Schedule for 2017

Announcing the 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival schedule! Find the session you're looking for by sorting by Program Tracks, Session Date, or search by session name or speaker.  

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Breakfast Talk   The Thinking Machine
Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future
8:00 am - 8:50 am MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, coauthors of the 2014 best-seller The Second Machine Age, will preview their new book at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Machine, Platform, Crowd brings together economics, computer science, and several other fields to present a practical, action-oriented guide to the changes and disruptions brought by the amazing technological progress of today and tomorrow. The book is aimed at executives, investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and anyone else interested in building and supporting successful organizations in a time of profound progress and turbulence.
Koch Building, Lauder Room
Plenary Session   The America I Know
Something Important Is Dying: Reclaiming the Democratic Virtues of Moderation, Civility, and Compromise
9:00 am - 10:00 am MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
Beneath the tumble of day-to-day politics — the anger and crude attacks, the polarization and zero-sum thinking — vital democratic legacies are being squandered. To rebuild the moral and intellectual infrastructure of democracy, we need to reclaim the good name of essential public virtues such as moderation, civility, and compromise — once widely admired and praised, now often dismissed as weakness or even betrayal. This session will focus on where we are and what needs to be done to repair the ethical fabric of our humanity, with a focus on some practical steps that might be taken.
Greenwald Pavilion
Plenary Session   Making It in the USA
How AI Will Shake Up Business — and Society
9:00 am - 10:00 am MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
As the prospect of mass implementation of artificial intelligence begins to alter realistic expectations of its impacts (large and small, positive and negative), the consequences for the business community are only just beginning to be imagined. Unlike the internet, AI is not a new industry — yet its application will radically alter industry. Says one CEO, “Everything invented in the past 150 years will be reinvented using AI within the next 15 years.” But what does this really mean?
Paepcke Auditorium
Plenary Session   Inside Creativity
The Imagination of Leonardo da Vinci
9:00 am - 10:00 am MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
Walter Isaacson is fascinated by innovators — the kinds of geniuses whose ideas have transformed industry, science, and society. Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Benjamin Franklin each grabbed his attention in ways that allow us, as readers, to discover the depth and breadth of their brilliant thinking and creative sensibilities. Now comes Leonardo da Vinci, whose boundless curiosity renders him perhaps the greatest creative genius of all time. Isaacson explains what he can teach us?
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Breakout   The America I Know
A Democrat, a Republican, a Rental Car — and a Road Map to Better Politics
10:20 am - 11:20 am MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
With their flights to DC snowed out and votes imminent on the House floor, these two Texas congressmen took to the road to travel the 1,600 miles to the nation’s capital in a rented Chevy Impala. They invited America to join them via Facebook live, and through their spontaneous town hall on wheels, they learned a lot about the issues Americans are dealing with, each other’s core values, and the inextricably linked processes of listening and finding common ground.
Koch Building, Lauder Room
America’s Online Enemies
10:20 am - 11:20 am MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
From election meddling and economic espionage to financial fraud and personal identity theft, it’s becoming clear that cybersecurity is increasingly central to every aspect of the way we live. Both state-sponsored cyber-spies and transnational organized crime groups pose urgent threats online to our nation’s critical infrastructure, our security, and our fundamental values in a democratic society. How should government, private companies, and even individuals be confronting these new threats in cyberspace?
Paepcke Auditorium
Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland
10:20 am - 11:20 am MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
Many of the people doing today’s most consequential environmental work — restoring America’s grasslands, wildlife, soil, rivers, wetlands, and oceans — would not call themselves environmentalists; they would be too uneasy with the connotations of that word. What drives them is their deep love of the land — they feel a moral responsibility to preserve their heritage and ensure that their families and communities will continue to thrive. The new book and documentary, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman, challenges pervasive and powerful myths about heartland values, the present state of our democracy, and what it means to be an environmentalist. Join Miriam Horn and two of the unsung heroes featured in her work: a rancher and a farmer working on the front lines of a vast effort to preserve the natural world that sustains us all.
Koch Building, Booz Allen Hamilton Room
The Road from Paris: A Conversation with the Former Secretary of Energy
10:20 am - 11:20 am MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
The principal solution to climate change challenges lies with a transformation to an all-of-the-above low carbon energy future. There is no going back. Clean energy technologies have become remarkably competitive in just the last few years. The US is already on a trajectory for meeting our Paris target, with rapid growth in natural gas and renewable power generation and energy efficiency leading the way. Other major economies with comparable or even stronger Paris targets don’t have the same advantages: low cost natural gas, sustained investments in technology, a highly-skilled workforce, a robust national laboratory system and research universities that are second to none. Former Obama Administration Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz says withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is bad for science-based decision making, national and energy security, and innovation. However, there is one note of optimism: cities and states and the business community are primed to keep us on course to the low carbon future that we need.
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Breakout   Inside Creativity
Embracing Risk-Taking and Failure
10:20 am - 11:20 am MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
People who spend time on creative endeavors know that failure is inevitable. In fact, failure is a natural part of the learning process and, more importantly, if you aren’t failing sometimes, then you probably aren’t taking enough risks. So, how do you prepare yourself for inevitable failures and mine them for the most learning? In this interactive session, Stanford d.school professor Tina Seelig explores how our risk profile influences the types of endeavors we take on, how to recover from failure, and how to squeeze the most juice out of these learning experiences.
Doerr-Hosier Center, Kaufman Room
Breakout   The Thinking Machine
The Future of Intelligence
10:20 am - 11:20 am MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
Bill Gates portends doomsday is coming. Stephen Hawking says we should prepare for our robot overlords to take their thrones. But is the future as glaring as Hal’s red eye? Or is it more complicated than that? What does a future powered by algorithms and big intelligence mean for our lives? What are game-changing developments made possible by AI? What promises do these technologies hold? With responsible R&D, might we be looking at an application that can better the world? What are specific instances of AI’s promising power?
Koch Tent
Lunch Session on Campus  
War and Moral Choices: Personal, Policy, and Institutional Dimensions
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
The address will be framed in three sections: first, “thinking about war morally”; second, a way of thinking about war and moral choice – The Just-War Ethic; third, three major political-strategic challenges: nuclear weapons; humanitarian military intervention; and terrorism.
Koch Tent
Lunch Session on Campus   The America I Know
How Can the Democrats Get Their Groove Back?
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
“When they go low, we go high,” Michelle Obama famously said during the epically nasty 2016 presidential campaign. But that strategy didn’t win Democrats the White House or Congress. What are the issues that Democrats must capitalize on to win back needed ground in the midterms? Can they shake the elitist label that has plagued them? What will it take for America to make visceral connections with Americans as populism explodes?
Aspen Meadows Restaurant
Lunch Session on Campus   Inside Creativity
Our Obsession with Genius
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer, along with partner Ron Howard, just completed season one of “Genius,” a multi-part series for television based on Walter Isaacson’s book, Einstein. Why the focus on genius? What does the celebration of sheer genius do for society at large? What lessons can we learn by studying the lives and works of those we consider geniuses?
Doerr-Hosier Center, McNulty Room
Closing Session   Viewpoints
Closing Session
1:15 pm - 2:15 pm MDT on Saturday, July 1, 2017
Greenwald Pavilion

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