Ken Goldberg

Artificial Intelligence, Creativity, Innovation, Technology

Travels from San Francisco, California, USA

Ken Goldberg's speaking fee falls within range:
$20,000 to $25,000

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Ken Goldberg Profile

  • The holder of 8 U.S. patents, Goldberg is a robotics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

  • Goldberg and his teams are responsible for key advancements in cloud robotics, telerobotics, and surgical robots.

  • The co-director of the Emmy-nominated short documentary, Why We Love Robots, Goldberg is one of the leading researchers in how society views, reacts and interacts with A.I. and other emerging technologies.

  • Goldberg is in demand for his ability to translate complex technologies into laymen's terms and has delivered keynotes at SXSW, the World Economic Forum, Aspen Ideas Festival, Google Zeitgeist, and TEDEd.
  • Ken Goldberg is the Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media, and Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at U.C. Berkeley. While Goldberg has spent four decades building better and more graceful robots, he is also dedicated to helping people better understand emerging technologies so that they can find opportunities in the societal shifts that will occur as robots come to play a greater role in our daily lives.

    As a child, Goldberg and his father, also an engineer, tried to build an industrial robot that was capable of moving dangerous chemicals in the chromium plating plant that Goldberg’s father owned and run. Held back by a lack of materials, they did not achieve their goal. Goldberg’s father developed leukemia, most likely as a result of the extensive contact he had with carcinogens in his workplace, and passed away at the age of 45. The event cemented Goldberg’s decision to study engineering and pursue a career making robots capable of improving people’s lives.

    Goldberg holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. His research has resulted in eight U.S. patents. His project, Telegarden, which allowed Internet users to control a real robot that cared for a garden, was the first time someone combined robots and web interfacing. He and his teams have made great advances in telerobotics, Cloud robotics, and robots used for medical procedures, including delicate cancer treatments. In addition to his position at U.C. Berkley, he holds an appointment at the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco.

    Goldberg has authored or co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed technical papers on algorithms for robotics, automation, and social information filtering. He is the co-director of the Emmy-Nominated Short Documentary “Why We Love Robots,” as well as the author of three award-winning Sundance documentary films, “The Tribe”, “Yelp”, and “Connected: An Autoblogography of Love, Death, and Technology.” Goldberg has delivered over 400 keynotes in venues such as SXSW, the World Economic Forum, Aspen Ideas Festival, Google Zeitgeist, and TEDEd.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      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.

      Ken 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. Ken 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, Ken 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.

      Ken and his students pioneer research in robot grasping, motion, and design for applications ranging from surgery to manufacturing to home automation to precision agriculture. Ken’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. Ken 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. Ken’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.

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

    Ken Goldberg Speaking Videos

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    Ken Goldberg's Speech Descriptions

    Roboticist and technology keynote speaker, Ken Goldberg provides a first-person account of emerging technologies and the role they will place in society. An expert on the paradoxical views popular society bears towards AI, Goldberg makes a case that the increasing incorporation of robots into business and daily life will empower people. Goldberg is also exceptionally gifted at explaining the inner workings of robots, AI, and cloud computing in laymen’s terms, providing business audiences with a practical understanding of new technologies that organizations will need to adopt if they want to stay competitive.

    AI and Robots in the Roaring 2020's: A Post-Pandemic Surge in Productivity

    After the Flu Pandemic 100 years ago, the world economy flourished with advances in physics, electricity, and transportation. The 2020's are poised for similar growth based on rapid advances in biology, materials, and in particular, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. In the Roaring 2020's, AI and Robots will change our patterns of work and leisure. Robots will play a central role by increasing human productivity in warehouses, factories, agriculture, and healthcare. I’ll present my lab’s recent advances in helping robots to grasp objects, untangle cables, tend a polyculture garden, and handle surgical needles. In the Roaring 2020s, AI and machine learning will allow robots to better assist humans at work and at home, but they will not replace the adaptability and dexterity of human workers. I'll illustrate and explain recent innovations in clear language and describe how they are leading to new robot products, services, and companies.

    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:

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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".

    What People are Saying about Seeing Ken Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise of the future of robotics with the Cisco research community. Your energy and engagement with the audience made it an exceptional experience for all involved! “

    – Cisco

    “Just a note on Kenʼs presentation last night. One of the best presentations this year. Clear, visionary, entertaining, passionate, direct, thought provoking, and fun. Thanks to you and your team for a terrific event(s).”

    -What’s Now: San Francisco

    “It was a pleasure having you here and listening to your great presentation and panel discussion! Robotics is clearly a fascinating topic!
    Thank you for supporting our event and contribution to an even better future Gigabit Society!”


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