Adventures at BLERDCON DC

by Troy-Jeffrey Allen How does BPM’s mission relate to something like blerd culture? It starts with freedom of expression … Before the millennium, the life of a sci-fi/fantasy fan was fairly lonely.  Remember, this was pre-Internet, so geekery was largely a solitary activity – just you and your novel/comic book/manga/film – indulged to support an […]

Heroes of Color Series Featured in PBS Online Film Festival

The Webby Award-nominated PBS Online Film Festival returns for the seventh year, July 16-27, 2018, featuring 25 short-form independent films from multiple public media partners and PBS member stations. Heroes of Color, the highly acclaimed series of short animated videos highlighting the contributions of people of color in world history is among those featured in this year’s festival. […]

Filmmaker Pivots from Med School to VR

As part of our efforts to educate our community about virtual reality and other emerging forms of storytelling, Black Public Media will occasionally profile someone working in the emerging technology industry. That person could be an artist, a filmmaker, an educator, an executive, or a student. In this edition, we feature excerpts from a conversation […]

Black Like Me: Robot Pushes the Boundaries of Blackness

What does it mean to be Black and a woman? Can either experience be distilled into a computer program? Meet BINA48, a social android that runs on an artificial intelligence (AI) program. Since being activated in 2010, the robot has taken two college courses and rung the bell of the New York Stock Exchange. It continues to machine-learn from its interactions with humans and the internet.

BINA48 is based on a composite of several people, including Bina Aspen, the African-American co-founder and vice president of the Terasem Movement Foundation. The foundation runs the LifeNaut Project, a social experiment focused on saving a person’s memories, values, and beliefs in a digital file (dubbed a “mindfile”). Terasem’s long-term goal is figuring out how to download a mindfile into a biological, mechanical, or digital form or into a yet-to-be-invented mashup of all three.