You can’ t leave home without it. In fact, you can’t get anywhere without it, whether you’re trying bring about political change, compose music, send a robot to Mars, or merely make your way across a room. You can’t breathe or think without movement. Yet movement is so ingrained in our lives that we rarely consider how social changes really occur; how our brains and muscles engage in endless neural conversations to perform the most simple tasks; how robots can be endowed with human-like movement.

For our January 7th Categorically Not! We’re delighted to have Carolee Winstein, Professor of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy and co-author of the recent EXCITE clinical trial published in JAMA. A movement scientist for the past 20 years, she will talk about human movement in the context of rehabilitation medicine, neuroscience, and the recent case of a tragic loss of life due to a bizarre malfunction of movement in everyday life: the elderly man who ran his car into the Santa Monica farmer’s market.

Robots can tell us a lot about human movement, so we’ll be joined by Carolee’s sometime collaborator Maja Mataric, a roboticist at USC who creates intelligent, socially engaging, machines to help us better understand people, which in turn helps us design machines that can better aid people in rehabilitation, special education, and more. She will talk about the difficulties of getting a robot to move purposely and safely, a task that involves everything from neuroscience (how is movement produced?) and even philosophy (why move at all?) 

For a perspective on mass movement, we have Jim Lafferty, the political firebrand who has been much honored for his work as Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles. Jim also hosts the The Lawyers Guild Show on KPFK, and has been leading  peace and social justice movements for the past 45 years. He will talk about mass political movements: how they are built and what they have and can accomplish by way of significant political and social change in this country

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