22 February 2013

Dear Friends:

We are thrilled to alert you that EG returns to Monterey in just two months: 18-20 April. This year:


In higher education, the sea change has become a tsunami: Stanford-born Udacity and Coursera are racing with edX from Harvard and MIT to flood university curricula online. Will this be the most significant transformation of universities to date? After all, these thrusts aspire to reach billions of learners — anywhere, anytime.

At EG this year, the founding CEO's of all these movements are speaking: Sebastian Thrun, Daphne Koller and Anant Agarwal. This is a revolution in the way higher education is purveyed. How it affects learners around the world — the billions who may someday benefit — remains to be seen.


But as Oscar Wilde once said, nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. And revolutions do bring you back to where you started — hopefully wiser, having learned a few crucial things before the next go-round.

For most of us, the most meaningful qualities of learning are as different from online “courseware” as digesting a great meal is from visiting a supermarket. Pioneers like Nolan Bushnell and Nicholas Negroponte have always taken a different tack, as do renowned scientists like physicist Brian Greene and cognitive psychologist Alison Gopnik — all of whom will be at EG this year.

Nicholas Negroponte pays attention. [by Open Source World Conference]

Of course, learning is not limited to humans. Animals learn — something that evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare (of Dognition fame) knows a great deal about. And increasingly, so do the gizmos and gadgets around us, gleaning clues from our behavior to make life easier. Tony Fadell, the founder and CEO of NEST, has invented products that are beginning to remind us that every thing is learning.

The 2012 EG program; click to browse past years

Even genes learn — something we used to call evolution, although future genomic engineering will be like a breeder reactor compared to natural selection. Husband and wife geneticists George Church and Ting Wu have spent their careers at the vanguard of the genomic revolution, and historians of the future will undoubtedly look back on ours as the first generation of humans to radically re-engineer life.


At EG, you'll join Adam Steltzner — who more or less flunked high school geometry but went on to design the spectacular landing system for NASA's Mars Curiosity rover. And BBC Producer Mike Gunton has traveled the globe in pursuit of epics such as Life, and who, this year, brings us the natural history of an entire continent: AFRICA. It is not by accident that some of humanity's most thrilling lessons come from inventing and exploring the frontiers. And in the case of Africa — a continent whose land mass is larger than the US, China, India, Great Britain, Japan and most of Europe combined — those lessons include what happens as human boundaries press against some of the last and greatest frontiers on earth.

David Attenborough's AFRICA; click to watch the trailer.

However you regard the worlds of learning — whether your interest is in the future of education, or the present challenges of K-12/STEM; whether you are after better ways your own organization can learn and improve; or you are fascinated by the sciences of cognition, the engineering of intelligent machines, or the future of genomics — it's clear that humanity is now coevolving in a soup of increasingly intelligent software, hardware and wetware. There has never been a more important time to rethink everything you thought you knew about learning.

At EG, there is something enthralling to learn from everyone. This year, you'll meet one of the world's most notorious art forgers; pioneers of space exploration; a jaw dropping pickpocket; future circus stars; unforgettable musicians, magicians, inventors, artists, entertainers, designers, explorers, healers, dreamers. With roughly 50 presenters from a wild assortment of fields, 500 attendees, and three immersive days, the talents and the mix are extraordinary.

Michael Hawley, EG director

With the generous support of Cisco.

Google Fellow, Professor at Stanford, inventor of the self-driving car and Google Streetview, founder of Udacity... Sebastian is a member of the National Academy and the German Academy of Sciences.
MacArthur Laureate, Stanford Professor of Computer Science, innovator in machine learning, Daphne is co-founder and co-CEO of Coursera in Mountain View, California.
Professor of Computer Science at MIT, President of edX (the MIT / Harvard online learning initiative aimed at providing courseware to billions, Anant is one of the leading architects of advanced multicore systems.
Legendary Silicon Valley innovator, Nolan founded Atari, won the hair-raising Trans-Pac yacht race, and thinks his latest company, brainrush, will be the most successful of all. It incorporates insights from neurology and gaming to achieve breakthroughs in learning.
Nicholas founded and led the MIT Media Lab, helped create WIRED magazine, and started One Laptop Per Child — just a few manifestations of his lifelong efforts to architect more thoughtful and fertile worlds for invention and learning.
Alison is a Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at Berkeley, and one of the most prominent researchers in the effects of language on thought. She is renowned for her work on cognitive development in babies.
A Professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke, Brian is Director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, co-author of The Genius Of Dogs, and co-founder of Dognition.
One of the key architects of the iPod, Tony left Apple to found Nest, which announced its elegant learning thermostat in October 2011.
The quintessential Harvard scientific couple, George and Ting enjoy his & hers careers at the vanguard of genomics, and are brimming with seminal connections throughout the emerging bioengineering industry.

George is founder or advisor to nearly two dozen biotech companies, author of hundreds of publications and 50 patents.

Ting studies chromosome positioning and its effect on gene expression and other phenomena.

A bright star at NASA, JPL engineer Adam Steltzner has worked on missions including Galileo and Cassini and most recently led the design for the hair-raising Mars Curiosity sky crane landing system.
Producer in the BBC Natural History Unit, Mike has worked cheek by jowl with Sir David Attenborough to bring us some of the most astounding natural history television epics ever captured.