Roelof Pieters

CEO and Founder and Sunshine Lab

Speculations in anthropology and tech for an uncertain future

We live in uncertain times. Never before has a species had such a devastating impact on Earth. First through potential nuclear armageddon, now through human-made climate breakdown. Similarly, many innovations and technologies have made us more connected than ever, but we are equally more separate and disconnected. Finally, not only our natural climate but equally so our political and scientific climate are on fire. What to do?

It is exactly in these uncertain times, changing times, that we might dare to dream collectively, together, on how we might move beyond the current mess we have found ourselves in. It is time to stage the revolution and commit ourselves to a more equitable world that respects planetary boundaries, embraces biodiversity, energy, water, wellbeing, society, and culture.

In this talk I will look at the role that technology plays, and could play in, making such dreams a reality, and how new tools and paradigms developed under the moniker of the makers movement and maker spaces, open-source and low tech have the potential to remake the shaky ground (physical, conceptual — dare I say — ontological) on which we stand.

Can technology, AI, the internet, open-source software and hardware really be of much help here? And why are anthropologists and engineers uniquely positioned to help?  Let’s find out!


Roelof is one of the leading AI visionaries and developers in Europe. He is the CEO and Founder of and Sunshine Lab. brings artificial intelligence to studios and agencies in creative industries around the world, using a combination of machine learning, computational intelligence and creativity, classical A.I., a wide range of generative or procedural techniques, and a strong focus on human-computer interaction. Sunshine Lab builds products to help tackle the most pressing issue of our time, climate change.

Roelof also founded the influential AI-network, Stockholm AI.

Roelof has a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology and then studied towards his PhD in Theoretical Computer Science for three years but left to concentrate on his company,

You can read our interview with Roelof here, and listen to our podcast interview here.