What’s a CyborgCamp?
CyborgCamps are small, in-depth unconferences about the future of the relationship between humans and technology. Attendees discuss a variety of topics such as the futures of identity, privacy, surveillance, hardware to wetware, drones, 3D printing, cyberpunk, human augmentation, constructed reality, the second self, ethics, robot rights, sexuality, urban design, and anthropology. Topics are discussed the morning of the conference and scheduled into the conference grid by attendees themselves, making it a DIY conference experience.
In addition to the above topics, the following has been discussed at CyborgCamps around the world: cyborgs, wearables, prosthetics, sensors, control systems, assistive tech, transcendence, transhumanism, technological singularity, artificial intelligence, intelligence amplification, utopia / distopia / weird topia, identity, quantified self, exocortex, ubicomp, robots, sensory augmentation, steam punk, philosophy, ethics, intelligence, the borg, hackerspaces, telepresence, science fiction, DIY, cryonics, cybernetics, open source, nanotech, augmented reality, brain-computer interface, artificial life, functional electrical stimulation, and neural science. Each CyborgCamp has its own mix of topics created by what the attendees want to discuss. All CyborgCamps follow a Code of Conduct.
CyborgCamps are Small.
CyborgCamps generally have less than 100 attendees, making it easier to have more in depth discussions with people across different fields. The small format increases the chances getting to really know your fellow attendees.
CyborgCamps are Diverse
Every CyborgCamp welcome people from different backgrounds, including social, business, academic and trade-related. Just as cyborg studies sit at the crossroads of multiple academic disciplines, we like to invite people at the crossroads of different disciplines and boundaries as well.
CyborgCamps are Designed by Attendees
At CyborgCamp, attendees make the conference. Some attendees come prepared with ideas of what they want to talk about, and others come to listen and learn. Some attendees have relevant experience and prepared talks, and others just have a woolly idea needing discussion. At the start of the conference, attendees write their ideas up on a board and the conference begins!
“To say Cyborg Camp changed my life is an understatement. Together, the event, participants and organizers create a unique space where time and humanity can give pause to our common good.
“I’d been searching for an event that was intimate and united people that were seeking a kind approach to our relationship with technology. My research led me to tech conferences, academic conferences and even transhumanist conferences, but nothing really seemed to capture the human technology relationship in a way that didn’t feel commercialized, fetishized or pathologized. Every event seemed “forced”.
“I signed up for my first Cyborg Camp in 2012. The format was clean, the speakers were approachable, but more importantly the topics presented didn’t hit the mainstream for another two years.
Cyborg camp creates a safe place for people to share their beliefs and dreams for how technology can be used in a way to shape and nurture life. CyborgCamp creates an environment where the human condition is the platform and participants are taken on a journey that included them, not just what was presented to them. ”
-Chris Dancy, 2014
CyborgCamp started in 2008. The first speakers were Ward Cunningham, inventor of the first wiki. There was interaction designer Bill DeRouchey, and a real cyborg. The cyborg was connected to an insulin pump 24/7.
It’s an unconference, but it’s also a conference. It has some official speakers and then some open sessions. So we have a big board of sticky notes, and you can write down the session that you want to lead on the sticky notes, and you can lead a session. If you don’t like it, you can leave a session. You can offer constructive points.
The unconference model allows one to really determine what they’re interested in learning, versus going to a conference and expecting to be taught something. Everybody in the room gets to teach each other what their expertise is. And if somebody wants to learn about something, they can put something up on the board that they want to learn about, instead of being tied to a very stringent conference agenda. So if you want to learn more about that, there’s a Twitter account. @cyborgcamp.
The traditional way to say it is: It’s a conference on the future of humans and computers. Humans and technology. So that’s about it. And then, if you want to learn more about cyborg anthropology, I’m building a wiki at cyborganthropology.com. It’s new, so if you want to contribute, or you want to learn more, you can email me at email@example.com, and I would be happy to tell you more.
- CyborgCamp Portland 2008: First CyborgCamp Organized in Portland, OR.
- Joe of Blaze Streaming Media gets his breakout start in real-time event livestreaming at CyborgCamp Portland 2008, and goes on to oficially livestream the SXSW and O’Reilly Conferences.
- Wiki inventor Ward Cunningham speaks at CyborgCamp 2008.
- USB Drive designer Hideshi Hamaguchi Speaks at CyborgCamp 2008.
- Attending CyborgCamp Portland 2008 inspired EsoZone to become an unconference.
- Amber Case and Willow Bl00 meet in Seattle in 2009. Willow Bl00 begins organizing CyborgCamps in Seattle.
- CyborgCamp Portland 2010
- Nikolas Badminton and Kharis O’Connell attend CyborgCamp Portland and are inspired to run their own CyborgCamp in Vancouver, BC.
- Eric Boyd organizes CyborgCamp Toronto in 2011.
- CyborgCamp Seattle 2011
- Cryptocurrency developer Kyle Drake gives his very first talk on Bitcoin at CyborgCamp Seattle 2011.
- Mike Merril speaks at CyborgCamp Seattle about
Community Capitalisim and being a Publically Traded Person. Goes onto be featured in the Atlantic, Wired and Wall Street Journal.
CyborgCamp Portland 2012
- 2012: Klintron Finley and Chris Dancy Launch the Mindful Cyborgs podcast series after meeting at CyborgCamp 2012.
- Chris Dancy, world’s most quantified man, is ‘discovered’ at CyborgCamp Portland, and goes onto keynote stages around the world.
- CyborgCamp is organized in Vancouver, BC 2013 by Nikolas Badminton and Kharis O’Connell.
- CyborgCamp becomes an officially sanctioned MIT Media Lab event!