“Brain Altering Software: The Inevitable Next Step In Human Evolution?”

Russell Poldrack

Kevin Leahy


whurley (William Hurley), Co-founder, Chaotic Moon
Kevin Leahy, Founder, Knowledge Advocate, LLC
Russell Poldrack, PhD, Director of the Imaging Research Center, UT Austin

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
5:45 p.m. – Networking Reception
6:30 p.m. – Presentation

How far have we come in understanding how our brains work? Is there something I can do right now to help my brain function better? You might be pleasantly surprised by the answers to these questions. You may also want to know what’s coming on the horizon. Foreshadowing the future, you may also wonder if brain-altering software will demand that you adapt or risk becoming redundant or worse, irrelevant. Get ready, this discussion promises to provoke this type of thinking and more.

Adaption is what brains do and it’s also what humans do better than any other creature alive. Join innovators whurley (William Hurley), Kevin Leahy, and Russell Poldrack at The Austin Forum as we explore how software will continue to change the way we think, feel, and interact with our world. Hear about where it can take us if we are willing and it is able. Come join in this stirring exploration into how our species might navigate this highly adaptable, and uniquely software-inspired future.


whurley (William Hurley)
Co-founder of Chaotic Moon, Killer of futurists. Purveyor of innovation. Advocate for open source. International genius. He’s been called a visionary systems theorist, a mad scientist, and an evil genius. What he is, is unquestionably innovative. Over his 20-year career, whurley has demonstrated an unparalleled talent for innovation and a passion for open source software. In 2010 he co-founded Chaotic Moon, a leading mobile development and strategy company, and quickly built a portfolio of A-list clients. Names like Microsoft, CBS Sports, Sanrio, Pizza Hut, and News Corp, for whom Chaotic Moon developed the first iPad-only digital newspaper. In 2011 he could have stood pat. Instead he doubled down, helping create Chaotic Moon Labs to focus on “Innovation on Demand.” As General Manager of the lab in 2012, he created what Wired Magazine described as “the best of CES,” an all-terrain skateboard controlled by hand motions. Powered by an Xbox Kinect™ and a Samsung tablet, the board achieved an exhilarating top speed of 32 mph. He followed that with what Jason Bradbury, host of the Europe’s ‘The Gadget Show’ said was “…like something out of a science fiction movie” and “comic book crazy”— a mind controlled skateboard.

Kevin Leahy, JD
Kevin Leahy wears several hats: litigator; advisor and coach; professional questioner; brain trainer. Following a 17-year career as partner with one of the largest law firms in Texas, Kevin founded Knowledge Advocate, LLC, a business consulting company dedicated to improving performance in the workplace. Kevin delivers out of the box consults by keeping a keen eye on brain-enhanced training and advising. He leverages the combined synergies of brain, communication and management sciences to serve the best interests of his clients. Since 2011 he has offered formal brain training instruction for clients including Whole Foods Market and Goodwill, and also trains brains through the informal program at The University of Texas at Austin. He serves as an adjunct professor of UT Austin’s School of Law, is a regular State Bar of Texas speaker on law, brain science, and ethics, and has published articles on law and science as well as contributed to a book published by Oxford University Press on litigation history. Kevin is also a member of the Advisory Board for the communications department at Texas State University. For fun, he tends a forest garden west of downtown Austin and volunteers with several non-profits. Each week, Kevin counts himself lucky to sous chef and also serve as cleanup crew for the extraordinary cook he married many moons ago.

Russell Poldrack, PhD
Russell Poldrack, PhD is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and Director of the Imaging Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin. Previously he has held academic positions at UCLA and Harvard Medical School. His research uses brain imaging to understand the brain systems that underlie our ability to change our behavior, make good decisions, and exert self-control. He has pioneered the application of machine learning techniques to large-scale neuroimaging datasets in order to understand the power and limits of neuroscience-based “mind-reading”, and has been a vocal critic of the sloppy interpretation of neuroimaging research. His research has garnered awards from the American Psychological Association and the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, and is funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Office of Naval Research.