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A highlight of the symposium was a talk given by astrobiologist and award-winning author David Grinspoon, who was also welcomed as the 2018 Eugene Shoemaker Memorial Lecture award winner. Grinspoon, who coined the term "planetary intelligence", spoke to the audience about dilemmas in the anthropocene and the problems posed by our growing technological prowess as a species. He proposes that we may be entering a brand new "Sapiezoic Eon" in which cognitive processes are actually a part of planetary functioning, and perhaps not completely within our control.
Another featured speaker, Dr. Sara Imari Walker, is currently working on a pilot project as part of the Interplanetary Initiative that addresses the topic of planetary intelligence in the age of artificial intelligence. Alongside her co-investigator, Hikaru Furukawa, she is merging research into the anthropocene and artificial intelligence to develop a holistic view of planetary intelligence and what it means for our collective future. Walker and Furukawa hope to leverage the success of the Planetary Intelligence Symposium to create a new course exploring the intersection of artificial intelligence and management of planetary resources.