Cannon @ 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association April 3, 2015
Salt Lake City, UT

The 2015 conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association will be held on Friday 3 April 2015 from 9:00am to 9:00pm in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Salt Lake City Public Library. Speakers and artists will present on the themes of Mormonism, Transhumanism and Transfigurism, with particular attention to topics at the intersection of technology, spirituality, science and religion. Previous conferences sponsored by the Mormon Transhumanist Association include the 2014 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, the 2013 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, the 2012 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, the 2010 Transhumanism and Spirituality conference, and the2009 Mormonism and Engineering conference. The conference is open to the public.

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Keynote Speakers

Kristine Haglund is the current editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, an essayist at the weblogs By Common Consent and Times and Seasons, and a noted Mormon historian and cultural commentator. She has suggested that the "experience of independent Mormon publishing [can provide] ... a potential model" for Mormons "at a moment where new kinds of assimilation are called for." Kristine has an A.B. from Harvard in German Studies and an M.A. from the University of Michigan in German Literature. As part of her application for the editor position at Dialogue, she wrote, "Many, many people long for a way to acknowledge the flaws of the church, to think and speak critically about silly aspects of our culture, and assess the inevitable mistakes of human leaders trying to interpret God's will, while still affirming the essential goodness of Mormonism. I've battled through some of the big issues — gender roles, homosexuality, intellectual freedom, historiography — and managed not just to stay in, but to stay happily."

Ralph Merkle is a computer scientist. He is one of the inventors of public key cryptography, the inventor of cryptographic hashing, and more recently a researcher and speaker on molecular nanotechnology and cryonics. Ralph was the manager of compiler development at Elxsi from 1980. In 1988, he became a research scientist at Xerox PARC. In 1999 he became a nanotechnology theorist for Zyvex. In 2003 he became a Distinguished Professor at Georgia Tech, where he led the Georgia Tech Information Security Center. In 2006 he returned to the Bay Area, where he has been a senior research fellow at IMM, a faculty member at Singularity University, and a board member of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. He was awarded the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal in 2010.

 

Other Speakers

Carl Youngblood has been an avid technology enthusiast since early childhood, and has been earning a living as a software engineer since 1997. He was a Mormon missionary for two years in Brazil, where his newfound aptitude for language led him to eventually get a degree in Portuguese from Brigham Young University, and later a masters in Computer Science from the University of Washington. Carl's struggle to apply his faith meaningfully in today's rapidly-changing world led him to co-found The Mormon Transhumanist Association in 2006. Carl is passionate about science, technology, religion, philosophy and the performing arts. Carl is vice president, a board member, and a founder of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Chris Bradford was born in Utah, but soon moved to Washington DC and then overseas for his father's employment. He has lived in Egypt, Germany, Jordan, Pakistan and Italy, where he served an LDS mission. A self-taught programmer, he manages social & mobile development at Ancestry.com. He has a degree from Brigham Young University in linguistics. Chris and wife Lucy have five sons and three daughters. Chris is passionate about science, technology, religion, philosophy, and the performing arts. Chris is a board member and a founder of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Don Bradley is a historian specializing in Joseph Smith and Mormon scripture. Don holds a B.A. in History from Brigham Young University, is finalizing his M.A. in History at Utah State University, and will pursue a doctorate in Religious Studies. His writings include “'The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism': Joseph Smith's Unfinished Reformation” and The Lost 116 Pages: Rediscovering the Book of Lehi (forthcoming). “An individualist in the service of a community,” Don is devoted to the topic of his presentation: building Zion—heaven on earth. He is the father of Donnie and Nicholas Bradley and engaged to Michaelann Gardner. Don is a board member of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Dorothy Deasy is a design researcher with experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. She excels on strategic qualitative projects which allow her to explore the intersections of meaning, culture and technology. She holds a BS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Loyola University in Chicago, IL and a Masters of Applied Theology from Marylhurst University in Portland, OR. The emphasis of her theological focus is on spirituality and transhumanism. Dorothy is secretary and a board member of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

James L. Carroll has a PhD in computer science, and a minor in Ancient Near Eastern history. As a graduate student he taught Pearl of Great Price, Isaiah, and the Book of Mormon in the BYU Ancient Scripture department. He is currently working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, doing ensemble machine learning research and computer assisted radiographic analysis for nuclear stockpile stewardship. His interests include machine learning, statistics, linguistics, consciousness, comparative ritual, and photography. James is a board member of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Joseph West  is a PhD candidate in sociology at University of Arizona. He has a Bachelors in Philosophy from University of Utah, and a Masters in Sociology from University of Arizona. His research focuses on religion, social networks, culture and social movement mobilization. Joseph is a single dad of two children. He spends his spare time reading, watching movies, and enjoying good conversation. Joseph is a board member of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Lincoln Cannon is a technologist and philosopher, and a leading advocate of technological evolution and postsecular religion. He has two decades of professional experience in information technology, including leadership roles in software engineering and marketing technology. Lincoln holds degrees in business administration and philosophy. He is married with Dorothée Vankrieckenge, a French national, and they have three bilingual children. Lincoln is president, a board member, and a founder of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Micah Redding grew up as a preacher’s kid, spent eight years as a rock musician, and was once involved in the high-speed pursuit of a spy plane. Now he develops software, and writes about the intersection of human values and technology. Micah is executive director, a board member, and a founder of the Christian Transhumanist Association.

 

Schedule

9:00am Opening

1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch

5:30pm Closing

7:00pm-9:00pm Dinner

 

Registration Discount

If you are a voting member of the association, a speaker at the conference, or a sponsor of the conference, your registration is free and the association will give your guest a discount. Also, if you represent a media outlet and would like to report on the conference, your registration is free. If any of these cases apply to you, please contact an association officer or email admin@transfigurism.org for your access code before registering.

If you are a student, unemployed or resident of a less-developed country, discounts are available at registration time. Conference organizers will ask you to provide evidence of your student, unemployed or residency status when you check in at the conference.

 

Travel Assistance

The association may cover up to 50% of your travel costs to attend the conference if you meet the following criteria:

1) You must be a voting member of the association.

2) You must present at the conference.

3) You must live at least 300 miles from Salt Lake City.

If you meet the above criteria, you may request assistance by contacting an association officer or emailing admin@transfigurism.org.

 

Food

Lunch and dinner on the day of the conference are included in the reservation price. Many restaurants are available near the Salt Lake City Public Library and near hotels in the Salt Lake City area.

 

Lodging

The association cannot directly cover lodging expenses. However, association members living in Salt Lake City and nearby areas may be able to help. We encourage members willing to provide lodging in their homes and members seeking lodging to communicate on the association Google group and Facebook group.

 

After-Conference Activities

We invite conference attendees to enjoy each other's company on Saturday after the conference. Organized options include a casual tour of the Salt Lake City area, or attendance at a session of the LDS Church worldwide conference. If you would like to participate, please indicate your interest during registration, so that we may make appropriate arrangements.

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