Archive | Monthly Gathering

*** Canceled *** March Monthly Gathering – Artificial Intelligence and the Vanishing Future of Work

Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation in Michigan, the Executive Committee of Southeast Michigan Mensa regretfully announces that’ the monthly gathering, “Artificial Intelligence and the Vanishing Future of Work”, previously scheduled on March 21, has been cancelled. Please check back for announcements on future events.

Will artificial intelligence (AI) take away jobs or usher in a prosperous utopia? Will innovations such as self-driving cars reduce our use of fossil fuels or accelerate emissions? What will high IQ and a college degree be worth when knowledge work can be done by machine? This talk considers these and other questions through the lens of technology’s “Law of Amplification.” Paradoxically, Kentaro Toyama, this month’s guest speaker, believes what is needed most in a world of advanced technology is greater attention to human values and virtues.

Dr. Kentaro Toyama is W. K. Kellogg Professor of Community Information at the University of Michigan School of Information, a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT, and author of Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology. Kentaro previously taught at Ashesi University in Ghana and co-founded Microsoft Research India, where he did research on the application of digital technology to international development. 

Dr. Toyama co-founded the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD) to provide a global platform for rigorous academic research in this field. He is also co-editor-in-chief of the journal Information Technologies and International Development. Prior to his time in India, Toyama researched computer vision and multimedia at Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA, USA and Cambridge, UK. Toyama graduated from Yale with a PhD in Computer Science and from Harvard with a BS in Physics. He was born in Tokyo and raised in both Japan and the United States. He lives in Ann Arbor.

Join us on Saturday, March 21st, for a glimpse into your future! We’ll meet at
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield.
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 6:30pm. The program begins at 7:00pm. Admission: $5, (Mensa Members $4)
Following the presentation, join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just East of Middlebelt Rd.

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February Monthly Gathering – Come Cruise the Cosmos with Mensa!

Join NASA Solar System Ambassador Ken Bertin, for a guided tour of the universe. Through the use of some pretty amazing 3D visualization (VR) software, our ship will convey us from the Earth to the edges of the known universe. Along the way, we’ll travel to many places, including the Moon,  Jupiter, Saturn, a gigantic black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, and more! Mr. Bertin will also demonstrate the challenges of space travel, and explain how the staggering size of the universe presents unique difficulties for those seeking to journey beyond the Earth’s celestial neighborhood. Those of us undertaking the journey will return with a better sense of the vastness of space. This is an awe-inspiring program, perfect for all ages, and Mr. Bertin will answer any space-related questions you might have! 

Ken Bertin received his first telescope at the age of seven and has been an avid astronomer for most of his life. He has traveled to and observed ten solar eclipses, three annular eclipses and both transits of Venus. He has also seen numerous Lunar and partial solar eclipses, photographing each type. Ken is past president of the Warren Astronomical Society. His stated purpose in life is “the acquisition of knowledge, and the imparting of it to others”

Your flight to the stars awaits! Join us on Saturday, February 15th, at
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield.
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 6:30pm. The program begins at 7:00pm. Please note the new starting time! Admission: $5, (Mensa Members $4)
Following the presentation, join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just East of Middlebelt Rd.

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No December Monthly Gathering

A snowmanThere’s no Monthly Meeting (or ExComm Meeting) this month. Have a great holiday season!

We’ll see you next month for Winter Bash! on Saturday January 11th from 6pm-11pm. Guests of members are welcome. Ticket information is available on the Winter Bash! page.

Regular meetings will resume in February.

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October Monthly Gathering – President Trump, Our 18th Century Constitution, Congress, and The Two-Party Political System

How does the 18th-century language of our Constitution play out against the language of Donald Trump’s Twitter account? This interactive presentation will discuss the constitutional structure of the American government, and the powers of Congress and the President under that system. We will also discuss the impact of the two-party political system on that constitutional structure. Emphasis will be placed on the current constitutional and political situation in light of the Trump Presidency and the divided Congress.

Our guest speaker Robert A. Sedler, is a distinguished professor of law at Wayne State University, where he teaches the courses in Constitutional Law and Conflict of Laws. Prior to coming to Wayne State in 1977, he was Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky. Professor Sedler received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif, an honor society for law school graduates.  In 2005, he was elected to the Wayne State University Academy of Scholars, which is the highest recognition bestowed upon faculty members by their colleagues. He served as President of the Academy during the 2007-2008 academic year. In April 2019, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel appointed Sedler a special assistant attorney general. 

Professor Sedler has litigated a large number of civil rights and civil liberties cases in Michigan, Kentucky and elsewhere, mostly as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. He was also one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the landmark case of DeBoer v. Snyder, which was a part of the United States Supreme Court decision recognizing a constitutional right to marry for same sex couples.

The program takes place on Saturday, October 19th, at
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield.
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 6:30pm. The program begins at 7:00pm. Please note the new starting time!
Following the presentation, join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just East of Middlebelt Rd.

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September Monthly Gathering – Illicit Drug Use, the Opioid Crisis, and the DEA

The high availability and corresponding demand leading to the misuse of illicit and prescription drugs, including opioids is a crisis without geographic, demographic, or socioeconomic boundaries. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is responsible for conducting investigations and collecting intelligence related to the importation, distribution, and abuse of controlled substances. This presentation will provide an overview of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and introduce the DEA as a community resource for drug education information.  DEA Community Outreach Specialist Richard Isaacson will detail the current opioid epidemic afflicting the U.S., including fentanyl related issues. Other drug issues to be covered will include prescription drugs (other than opioids), growth in cocaine use, marijuana / THC current events, and vaping / Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). 

Rich Isaacson graduated from Michigan State University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Isaacson was hired by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and graduated from the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 1991. Upon graduation, Special Agent (S/A) Isaacson was assigned to the Detroit Field Division where he served in a variety of enforcement capacities, including the Mobile Enforcement Team and the RedRum Homicide Task Force.

Mr. Isaacson was appointed as DEA Detroit’s Demand Reduction Coordinator (DRC) in 2000. As the DRC, S/A Isaacson was responsible for overseeing all drug prevention activities conducted by the DEA in Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. In 2005, Isaacson was awarded the PRIDE Youth Programs, National Drug Enforcement Agent of the Year Award, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 2007, Isaacson was assigned to serve as the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Detroit Field Division, responsible for coordinating all of DEA’s media and public relations in the three state region. He remained in that position until retiring in December of 2017.

In 2018, Isaacson began his tenure as a Community Outreach Specialist, focusing on raising awareness to the dangers of substance abuse. He is contracted to do that work under the guidance of the DEA, working out of the Detroit Field Division.

The program takes place on Saturday, September 21th, at
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield.
23925 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

Doors open at 6:30pm. The program begins at 7:00pm. Please note the new starting time!
Following the presentation, join us for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza, located at 31646 Northwestern Hwy., in Farmington Hills, Just East of Middlebelt Rd.

Continue Reading