Future Fridays Lecture Series

A series of community conversations with science and futurist thought leaders

Begun in 2011,  the Future Fridays Lecture Series is an evening lecture series that runs in the Fall and Spring and features talks by prominent leaders, authors, and innovators.

The lectures are open to Chabot’s Stellar Society corporate and community members.  Additional guests are welcome based on availability.

The Future Fridays Series is generously underwritten by Rudney Associates.

Please contact development@chabotspace.org for more details.

Fall 2018 Lectures

October 5

Pieter Abbeel
President and Chief Scientist at Covariant.ai and Professor at UC Berkeley

Pieter Abbeel is Professor and Director of the Robot Learning Lab at UC Berkeley [2008- ], Co-Founder of covariant.ai [2017- ], Co-Founder of Gradescope [2014- ], Advisor to OpenAI, Founding Faculty Partner AI@TheHouse, Advisor to many AI/Robotics start-ups.  

Title of his talk: Artificial Intelligence: Cutting through the Hype and What’s Really Happening

Summary: Recent advances in Artificial Intelligence have enabled a wide range of breakthroughs in many domains, including image recognition, speech recognition, learning to play video games, learning to control simulated and real robots, and mastering the classical game of Go.  In this talk I will highlight these advances, provide some background on ideas and trends that have powered these advances, as well as shed some light on where AI is headed.


November 2

Jeff Kirschner
Founder of Litterati app

Title of his talk: Litterati: The Community that’s Crowdsource-Cleaning the Planet

Summary:  Litterati is a global community working to create a litter-free planet. We are taking a data-driven approach to understanding one of humanity’s most complex and challenging problems. (www.litterati.org



Past Speakers


  • Ryan Scott – Crossing the Final Frontier: Space Exploration, Biology, and Health
  • Will Wright – A Roadmap for our Gigital Lives
  • Dr. Daniel Kammen  – An Energy Future the Earth Can Live With


  • William Jagust – Memory, The Aging Brain, and the Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Dr. Cristal Glangchai – From Stand-up to Start-up: Growing Girl Techies and Entrepreneurs
  • Scott Manley – Can You Learn Rocket Science from Video Games?
  • Dr. David Grinspoon – Earth in Human Hands: A Cosmic View of our Planet’s Past, Present and Future
  • MJ Marggraff – Far and Away: Going Beyond Earth Without Going Crazy



  • Edwin F. Erickson, NASA Ames Research Center (retired)- NASA’s Airborne Astronomy Program
  • Christopher McKay – Life on Mars: Past and Future
  • Dr. Robert Knight – Insights into Human Behavior from Neurological Patients
  • Scott Hutchins – Novel Science: The Making of A Working Theory of Love



  • Peter H. Gleick – The Future of Water for California and the World
  • Ed Finn – How to Build a Dream Machine
  • Steven Shepard – From the Internet of Things to the Internet of Human Capability
  • Bill Nye – Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation



  • Will Wright – Game Designer & Creator of Sim City
  • Tom Atchison – Founder & Chairman, Mavericks Civilian Space Foundation
  • Carl Haber – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Physicist and MacArthur Genius Award Winner
  • Edward Moses – Director of Fusion Science and Applications Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Alexander Rose – Executive Director of Long Now Foundation and Clock Project Manager
  • Ray Jayawardhana – Author and Professor of Observational Astrophysics



  • Jim Capobianco, Derek Thompson & Kevin O’Brien – Pixar Animation Studios
  • Dr. Felisa Wolfe-Simon – Astrobiologist
  • Dr. Alex Filippenko – Astrophysicist
  • John Romero & Brenda Brathwaite Romero – Game Designers
  • Robert Weiss – President of Xprize & Entertainment Movie Producer



  • Brian David Johnson – Author and FutureCaster at Intel
  • Ben Burtt – Sound Director, Designer & Engineer for LucasFilms/Pixar
  • Bill Nye the Climate Guy – Scientist, Engineer, Comedian, Author, and Inventor
  • Ray Jayawardhana – Author and Professor of Observational Astrophysics



  • Dr. Michio Kaku – Bestselling Author and Popularizer of Science
  • Mary Roach – Columnist and Popular Science Writer and Author
  • Bill McKibben – American Environmentalist and Writer
  • Al Worden – Apollo 15 Astronaut