Jeff Lieberman

Jeff Lieberman

Time Warp, MIT Media Lab

A New Kind of Citizen:
Where We Haven't Looked

Lieberman covers education reform in the context of introspective neuroscience. He explores solutions for the future that look inward to move forward instead of thinking that only external solutions are going to solve problems. Innovation is not just about new technologies, it is about technologies we've had and not taken advantage of for hundreds (or more) years.

As he highlights in his concept description for Time Warp, the high-speed photography show he currently hosts, "We can use technology to allow us to see the world in ways we never before dreamed, to transcend the limits of the human body, to show us beauty we didn't know existed." In this talk, this same concept is extended to apply to technologies and techniques both old and new.

Thirty-year-old Jeff Lieberman is a musician wrapped in a roboticist sculptor wrapped in a photographer. The host of Discovery Channel's Time Warp may already have four degrees (two bachelors of science and two masters) behind him, but that hasn't stopped him from pursuing yet another in the form of a doctorate at MIT's Media Lab. And when he isn't studying, teaching or filming, Jeff is making music, inventing robotics-related stuff and creating "technological sculpture".

But it has been a lifelong struggle to get the perfect mix of art and science in his life. Post-graduation, after working at several start-up companies, Jeff decided to focus on the intersection between art and technology and returned to MIT to work at the Media Lab in the Robotic Life Group. There he headed design on the Cyberflora installation, a robotic flower garden that senses and responds to people in a lifelike manner, and the Motor Learning Robotic Wearable Suit, a robotic suit that teaches motor skills (dance, sports, rehab, etc). Jeff has also produced kinetic art sculptures, including Absolut Quartet, a music-making machine that incorporates the audience into the performance, and light bulb, an electromagnetically levitated and wirelessly powered light bulb.

In addition to his robotic research (which has been published in several papers and publications) and pursuit of higher learning, Jeff continues to make art. Not only is he a passionate high-speed photographer, but he's been on several concert and performance tours around the world, even releasing an album with his duo Gloobic. He also finds time to host a TV show mediated around the exploration of high-speed photography.