Fight the Fear - artificial intelligence, nanoparticles and gene drives

Join us at this co-hosted #GeorgeTalks with UNSW Sydney Grand Challenges Program.

Register here

Science fiction movies like iRobot, the Matrix and Blade Runner have teased for decades the possibilities of science and artificial intelligence escaping human control and in turn controlling us. Even Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein foretold a dire tale of the perils of science and technology, if taken too far.

Therefore is not surprising we’re often fearful and hesitant to welcome new forms of complex technologies and innovative ideas driven by the intermingling of science, creativity and technology. But in order to progress towards an exciting and promising future we need to challenge our biases against technology, and embrace the possibilities that it can bring us!

Join us as we collectively unlearn our previous beliefs through listening to three short talks by the brilliant, pioneering minds of Professor Martina Stenzel, Dr Haris Aziz and Dr Lee Rollins as they dive deep into some of our most ground-breaking technologies including artificial intelligence, nano-particles and gene drives.

A light breakfast will be provided on arrival, as well as an incredible opportunity for networking with some of the greatest minds in the field.

This is a ticketed event.

Limited spaces - RSVP by COB 26 June 2019.

Cost - $20.00. The George Institute is a not-for-profit, independent medical research institute. This charge will help cover costs of convening this event.


Scientia Professor Martina Stenzel - Can I put some nanoparticles in your body?

Martina Stenzel studied chemistry at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, before completing her PhD in 1999 at the Institute of Applied Macromolecular Chemistry, University of Stuttgart, Germany. She started as a postdoctoral fellow at UNSW in 1999 and is now a full Professor in the school of chemistry as well as co-director of the Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD) She is scientific editor of Materials Horizons and serves currently on a range of editorial boards. She received a range of awards including the 2011 Le Fèvre Memorial Prize of the Australian Academy of Science and the H.G.Smith Medal. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and currently the chair of the National Chemistry Committee of the Australian Academy of Science. Her research interest is focused on the synthesis of plastic nanoparticles for nanomedicine. She is particularly fascinated by viruses and her team tried to mimic their structure using smart polymers that fold themselves into functional particles that are as big as viruses.

Dr Haris Aziz - Artificial intelligence: Fighting the fear

Haris Aziz is a Scientia fellow and senior lecturer in computer science at UNSW Sydney. His research interests lie at the intersection of artificial intelligence and game theory. A central research theme of his research is to design algorithms that make fairer decisions. Haris was a recipient of the Chris Wallace Research Excellence Award, the CSIRO Julius Career Award, and the Oxford University Noon Scholarship. In 2016, he was selected by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as one of the top ten rising stars in AI.

Dr Lee Rollins - Gene drive in the wild

Lee Rollins is a Scientia Fellow in Evolution & Ecology Research Centre and the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science at UNSW Sydney. She was awarded a PhD from UNSW in Conservation Genetics in 2009 and was awarded fellowships from Deakin University (2012) and from the Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher scheme (2015). Her research investigates genetic and epigenetic drivers of evolution during exotic species invasion using species like cane toads and starlings. She is keen to understand how environmental factors affect gene expression across generations, a topic that likely impacts all organisms on our planet.

MC: Scientia Professor Rob Brooks

Rob Brooks is Professor of Evolution, Director of the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre, and Academic Lead of the Grand Challenges Program at UNSW Sydney. He studies sexual reproduction and how it shapes the behaviour, diet, lifespan and ageing of animals, including human animals. He has won prizes both for his research and his popular writing, including the Eureka Prize and, for his first book – Sex, Genes & Rock ‘n’ Roll: How Evolution has Shaped the Modern World (2011, NewSouth Books), the 2012 Queensland Literary Prize for Science Writing. He is currently fascinated by how interactions between evolutionary history and contemporary economics and culture shape human lives, societies and ideological beliefs.