Double Academy Award winner Dr Mark Sagar is a thinker of extraordinary vision, imagining our future integrated with artificial intelligence (AI). The co-founder and CEO of Soul Machines, Mark and his team are pioneering new technology to create virtual humans with virtual brains. Mark has a PhD in Engineering from the University of Auckland and was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT. For his work in visual effects he was awarded two Scientific and Engineering Academy Awards for his innovations in animation which have become industry standard in feature films such as Avatar.
The pandemic has seen a rise in the need of digital technologies to disseminate information quickly and globally. Soul Machines has been leading the way, with applications in education, entertainment, commerce and health, for example developing Florence, a digital health worker for the WHO to help combat smoking and Covid-19 misinformation. Mark’s dedication to science and humanity is achieving significant impact worldwide and he and co-founder Greg Cross have grown Soul Machines to a 220-strong global team, with R&D based in Auckland. Mark was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ in 2019 for his world-leading research.