EFF-Austin is proud to present for our next monthly meetup a live taping of Future Fossils, Michael Garfield’s wonderfully heady podcast that explores futurist topics at the intersection of science, art, and philosophy! Michael will be leading a panel of four subject area experts in a stream-of-consciousness discussion revolving around the pre-history and post-history of virtual reality, surveillance, and swarm intelligence, namely, the evolution of these concepts and how they impact our lives and our potential futures.

Join us for the discussion and taping from 7:00PM-9:00PM, followed by drinks and camaraderie from 9:00PM-10:00PM at Firehouse Lounge (605 Brazos St).

Capital Factory is located at 701 Brazos Street, on the 16th floor of the Omni Hotel. Once on the 16th floor, there should be a sign at the front desk directing you to our meetup. If there is no sign, and no one is on duty at the desk, we are usually in the room to the left of the front desk.

Talk will be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/austintechlive

Parking for the Omni Garage can be validated at the Capital Factory front desk, reducing the cost from $16 to $5. Details: https://capitalfactory.com/parking/


Our Host – Michael Garfield


Paleontologist turned futurist performance philosopher, Michael Garfield’s boundary-hopping, mind-expanding work maps the evolutionary landscape and our place in it. Host of the Future Fossils Podcast and contributor to countless web publications, Michael writes and speaks about – and from – the intersections of emerging planetary consciousness, accelerating techno-culture, visionary art, and a trans-disciplinary understanding pointing past our evolutionary narratives entirely. The goal: to encourage creative curiosity by showing people how our lives are inextricably a part of something vast, mysterious, and awesome. At the common core of science, art, and spirituality – with equal dedication to both playfulness and rigor – you’ll find Michael and his growing list of brilliant and insightful collaborators.

Learn more at http://patreon.com/michaelgarfield

Follow Michael on Twitter & Instagram: @michaelgarfield


The Panelists


Heather Barfield
Head of EFF-Austin Digital Arts Coalition, EFF-Austin Board Member
Associate Artistic Director, Vortex Theater
Director of Finance and Operations, Austin Creative Alliance

Heather Barfield, Ph.D., has an extensive background in theater history, criticism, theory, and practice. Since 1990, she has been an active performer, director, producer, and writer in the Austin theater community. Barfield has been a vital member of VORTEX Repertory Theatre for 25 years and currently serves as Associate Artistic Director. Her artistic work often incorporates intermodal forms of storytelling through digital and analog methods. In her latest critically-praised production, Privacy Settings: A Promethean Tale (2016), Barfield and her cast of devised theater makers explored the complex topics of whistleblowers, digital privacy, and civil liberties alongside audience-immersive interactions. Dr. Barfield also works steadily in the nonprofit arts management sector as CFO/COO for Austin Creative Alliance. She oversees the financial and budgetary aspects of over ninety sponsored project organizations and collaborates with staff on grant writing, marketing, event planning, and production. Barfield believes that a healthy and just social ecosystem critically depends upon vibrant, eclectic, diverse, reflexive, and innovative arts.


Maggie Duval
Chief Experience Liaison, 7th Generation Labs
Co-Founder and Director, Learning Innovations in Future Education (LIFE)
Senior Developer, Polycot Associates, LLC

Maggie is a technology, web, marketing, strategy and development consultant, educator and event producer whose work supports holistic, personalized approaches to learning. She is an expert in creating, curating, and producing unique, immersive workshops and conferences where business, technology and arts dialogue in innovative ways. Her work includes research, development, creation and production of multimedia, participative learning approaches and projects for experiential education such as the SXSW-related events, Plutopia (The Future of Play, The Science of Music, Living Systems) and Cyberpunk 2014: A Retrospective, as well as The Spectral Panopticon, Showdown at Unobtainium: Tesla vs. Edison, STEAM3: The Future of Experiential Learning, and NextECon.

Maggie brings her multidimensional vision and expertise in both virtual (website and user interface) and physical (events, workshops, happenings) experiential design. A gifted connector, she also serves to foster collaborative alliances between the Austin community, and beyond.


Paul Toprac
Associate Director of Game Development at UT, RTF Department, and Senior Lecturer

Paul Toprac is currently the Associate Director of Game Development at UT and Senior Lecturer. Before UT, Paul was a Graduate Committee Chair, Institutional Effectiveness Manager, and Lecturer of The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, a graduate school game development program, where he focused on the research and design of games, particularly game-based learning and motivational environments. Paul has more than the twenty years of experience in the software industry, in roles ranging from CEO to product manager to consultant, including the role of Executive Director of the Austin Technology Council.

Paul holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, a Master of Business Administration, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Texas at Austin.


Kevin Welch
President of EFF-Austin
Fullstack Web Developer at Texas Legislative Council
Contractor at Polycot Associates, LLC

Kevin Welch is the president of EFF-Austin, a digital rights organization that was founded alongside the Electronic Frontier Foundation and continues to be a member of their Electronic Frontier Alliance. At EFF-Austin, he leads their push to educate the public and politicians about the important digital civil liberties issues of our times. He is a Caltech graduate with degrees in Bioengineering and English. His professional career has consisted of a number of software-related positions ranging from programming the math in slot machine games to full-stack web programming of advanced word-processing/legal software. He follows his bliss via the writing of science fiction, mythology, and poetry, creating music and playing keyboards in a number of bands, building his own analog synthesizers, designing and programming video games, and acting in plays and films. Most recently, he created, designed, and coordinated a cyberpunk-themed party during SXSW that doubled as an educational seminar featuring Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, Neil Harbisson, and Moon Ribas as the keynote speakers. He was born in, raised in, and still lives in Austin, Texas. He believes the future doesn’t have to suck, and that we can make it great for everyone, together.