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CATF Humanities to host artificial being “BINA48”

By Staff | Jul 25, 2014

The Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University’s Humanities series will host speaker Bruce Duncan and artificial intelligence unit Bina48 for a lecture on Bina and the Evolution of Artificial Intelligence. The lecture will be held on Saturday, July 26 at 4:30 p.m. in Reynolds Hall

(109 North King St.), and is free and open to the public. The program is supported by a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council. The CATF world premiere play, Uncanny Valley by Thomas Gibbons, part of the 2014 season which runs through August 3, was inspired by an article in National Geographic on Bina48.

Bina48, the brainchild of the Houston Texas-based Hanson Robotics, was created at the behest of Dr. Martine Rothblatt, founder of the Terasem Movement Foundation in Vermont. Terasem promotes the geoethical (world ethical) use of nanotechnology for human life extension; it also conducts educational programs and support scientific research and development in the areas of cryogenics, biotechnology and cyber consciousness.

Bina is one of the world’s most advanced social robots. Her programming is based on a composite of information from several people, including Bina Aspen, co-founder of the Terasem Movement. She was

created using video interview transcripts, laser scanning life mask technology, face recognition, artificial intelligence and voice recognition technologies. As an “ambassador” for the LifeNaut project, Bina48 is designed to be a social robot that can interact based on information, memories, values, and beliefs collected about an actual person. Her abilities include Face Recognition, Voice Recognition, Facial Expressions, Head & Eye Movement, Motion Tracking, Internet Connectivity and Conversational Ability.

Duncan has been the Managing Director of the Terasem Movement Foundation Inc. since 2004. He has worked in the field of non-profit administration and education for over 25 years. He is responsible for overseeing the management and implementation of the research and educational outreach of the Lifenaut Project and other programs of the Foundation. He has taught conflict resolution at the University of Vermont and worked at Seeds of Peace, an international peace camp. He is also a filmmaker and has produced several independent films and documentaries.

Humanities event information and Uncanny Valley tickets can be obtained through the Theater Festival Box Office, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., by calling 800-999-CATF (2283), or 24-hours a day online by visiting www.catf.org/tickets.