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Ken Goldberg

Chief Scientist at Ambi Robotics & William S. Floyd Jr. Distinguished Professor of Engineering at UC Berkeley

Chief Scientist at Ambi Robotics & William S. Floyd Jr. Distinguished Professor of Engineering at UC Berkeley

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Berkeley, CA, USA
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Ken Goldberg Biography

Award-winning Roboticist, Filmmaker, and UC Berkeley Engineering Professor Ken Goldberg is a popular public speaker who combines compelling images and videos in dynamic presentations on emerging AI and Robotics technologies, sharing insights about what isn’t new, what is new, and how we can prepare for the future.

Goldberg trains the next generation of researchers and entrepreneurs in his research lab at UC Berkeley; he has published over 300 papers in robotics and social media and holds 8 US Patents, which have been cited in over 15,000 publications. Goldberg is co-founder and Chief Scientist at Ambi Robotics and is on the advisory board of the RoboGlobal ETF.

He is a pioneer in technology and artistic visual expression, bridging the “Two Cultures” of Art and Science. With unique skills in communication and creative problem solving, invention, and thinking on the edge, Goldberg has presented over 600 keynote and invited lectures to audiences around the world at events such as the World Economic Forum, Aspen Ideas Festival, Amazon re:MARS, Google Zeitgeist, TEDx, Web 2.0, SXSW, MIT EmTech, and at MIT, Harvard, CMU, Stanford, Oxford, Technion, Google, Amazon, ATT, Autodesk, Cisco, Credit Lyonnais Asia, Deloitte, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Fidelity, Flextronics, Freeman Group, Fujitsu, General Electric, IBM, Intel, McKinsey, Oracle, Samsung, Siemens, Tata Communications, UBS, and Vodefone on the topics below.

Goldberg and his students pioneer research in robot grasping, motion, and design for applications ranging from surgery to manufacturing to home automation to precision agriculture. Goldberg's artwork has appeared in 70 exhibits including the Whitney Biennial and he developed the first provably complete algorithm for part feeding and the first robot on the Internet. Goldberg served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (T-ASE), Co-Founder of: the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), Hybrid Wisdom Labs, the Moxie Film Studio, the African Robotics Network (AFRON), and Founding Director of UC Berkeley's Art, Technology, and Culture Lecture Series. Goldberg’s projects are regularly featured on television, radio, and in publications such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, MIT Tech Review, BBC, Fast Company, der Spiegel, and Rolling Stone.

Goldberg was awarded the NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship from President Bill Clinton in 1995 and elected IEEE Fellow in 2005.

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Speaker profile last updated by AAE Talent Team on 04/13/2024.

Ken Goldberg Speaking Topics

  • Beyond the Uncanny Valley: Our Fear and Fascination with Robots

    Engineers, animators, and designers apply the concept of the Uncanny Valley to technologies from AI to Robots to Siri. In 1919, a year before the word “robot” was coined, Sigmund Freud published an influential essay tracing the concept of the Uncanny back to the Renaissance. Goldberg illustrates this history with art that explores the shifting borders between the digital and the natural, including his Emmy-nominated short doc film that explores our collective fear and fascination with robots, the most human of our machines.

    Brainstorming At a Global Scale

    To brainstorm at the scale of social media, we can use techniques from an unlikely source: Robotics. Goldberg presents recent results on social innovation and collective brainstorming work with the U.S. State Department, General Motors, and the State of California.

    Putting the "Turing" into ManufacTuring: Recent Developments in Algorithmic Automation

    Automation for manufacturing today is where computer technology was in the early 1960's, a patchwork of ad-hoc solutions lacking a rigorous scientific methodology. CAD provides detailed models of part geometry. What's missing is formal models of part behavior and frameworks for the systematic design of automated systems that can feed, assemble, and inspect parts. "Algorithmic Automation" introduces abstractions that allow the functionality of automation to be designed independent of the underlying implementation and can provide the foundation for formal specification and analysis, algorithmic design, and consistency checking.

    Too Close for Comfort?: AI, 5G, IoT, Robots, and Privacy

    Prof. Goldberg will present recent advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, and networking and the potential dangers they raise in terms of security and privacy. Goldberg will illustrate these issues in the context of advances in audio, video/face recognition, and data surveillance, including from his own research on robot learning, Freud's concept of the Uncanny, and art projects including his Whitney Museum art installation and the concept of "Respectful Cameras".

  • Unfamiliar Intelligence: Art, Exoticism, Robots, and AI

    Shortly after the 1918 pandemic, the word "robot" was coined in a play about mechanical workers organizing a rebellion to defeat their human overlords. A century later, amid rising economic inequality and xenophobia, we are immersed in a new global pandemic. In parallel, emerging advances in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, fueled by governments, corporations, and venture capital, disrupt labor, trade, and political stability. As claims are made about “superintelligence” and existential threats to humanity, new questions arise about the distinctions between humans and machines.

    Asserting that "humanity still has a few good years left," Goldberg draws on art and literature from Ovid's Pygmalian to the Golem, through Von Kempelen's "Mechanical Turk" (1770), E.T.A. Hoffman's Sandman (1816), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), Sigmund Freud's Uncanny (1919) and Masahiro Mori's Uncanny Valley (1970), to contextualize our contemporary fear and fascination with AI. Goldberg will also describe his own artwork that explores the boundary between the natural and the artificial, such as the Telegarden (1995-2004), a living garden tended by 100,000 visitors operating a robot over the Internet, and his new project, AlphaGarden (2020-), that challenges AI to a game with nature.

  • Future Farming with Robots

    Humans have grown food for over 10,000 years. As the climate changes and the global population seeks fresh and healthy nutrition, advances in robots are being applied in agriculture. This talk will review recent progress including John Deere's use of drones to fine-tune fertilizer delivery and EarthSense mobile robots that roll beneath leaf canopies to closely monitor plant properties that optimize breeding. I'll share results from RAPID, a USDA-sponsored project developing Robot Assisted Precision Irrigation Delivery, and two projects that incorporate art and research: TeleGarden (1995) where over 100,000 people remotely collaborated to tend a living garden, and AlphaGarden (2020), where simulation and measurements from a living garden are being combined to train a robot to sustain a diverse polyculture garden. This talk will explore how the the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions can be extended by the AI Revolution.

  • The New Wave in Robot Grasping

    Despite 50 years of research, robots remain remarkably clumsy, limiting their applications in home decluttering, warehouse order fulfillment, and robot-assisted surgery. The First Wave of grasping research, still dominant, uses analytic methods based on screw theory and assumes exact knowledge of pose, shape, and contact mechanics. The Second Wave is empirical: purely data driven approaches which learn grasp strategies from many examples using techniques such as imitation and reinforcement learning with hyperparametric function approximation (Deep Learning). The New Wave is based on hybrid methods that combine analytic models to bootstrap Deep Learning models, where data and code is exchanged via the Cloud using emerging advances in cloud computing and big data. I'll present our lab's work on the Dexterity Network (Dex-Net), an emerging New Wave approach that allows robots to grasp a broad range of novel objects.

  • The Cutting Edge of Robot Surgery

    To improve patient care, a new generation of robots is being developed to actively assist surgeons in the operating room. These robots can autonomously perform tedious subtasks such as suturing and debridement to improve consistency and reduce fatigue, analogous to advances in automotive anti-skid braking and intelligent lane-keeping systems. New companies and labs are using Recent advances in AI and deep learning are being applied by researchers and companies worldwide to develop this new generation robots, which also opens the door to long-distance tele-surgery.

    In this talk I'll present recent advances from our lab including novel hardware and software with applications to cutting, suturing, palpation, dissection, retraction, debridement and a recent result -- "Superhuman Peg Transfer", where a robot autonomously performs a standard surgical task with accuracy and speed on par with a surgeon and with significantly more consistency.

  • Robots in the Roaring 2020's: How the Pandemic is Sparking a Global Surge in Robots and Automation

    Global e-commerce skyrocketed when Covid-19 forced consumers and businesses to use Amazon, Walmart, and Alibaba. This unprecedented surge in demand puts tremendous pressure on factories, warehouses and transport centers, which struggle to hire and retain workers.

    Robots are coming to the rescue. Building on recent advances in AI, a new generation of robots is emerging. I'll present exciting results from research labs and new companies. I'll describe one skill that humans do far better than robots and how robots are catching up, and how the pandemic is increasing the adoption of robots in healthcare and agriculture. In the 2020's, robots will complement human skills, freeing us to focus on what we do best: empathizing, communicating, and innovating.

Ken Goldberg Videos

  • Ken Goldberg 3rd wave robot grasping exceprt
    Ken Goldberg Speaker: Award winning Roboticist, Filmmaker, and UC Berkeley Engineering Professor Ken Goldberg is a popular public ...
  • Ken Goldberg | Ken Goldberg | TEDxOakland
    Ken Goldberg is an artist, inventor, and UC Berkeley Professor. He is Director of the CITRIS "People and Robots" Initiative and the UC Berkeley ...

Speaker Lists Featuring Ken Goldberg

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  • What topics does Ken Goldberg speak about?

    Ken Goldberg is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Artificial Intelligence, Business, Engineering, Futurism, Innovation, Music, Robotics, Science and Technology, Speakers by Industry, Technology, TED, Virtual Speakers.
  • Where does Ken Goldberg travel from?

    Ken Goldberg generally travels from Berkeley, CA, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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Ken Goldberg is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as , Unfamiliar Intelligence: Art, Exoticism, Robots, and AI, Future Farming with Robots, The New Wave in Robot Grasping, The Cutting Edge of Robot Surgery and Robots in the Roaring 2020's: How the Pandemic is Sparking a Global Surge in Robots and Automation. The estimated speaking fee range to book Ken Goldberg for your event is available upon request. Ken Goldberg generally travels from Berkeley, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Amber Case, Zack Kass, Ayesha Khanna, Pablos Holman and Kevin Surace. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Ken Goldberg for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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