State of the Arts 2016


screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-9-06-24-amEric Shuss (Panelist)

Chief Operating Officer, iWithin

Mr. Shuss has been actively involved in running high-tech companies for over thirty years. He has owned and managed successful companies from start-up to thriving on-going ventures including AI and Robotics, I.T./ERP sales and consulting firms, high-tech manufacturers, telecomm, retail operations and distributors. He has a keen understanding of how technology impacts today’s business.
He has founded start-ups and held roles in mid-to-large companies of Senior Industry Analyst, Managing Consultant, Director of Information Systems, Director of Operations, CEO, COO, Vice President and President. His in-depth knowledge of enterprise business processes allows him to look at the big picture and understand that the technology is not the answer, but enabling people to access and benefit from the technology is the key to success. Currently he is on the Advisory Board of the Brink Institute, Board of Hashbang Games and HRI and co-founder of iWithin, and AI avatar company.
Mr. Shuss is always looking for new and exciting opportunities to lend his expertise and contacts.
Specialties: Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Business Management, Cloud enablement, ERP, SCM, CRM implementation, venture capital, start-up, professional services management, Dynamics AX, Operations, in-house and contract manufacturing, contract negotiations, Enterprise software, Retail, cloud computing, Automation, 3D Printing, Life Science, Longevity and Health Services. Producing a Sci-Fi comedy musical called The Future Soon based on the songs of Jonathan Coulton.


stephanieheadshotStephanie Wander (Panelist)

Prize Designer, XPRIZE

Stephanie Wander designs prizes for XPRIZE, the world’s leading incentive prize foundation that addresses global Grand Challenges by offering large-scale competitions designed to inspire teams of innovators to develop revolutionary breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.

Ms. Wander has designed XPRIZE competitions in Artificial Intelligence, Tissue Engineering, Urban Aerial Transit, as well as contributed to the designs of the Global Learning and Ocean Health XPRIZE competitions.

An avid student of exponential technology, Ms. Wander is passionate about collaborating with experts and innovators to identify and apply disruptive technologies to enhance the well-being of all species

Ms. Wander also serves on the Advisory Board of The Brink Institute, an organization dedicated to curating futurist conversations.

Ms. Wander earned an MBA from University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management and a BS, Radio/Television/Film, from Northwestern University.

James Dietrich (Panelist) bio-pic-james-dietrich

Mr. Dietrich has been with Aldebaran Robotics (now Softbank Robotics) for over 3 years, and has been instrumental in helping the French born, social robotics company expand their footprint in North and South America. James has spent much of his career helping early stage companies bring emerging technology to market, build community engagement and brand loyalty. Beginning his career with Aldebaran/Softbank Robotics, Mr. Dietrich started as their Developer Program manager, building a robust community of researchers, businesses, and robot hobbyists; a community that has since helped Softbank enter multiple new markets with their humanoid robot platforms.

James has continued his efforts helping Softbank Robotics align multiple strategic partnerships with companies like IBM and their Watson division, and a host of others looking to bring robots to retail, hospitality and healthcare. James has specific interest in continuing to advance the company’s platforms further in to the world of pediatrics and other socially assistive healthcare use-cases.

Standing at just 58cm tall, the fully programmable NAO robot can speak 19 languages, recognize objects and people, roam autonomously, and is perhaps most notably recognized for its choregraphed dances to popular music. Currently in its 5th generation and with over 15,000 units sold worldwide, the NAO robot continues to be a dominant tool in K-12 STEM Education, special education (autism), and research.



Dave Zaboski (Panelist)

Artist, Faculty at Singularity University 

Dave Zaboski is a classically trained painter, public speaker, entrepreneur and a former Senior Animator with Disney, Sony and Warner Bros. He has drawn for such classic films as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan, The Emperor’s New Groove, Fantasia 2000 and more and has co-created several internationally published children’s books including “Gideon’s Dream,” with Dr. Ken and Maddy Dychtwald, and “You with the Stars in Your Eyes,” with Dr. Deepak Chopra. He has been the expedition artist on a search for a lost temple in the Andes and painted for the Dalai Lama. Dave has taught collaborative creativity to entrepreneurs, educators, artists and others and teaches at world renown centers Esalen, Summit, The Chopra Center, and Rancho La Puerta among others. Dave is on the faculty of Singularity University and the Track Chair of the CreativeWorks Program at the newly formed Lucid University. He speaks often about how technology can multiply compassion and consults regularly with creative teams on building a culture of collaboration. Dave lives in Southern California with his wife, daughter, a collection of wayfarers and a small menagerie.

defaultAlex Lightman (Panelist)

Author & Consultant

Alex Lightman is the co-author of Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane, which launched on May 10, 2016, and is an bestseller that reached number one in new entries in several categories, including Robotics and Automation, Biotechnology, and AI, in numerous countries. Lightman has advised over 40 governments as well as multinational entities including the United Nations and NATO.  He wrote the national innovation plan for the Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, entitled, The Acceleration of American Innovation. He is the chairman of Witkit, Everblaze, and GINET,

Celia Black (Moderator)celia-tedx1

Celia Black, founder of BRINK Institute, has been a student of singularity theory for almost two decades. Working directly with inventor, futurist, Ray Kurzweil since 1999 as Vice President of Business Development for Kurzweil Technologies, Celia has been instrumental in communicating Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns through his New York Times bestselling books, award-winning films, website, media appearances and international speaking engagements.

Today, Celia continues this work through the BRINK Institute, an international think tank and media organization that endeavors to examine emerging technology on a global scale—exploring the promise and peril of these advances and the impact on the evolution of humanity through interdisciplinary cross-industry collaboration in order to KNOW more and to in turn, BETTER our collective future.

A native of Washington, D.C., Celia now lives on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, Northwest of Seattle, Washington and holds advanced degrees in communications and marketing management from the University of Maryland and Harvard University. Celia is cofounder of, a founding member of Singularity University, a contributor to Huffington Post and Thrive Global, an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International.





Ricky Kej (Presenter)

Composer & Musician, Shanti Samsara

2014 Grammy® Award Winner, “Global Humanitarian Artist” and US Billboard #1 artist Ricky Kej is an internationally renowned Indian Music Composer, Producer and Conservationist. Ricky’s Grammy® winning album Winds of Samsara was based on the ideals of peace by Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

Ricky Kej’s latest album Shanti Samsara was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande in the presence of World Leaders at the United Nations COP21 Paris Summit. Ricky went on to performing music from this album at the United Nations General Assembly, NY among other venues worldwide.

His repertoire of work consists of 15 studio albums released internationally, over 3,000 commercials and three feature films. He scored music for the opening ceremony of the Cricket World Cup 2011, held in Dhaka-Bangladesh.

Ricky was recently awarded the United Nations “Global Humanitarian Artist” Award. Among other awards to his credit, he has also won Producer of the year at the South African Music Awards (S. Africa), Album of the year at the Zone Music Awards (New Orleans), GIMA and Mirchi Music Awards in India. Ricky is also conferred with the title “Youth Icon of India.”

Testimonials for Shanti Samsara:

“Shanti Samsara is an international gift of music to celebrate the unequaled gifts of mother nature – love this music – as you would your own mother.”  –Tom Brokaw (Legendary US News Anchor)

“Ricky Kej’s SHANTI SAMSARA is the sound of the nature, fusing many voices of our global musical ecosystem. It is an echo of our environment, reminding us that the health of our planet is the most important gift to our children.”  –Ambassador Andrew Young (United States Ambassador to UN & Mayor of Atlanta)

Ed LantzEd Lantz (Host)

Ed Lantz is an entertainment technology engineer, entrepreneur, immersive experience designer and innovator in giant-screen digital cinema. He left aerospace engineering in 1990 to transform old-style planetariums into 360-degree immersive visualization environments, designing over a dozen dome theaters worldwide while at Spitz, Inc. including the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, National Space Center in Leicester, UK, the Glasgow Science Center in Glasgow, Scotland and Papalote Museo del Nino in Mexico City.  He also led the product development of the SciDome digital planetarium which has sold over 100 units worldwide.

Ed co-founded Vortex Immersion Media in 2007 to bring immersive and interactive experiences into mainstream arts and entertainment markets. Vortex produces immersive and interactive media experiences for themed entertainment, VR Cinemas and numerous Fortune 500 companies including Condé Nast, EMC2, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Nestle, NFL, Nike, Nokia, Sprint and Turner Broadcast. Vortex also operates the Vortex Dome, the first commercial immersive media production studio and events venue located in downtown Los Angeles. The Vortex Dome hosts a wide range of arts and entertainment co-productions including live stage shows (Pasión, BollyDoll), fine arts performances (Blue Apple ballet), live concerts (Ceremony with James Hood) in addition to immersive arts educational activities (classes for CalArts, USC and Relativity University).

Ed has published numerous articles in journals and trade publications on immersive media and virtual reality, is a public speaker on panels and keynote talks including at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is a regular contributor to ACM/SIGGRAPH. Ed’s personal focus is on the unique cognitive properties of next-generation multisensory “sentient” environments, the merging of virtual and real storytelling worlds, and the development of fulldome theaters as next-generation entertainment and performance venues. Ed holds two U.S. patents on immersive theater technologies, was awarded a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with minor in Quantum Physics and Electromagnetics from Tennessee Tech University, and is a founder of the trade association IMERSA. He co-authored DIGSS 1.1 (Digital Immersive Giant Screen Specifications) in cooperation with the Giant Screen Cinema Association, is a member of ACM/SIGGRAPH and IEEE, co-chaired the VR Village at SIGGRAPH 2015, and chairs the Boards of nonprofit organizations c3: Center for Conscious Creativity and Create Now.


Kate McCallum (Host)katemccallumphoto

Kate McCallum is is forward-thinking producer, writer, and digital arts and media strategist with an emphasis in IP development, transmedia and new media technology platforms.  She founded Bridge Arts Media, LLC, a transmedia/cross-platform development, production and consulting company, and the c3: Center for Conscious Creativity, a 501(c)3 dedicated to creating a better future through the power of arts and media.  Kate serves on the National Board of the PGA: Producers Guild of America and is a Board Delegate on the PGA New Media Council, is a member of the TV Academy, the WFSF: World Future Studies Federation, and Chair of the Arts & Media Node for The Millennium Project, a global futurist think tank.

McCallum currently consults with Vortex Immersion Media, a company specializing in the development and production of fulldome 360/VR immersive content and experience design, immersive brand experiences, VR, interactive media, and live mixed media performances to launch an innovation lab and AIR: Artist In Residence program in the company’s dome theater, The Vortex Dome located at LA Center Studios .

She spent 20 years at Universal and Paramount Studios in Los Angeles working on the development and production of feature films, and broadcast and cable episodic television with some of the top showrunners and writers in the industry on such shows as; Miami Vice, Law & Order, Equalizer, and The Marshal to name a few.  Kate produced a TV Movie for NBC called What Kind of Mother Are You?  As VP of Creative for Western Sandblast at Paramount Kate developed and sold TV movies and off net series concepts to outlets such as Showtime and UPN.  She also produced over 200 episodes of content for Vidblogger Nation,  a VoD channel on Comcast for Simply New, and has served as CEO for the US office of a Korean media company called Titan Platform.

McCallum’s been an international guest speaker or instructor for organizations such as; the Hong Kong Design Institute, Singapore Media Academy, the Asian Childrens’ Content Conference, XMedia Lab in Perth, Australia, and recently spoke at the CICSEP conference in Shenzhen, China to name a few. Kate helped design, present and speak in a seminar called “Transmedia Storytelling and Strategy Design” for the PGA and the Television Academy, and was a featured speaker at the Global Leaders Forum in Seoul, Korea on the topic of Future Trends in the Arts and Media.

Nijole Sparkis (Host)screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-8-11-51-am

c3’s Community Communications Catalyst, Nijole’s purpose in life is to inspire, empower, and support others to their highest self-actualization through consciousness and the arts, and to use her own artistic expression to bring forth higher consciousness through media. A performer for most of her life, documentary filmmaker, teacher, speaker, and Shadow Coach, Nijole is currently a licensed spiritual practitioner at Michael Bernard Beckwith’s Agape International Spiritual Center and the Centers for Spiritual Living.