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Meet Your Host for COSM 2021, Steve Buri

Buri, President of the Discovery Institute, has been active in Washington public life for decades and looks forward to hosting thoughtful high tech pioneers

Attendees of COSM 2021 (November 10–11), where Big Tech pioneers will sit down together to think and talk about where AI is going, will have as their hos, Steve Buri.

Steve Buri

Buri, President of the Discovery Institute since 2011, will be emceeing and moderating throughout, with the goal of sharing the mission of Discovery Institute as it relates to an understanding of natural and artificial intelligence.

A couple of things about Steve: He was born and raised in the small farming community of
Colfax, Washington, and graduated from Washington State University with a double major in political science and criminal justice in 1994.

After graduation, he was active in local politics, serving as senior staff member to U.S. Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) and then working on statewide political campaigns. He was mayor of Newcastle, a suburb of Seattle, from 2014–2015.

In 1998, he co-founded Stewardship Partners with Seattle lawyer Christopher Bayley, to “bridge the gap between private landowners and those responsible for enforcing environmental laws and regulations.” He joined Discovery Institute in 2000 as executive director and became a vice-president in 2005.

He lives on Mercer Island with his wife Angelica.

Here’s something he wrote in March 2020, when the severity of the COVID-19 crisis was becoming apparent and many were in danger of mistaking panic for some kind of constructive activity:

Times like these, frightening as they are, can reorient one’s own priorities and those of society as a whole. It is arguable that our decadence has preoccupied much of our time and energy on matters that, in the end, don’t really matter. I won’t bother to list them here. After all, my list might be different from yours. But one thing is certain: the top priority for most in these times is the health and well-being of family and friends, the ongoing work that doesn’t pause for a pandemic, and a greater reliance, for many, on faith in God. The latter, if lasting, could be the best outcome from our present circumstance.

Steven J. Buri, “Purpose and Hope in a Time of Turmoil” at Evolution News and Science Today (March 19, 2020)

And Discovery Institute’s role?

Discovery Institute’s mission is to advance a culture of purpose, creativity, and innovation. Those three pillars will guide our organization, and now even our country, through the weeks and months ahead. With that in mind, I recently asked a colleague a rhetorical question: Why do we care about what is happening? Why is it that we worry about the lives and livelihoods of our family, friends, and neighbors? And why are we presently trading economic hardship for the protection of human life? You know the answer: Because life matters more than the material. Regardless of whether or not one accepts the idea of a purposeful universe, which suggests God, the value of life is written on the human heart. In times of crisis, life is what matters most. Even to many dyed-in-the-wool materialists.

Steven J. Buri, “Purpose and Hope in a Time of Turmoil” at Evolution News and Science Today (March 19, 2020)

And DI’s interest in human creativity and intelligence?

Human beings also display remarkable ingenuity and creativity. Every human achievement — from eternity past to present day — represents the accumulation of knowledge and the application of that knowledge in everyday life. This will be put to the test in big ways and small to address the current threat. The big ways are obvious and immediate: the need to develop therapies to treat the sick, and vaccines to protect the healthy. These will take time, but they will happen.

Steven J. Buri, “Purpose and Hope in a Time of Turmoil” at Evolution News and Science Today (March 19, 2020)

The COVID threat wanes, though slowly. Others will surely emerge. If you’d like to talk and think with tech pioneers about our future, book now for COSM 2021 and get the best going rate. Warning: Prices go up after October 31.

Here’s who else you can meet and maybe talk to:

Peter Thiel speaking in person at COSM, Seattle, November 10. As a world class venture capitalist, he is known for bluntness about what works and what doesn’t. COSM 2021 focuses on the converging technologies, remaking our world. Thiel asks, is new tech soaring or slumping?

Carver Mead: “Listen to the technology; find out what it’s telling you…” That’s the motto of CalTech’s Carver Mead, who will speak at COSM 2021. Integrated circuit design pioneer Carver Mead is also deeply interested in physics problems, in seeing “quite visibly what matter is down at its heart.

Love him or hate him, Newt Gingrich will be speaking at COSM! Foes and fans on both sides of the aisle agree, he’s never just dull and wishy-washy. The controversial former Speaker of the House has a keen interest in new tech and can be unsparing about the politics that sometimes hobble it.


Top world chemist, James Tour, to speak at COSM 2021. Tour builds molecules for a living, a position that causes him to stand in awe” of God: “Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith.” Apart from his hundreds of papers and dozens of patent families, Tour’s passion is introducing the public to the many worlds of science.

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Meet Your Host for COSM 2021, Steve Buri