Inaugural MIT Future of People conference to explore how science and technology will shape the body, mind and spirit


Cambridge, Mass., November 10, 2016––How will science and technology impact the human body, mind, and society in the 21st century?

On December 3, 2016, the inaugural Future of People conference will explore this increasingly important question by providing a platform for scientists, technologists, designers, entrepreneurs, futurists and the broader community to discuss the challenges of humanity entering into the digital age. The conference was created and organized by a team of students from the MIT Sloan School of Management in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, where the day-long event will be held.

Its centerpiece will be a FastForward Challenge, which will invite participants to envision and build scenarios of how human work, health, food, mobility, and energy will look 40 to 50 years from now and beyond. 

“Future of People intends to create a community of forward-thinking innovators and global citizens. This conference gives us a great opportunity to ask the bigger questions about technology’s effect on humanity, to bridge the gap between generations, to identify and tap unconventional talent, and also to empower a new kind of leaders capable of enabling inclusive innovation,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT Sloan Professor and Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, a strong supporter of the conference.

This journey will kick off with thought-provoking keynotes, Q&As and workshops led by visionary thinkers from academia, industry, and the public and social sectors responsible for the breakthroughs shaping our future. The audience will enjoy a front row seat to the “Renaissance 2.0” and get to question new frontiers—and the consequence—for us as individuals, professionals, and citizens. 

Later that day, participants of the FastForward Challenge will share their futuristic scenarios. For example, “Are computers going to outsmart us?” “Are women still going to have babies in the future?” “What if we do not age or die anymore?” They will tell their story to the audience and a committee of renowned future-thinkers led by Eric Weinstein, Managing Director of Thiel Capital. 

“Great leaders have one thing in common: the ability to envision the future, so they can make it happen,” says Léa Peersman Pujol, Future of People Founder and MBA ‘17 at MIT Sloan.

Slated speakers will include, among others:

  • David Brin – Scientist, Futurist, Award Winning Science Fiction Author
  • Aubrey de Grey – Chief Science Officer, SENS Research Foundation
  • Kevin Esvelt – MIT Media Lab, Sculpting Evolution Group
  • Rish Mitra – CEO Blippar, Augmented Reality
  • Pattie Maes – MIT Media Lab Professor & Head of Fluid Interfaces Research Group
  • Manuel Le Gallo – IBM Researcher, Artificial Neurons
  • George Gilder – American Investor, Writer, Economist, Techno-Utopian Advocate, and Co-Founder of the Discovery Institute
  • Sheila Jasanoff – Director, Program on Science, Technology and Society Harvard Kennedy School
  • Jaron Lanier – Microsoft Computer Scientist, American Computer Philosophy Writer
  • Jake Dunagan – Director, verynice; Research Director, Institute for the Future
  • Rebecca Peel – Director, of Talent, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Jeff Schwartz – Human Capital Practice, Deloitte

The event is supported by sponsors including:

  • Steelcase
  • OpenMind Society
  • MIT IDE and the Inclusive Innovation Competition

“In 1961, President Kennedy delivered a speech in which he told the American people that ‘we choose to go the moon.’ Eight years later, the world saw the first moon landing,” says Peersman Pujol. “The most striking thing about it was probably the average age in the NASA control room: 26 years old. Those who got us to the moon were 18 when they heard President Kennedy’s speech. That is the power of storytelling and vision; and everyone has this power. We are helping to unlock it!”

For more information, please visit: and follow futureofpeople on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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