels, like "Edge of Dark" and "Wilders," blend speculative storytelling with real-world technological insights, offering valuable lessons for today’s leaders. Brenda highlights the rapid pace of technological change and its profound implications. Her work in integrating basic AI and robotics in construction exemplifies practical applications, while her narratives envision more advanced and autonomous futures. For instance, "Edge of Dark" delves into ethical dilemmas posed by advanced AIs, urging us to consider the long-term impacts and unintended consequences of our technological advancements. A key takeaway from our conversation is the necessity of strategic adaptation and ethical foresight in business leadership. Brenda advocates for a proactive approach to technology integration, emphasizing the importance of fostering a culture of innovation and ethical responsibility. She also underscores the role of AI and other technologies in addressing global challenges like climate change, urging businesses to align their strategies with sustainability goals. Brenda’s insights encourage us to harness the power of futures thinking, ensuring that our technological advancements are not only innovative but also ethical and sustainable. How can we better integrate these visionary perspectives into our strategic planning? To view or listen to the whole episode continue to: www.thedigitalspeaker.com/telling-stories-envision-future/ About Brenda Cooper Brenda Cooper writes science fiction, fantasy, and the occasional poem. She also works in technology and writes and talks about the future. She has won multiple regional writing awards and her stories have often appeared in Year’s Best anthologies. Brenda lives and works in the Pacific Northwest with her wife and multiple border collies, and can sometimes be found biking around Seattle. Some of her books include: · Project Earth (2 book series) · Fremont’s Children (4 book series) · The Glittering (2 book series) · Ruby’s Song (2 book series)
Navigating Future Realms: Science Meets Fiction with Peter Watts
22-05-2024
Navigating Future Realms: Science Meets Fiction with Peter Watts
The Synthetic Minds podcast moves from science fiction to science reality. It is a podcast that delves into the imaginative yet insightful visions of science fiction authors, revealing how their explorations of future technologies and societal shifts can inform and guide us in the present. In the latest episode of Synthetic Minds, I had the pleasure of hosting Peter Watts, an esteemed science fiction author known for his deep dives into the biological and technological intricacies of future societies. Watts, a former marine biologist turned novelist, offers a rare blend of scientific knowledge and imaginative foresight, making him an ideal guest to discuss the complex interplay between emerging technologies and societal evolution. His work challenges conventional perspectives, urging us to consider the broader implications of our technological advancements. About Peter Watts Peter Watts is a distinguished Canadian science fiction author renowned for his hard science fiction works. With a PhD in Zoology and Resource Ecology and a background in marine-mammal biology, Watts blends scientific rigour with speculative fiction, offering profound insights into future possibilities. His Rifters trilogy and the acclaimed novel Blindsight challenge our perceptions of consciousness, identity, and technology. Website: Rifters.com Full episode details on: https://thedigitalspeaker.com/navigating-future-realms-science-meets-fiction/
Downloading Tomorrow: How to Embrace Futures Thinking - Synthetic Minds Podcast EP01
09-05-2024
Downloading Tomorrow: How to Embrace Futures Thinking - Synthetic Minds Podcast EP01
Navigating technological change requires futures thinking, and science fiction can be a powerful tool, according to Karl Schroeder. The renowned author blends storytelling with foresight expertise, using narrative to explore emerging techs' societal impact. In the Synthetic Minds podcast, Schroeder delved into AI, mixed reality, blockchain economies, and governance challenges. He argues that narratives reveal unexpected interactions by playing out ideas against each other. Organisations can translate findings into stories for clearer communication. Schroeder's "Stealing Worlds" depicts an AI/blockchain future reshaping reality. He suggests radically decentralised economic models and evolving human-AI governance structures. Ultimately, he posits governance as the "killer app" for the next generation amid rapid change. Biography Karl Schroeder Karl Schroeder is an award-winning author and a member of the Association of Professional Futurists. He writes to entertain and also as a way of analysing and anticipating the future for institutional clients as diverse as governments, consultancies and multinational corporations. He is an engaging public speaker who has given talks about the intersection of technology and culture across North America, Europe and Eurasia. His current project is a near-future adventure novel about Arctic sovereignty and climate change. Karl lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife and daughter. Links Newsletter: kschroeder.substack.com Website: www.kschroeder.com X: @Karl Schroeder Books: Stealing Worlds - 2019 Lady of Mazes - 2006
Creating a Hyper-realistic Metaverse Sooner with John Gaeta - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP34
19-01-2023
Creating a Hyper-realistic Metaverse Sooner with John Gaeta - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP34
In the last episode of the Step into the Metaverse Podcast, I had a chat with John Gaeta, a creator, inventor and an Academy Award-winning designer best known for his work on the Matrix Trilogy, where he pioneered form-bending innovations such as "Bullet Time", “Virtual Cinema” and "Volumetric Capture" to envision human, hero and god-like moments. He was also involved in The Matrix Awakens from 2021 as Executive Creative Development, Executive Producer, Writer, and in the Unreal Engine 5 demonstration featuring the universe of The Matrix, which is a great watch for anyone who wants to know how close the metaverse really is. Recent areas of exploration include “Photo Anime”, “Nuvies” (Natural User Movies), “Holo Cinema”, “Immersive Cinema”, Mixed Reality, and The "Magicverse". In 2015, John co-founded Lucasfilm’s Immersive Entertainment division: ILMxLAB. “ILMxLAB seeks to “Develop, Produce and Release premium, story-based Immersive Entertainment Experiences for Star Wars and other imaginative universes”.He served as its Executive Creative Director, overseeing content strategy and multi-platform portfolio development. John and I discussed how important AR and VR are, especially regarding hyper-realistic content. We discussed the role of user-generated content in the metaverse and the infrastructure challenges of creating a hyper-realistic metaverse. Please tune in for more of our value-packed conversation. If you are interested in learning more about the metaverse, you can order my book Step into the Metaverse here.
Solutions to Drive Safety and Privacy in the Metaverse with Tiffany Xingyu Wang - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP33
17-01-2023
Solutions to Drive Safety and Privacy in the Metaverse with Tiffany Xingyu Wang - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP33
In this episode of the Step into the Metaverse Podcast, I had a chat with Tiffany Xingyu Wang, the Chief Marketing Officer at OpenWeb, a premium community engagement platform that serves 1000+ publishers and advertisers with 100M+ monthly active users. She was named a Forbes Most Entrepreneurial CMO, and the Most Innovative CMO by the CMO Club. She was previously the Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Spectrum Labs, a contextual AI platform set to build a safer internet and keep over 1 billion users safe online. Tiffany also co-founded Oasis Consortium, a think tank to advance digital sustainability through ethical standards and technologies for Web3.0, which launched the first comprehensive User Safety Standards for Web3. She is the host of Brand Safety Exchange, a destination of thought leadership for Trust and Safety leaders. She has been published and featured for her work in digital trust and safety on TIME, Harvard Business Review, MIT Technology Review, Forbes, VentureBeat, Digiday, Protocol, etc. Tiffany shared her expertise regarding sustainability in the metaverse, the dangers of the metaverse and the need for ethical standards in the immersive internet. We also discussed the Oasis Consortium that she founded and its important role in creating an open metaverse. Stay tuned for more, and enjoy! If you are interested in learning more about the metaverse, you can order my book Step into the Metaverse here.
The Secret Tool to the Metaverse's Success with Gabriel René - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP32
11-01-2023
The Secret Tool to the Metaverse's Success with Gabriel René - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP32
In this episode of the Step into the Metaverse Podcast, I chatted with the Founder and CEO of VERSES Labs, Gabriel René. VERSES is a spatial web software development group. He is the author of the #1 International Bestseller "The Spatial Web - How Web 3.0 Connects Humans, Machines, and AI to Transform the World" Gabriel is a technologist, entrepreneur, and author with a 25-year career in the technology, telecom and media industries specializing in emerging technologies like AR / VR / AI / IoT / DLT and their applications for industrial, fintech, GovTech and global standards organizations. René serves as the acting Executive Director of the Spatial Web Foundation, a non-profit organization developing standards for the ethical interoperability between Augmented and Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Robotics and Distributed Ledger technologies designed to power the Web 3.0 era and dedicated to the ethical, interoperable and equitable adoption of Spatial Web technologies across every major industry. As a deep technology pioneer, Gabriel has architected enterprise and consumer software and services in partnership with multiple Fortune 100 companies. In our conversation, we discussed the importance of the spatial web and some of the challenges of the spatial web that we need to overcome if we want to create an open metaverse. Stay tuned for that and more. If you are interested in learning more about the metaverse, you can order my book Step into the Metaverse here.
Building Communities in The Metaverse with Athena Demos - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP31
09-01-2023
Building Communities in The Metaverse with Athena Demos - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP31
In this episode of The Step into the Metaverse Podcast, I interviewed the Co-Founder/Producer of Big Rock Creative (BRCvr), Athena Demos. BRCvr is an award-winning XR experience company creating groundbreaking experiences for global clients. Big Rock Creative won the Producer’s Guild Award for Innovation, the Aurea Award for creativity, the No Proscenium award for Best VR experience of 2020, and the Hermes' Platinum Award. With over 20 years of experience producing iconic events, like the LA Burning Man Decompression Arts and Music Celebration, as well as the Art of Change Inaugural Ball for President Obama in LA, she transitioned to the metaverse to produce BRCvr (Black Rock City Virtual Reality). BRCvr is an official virtual Burning Man Experience whose scope is unprecedented in the VR space. Athena produced internationally recognized social impact projects such as Breonna’s Garden, which premiered at SXSW 2022. She has developed a philosophical approach to guiding humanity to build a foundational fabric for creative collaboration in the metaverse. As a result, she has been quoted in leading books and articles and has spoken at leading industry events. She founded the LA League of Arts, a 501c3 organization created to foster community by facilitating the creative process through public art, education and events. She spent 8+ years as the Production Manager of the two-time Academy Award Winning documentary film company Moriah Films. Don’t miss out on our conversation as we discuss how brands can contribute to the metaverse and how governments should embrace the metaverse to develop public virtual spaces for everyone to enjoy. If you are interested in learning more about the metaverse, you can order my book Step into the Metaverse here.
Why Establishing Standards Will Be Key to the Metaverse’s Future with Neil Trevett - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP26
13-12-2022
Why Establishing Standards Will Be Key to the Metaverse’s Future with Neil Trevett - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP26
In this episode of the Step into the Metaverse Podcast, I had a chat with Neil Trevett, the Vice President of Developer Ecosystems at NVIDIA, where he is responsible for enabling and encouraging advanced applications to use GPU acceleration. Neil is also serving as the elected President of the Khronos Group, where he created and chaired the OpenGL ES working group that defined the industry standard for 3D graphics on mobile devices. At Khronos, he also chairs the OpenCL working group for portable, parallel heterogeneous computing, helped initiate the WebGL standard that is bringing interactive 3D graphics to the web and is now working to help formulate standards for vision and neural network inferencing. Previously, as Vice President of 3Dlabs, Neil was at the forefront of the silicon revolution bringing interactive 3D to the PC, and he established the embedded graphics division of 3Dlabs to bring advanced visual processing to a wide range of non-PC platforms. Neil was elected President for eight consecutive years of the Web3D Consortium dedicated to creating open standards for communicating real-time 3D on the Internet. Neil will talk to us about a constellation of standards necessary to have a truly interconnected metaverse or an interoperable metaverse. We discussed the need for an open metaverse, what we need to do to achieve that, and how we can keep our data private in the metaverse. Don’t miss out on our super interesting conversation! If you are interested in learning more about the metaverse, you can order my book Step into the Metaverse here.
Why Digital Twins are Essential to Building the Metaverse with Richard Kerris - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP24
06-12-2022
Why Digital Twins are Essential to Building the Metaverse with Richard Kerris - Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP24
In this episode of the Step into the Metaverse Podcast, I had a chat with Richard Kerris, the Vice President of the Omniverse developer platform and the industry general manager for media and entertainment at NVIDIA. NVIDIA’s Omniverse is an easily extendible platform with 3D design collaboration and scalable multi-GPU real-time true-to-reality simulation. With a career spanning Apple, Lucasfilm and Amazon/AWS, Richard’s experience combine driving marketing and product development with a focus on bringing new ideas to life. At Apple, he directed developer relations and managed Final Cut Pro, Logic and Aperture. At Lucasfilm, he served as CTO, managing research and development, IT and information services. Richard has given keynote addresses at GTC, Asia Broadcast and China Joy Expo and delivered multiple Apple Worldwide Developers Conference presentations. He currently serves on the Bay Area Board of the Visual Effects Society and is an active member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. Richard and I discussed the importance of interoperability and transferability of assets across the metaverse. We talked about digital twins, how the Omniverse platform can help enterprise organizations, and how important content will be for the metaverse. Stay tuned and enjoy! If you are interested in learning more about the metaverse, you can order my book Step into the Metaverse here.
Materializing the Energy Metaverse with Kevin O'Donovan: Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP21
27-11-2022
Materializing the Energy Metaverse with Kevin O'Donovan: Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP21
In this episode of the Step into the Metaverse Podcast, I had a chat with Kevin O'Donovan, the Founder of the boutique technology consultancy company, A Bit of This and That, which focused on the intersection of technology and the energy industry, delivering innovative technology consultations, sales advisory, speaker and B2B Influencer services. The company has been involved with new technologies and their potential in an economic and socio-cultural context for more than three decades. Being a bit of a storyteller, Kevin has been evangelizing how new technologies can transform the way we do things throughout his career. He advises international clients in the digital evolution process and real-life digitalisation implementation, primarily in the energy industry. Kevin has a proven track record of bridging the gap between new technology's capabilities and the practicalities of bringing that technology to market. He has held senior leadership technical sales and sales management roles at Compaq, HP and most recently at Intel, where he was Intel’s Worldwide Sales Director for the energy industry. He came on to share his wisdom on the Internet of things (IoT) and digital twins, how important they are for the metaverse, and how they will define the enterprise metaverse. He also talked about how governments can benefit from the immersive internet and how it could disrupt the energy sector. You won’t want to miss this episode. Enjoy! If you are interested in learning more about the metaverse, you can order my book Step into the Metaverse here.
Everything You Need to Know About Avatars with Robby Ratan: Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP20
25-11-2022
Everything You Need to Know About Avatars with Robby Ratan: Step into the Metaverse podcast: EP20
In this episode of the Step into the Metaverse Podcast, I chatted with Rabindra (Robby) Ratan, an Associate Professor and AT&T Scholar at Michigan State University’s Department of Media and Information. Ratan received his Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, his M.A. in Communication from Stanford University, and his B.A. in Science, Technology and Society, also from Stanford University.  Dr. Ratan’s research focuses primarily on the psychological experience and effects of media use, with an emphasis on avatars, video games, virtual worlds, and other interactive environments (e.g., the road, online education) that include mediated self-representations (e.g., avatars, automobiles, selfie videos). He is particularly interested in how different facets of mediated self-representations (e.g., self-concept) influence the psychological experience of media use and how different parts of this psychological experience (e.g., embodiment, identification) affect a variety of outcomes, including education behaviours (e.g., classroom performance), health-related behaviours (e.g., food choice), and prejudicial/prosocial attitudes (e.g., gender/race bias). His work also emphasizes the social implications of media use concerning gender and race-related disparities in meaningful contexts (e.g., STEM fields). In our in-depth conversation, we talked about the role of avatars, including what the requirements and characteristics of avatars will be. We discussed the risk of ending up in the Uncanny Valley, the risk of imposed avatars, and so much more. Tune in and enjoy! If you are interested in learning more about the metaverse, you can order my book Step into the Metaverse here.