2022 NYWIFT Tech Talks: Day 4: Emerging Technology in Gaming/VR and AI

Join NYWIFT for our inaugural 2022 NYWIFT Tech Talks discussing digital advances and the people behind these new inventions

We’re proud to host our inaugural NYWIFT Tech Talks in partnership with Company 3 and Entertainment Partners (EP). A 4-day virtual conference with media professionals revolutionizing the tech industry and how it’s helped our industry and everyday life adjusting to the current world.

Friday, March 18, 2022

4-6pm ET

One day: $15 members / $30 non-members
Four-day Pass: $50 members/ $100 non-members



Part 1 Panel at 4pm ET:
Emerging Technology in Gaming/VR

We’re all moving towards a future of technology and connecting with people around the world. We’re excited to discuss what innovations have come into fruition before and post pandemic. We speak with professionals in the industry on how the pivot affected the community but how it also influenced a community to become even more inclusive.

Panelists include
Tanya DePass (Founder, I Need Diverse Games)
Siobhan Reddy (Studio Director, Media Molecule)
Mark Barlet (Founder and Executive Director of the AbleGamers Charity)
Moderated by Adnaan Wasey, (Emmy Award winning executive producer)


Tanya DePass is the founder and Director of I Need Diverse Games, a not-for-profit organization based in Chicago, which is dedicated to better diversification of all aspects of gaming. I Need Diverse Games serves the community by supporting marginalized developers, attendance at the Game Developer Conference by participating in the GDC Scholarship program, helps assist attendance at other industry events, and is seeking partnership with organizations and initiatives. She’s the creator and Creative Director of Into the Mother Lands, a Twitch supported RPG and Actual Play stream, airing weekly on her channel, twitch.tv/cypheroftyr. Additionally, she is a Senior Annenberg labs Civic Media Fellow at USC. She’s also the creator and Creative Director of Into the Mother Lands, a new sci fi afro-futurist RPG developed with a team of all POC and Black creators; live streamed on her twitch channel, /cypheroftyr. She’s named as one of The Game Awards Future Class 2020, a diverse group of builders, thinkers and dreamers whose voices elevate and diversify our artform. She was also named as one of Gamers of the Year 2020 by Kotaku along with three of her contemporaries. She was also invited to the Xbox MVP program in February 2021. Her work to make the industry more inclusive has been highlighted in Game Changer. Tanya is the programming & diversity coordinator for OrcaCon and GaymerX. She also serves on the Board of Directors for OrcaCon and Take This. Her writing about games and games critique appears in Uncanny Magazine, Polygon, Wiscon Chronicles, Vice Gaming, Paste Games, Mic, and other publications. She’s the editor of Game Devs and Others: Tales from the Margins (2018, CRC Press) and contributed to The Advanced Game Narrative Toolbox. (2019, CRC Press)

Siobhan Reddy is Studio Director at Media Molecule, the band of creative minds behind the hugely successful and innovative LittleBigPlanet game franchise as well as the award-winning Tearaway for the PS Vita and Tearaway Unfolded for the PlayStation 4. The studio is currently working on the revolutionary PS4 title Dreams.  Siobhan cut her teeth at Criterion, working on titles such as Burnout 3 & Burnout 4. She also sits on the Game Developers Conference advisory board.
Happiest in the space between chaos and calm, Siobhan’s role at Mm brings together her two passions: creating innovative, genre-bending entertainment, and bringing together creative collaborators. Fellow co-founders Mark Healey, Kareem Ettouney, Alex Evans and Dave Smith started the studio to meld their extensive games experience, shared passions for the arts and unwavering commitment to quality and bring something a little different to the industry.
A strong advocate for diversity, Siobhan believes that the games industry should be a place for all, as it’s the quintessential medium of our time. Media Molecule projects strive to encourage players to get in touch with their creativity, and have their mind and soul tickled in the process.

As Founder and Executive Director of the AbleGamers Charity, Mark Barlet champions for the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities in the videogame space as a tool to combat social isolation. For most of his adult life, Mark worked in software development for various US Government agencies including DHS, FBI, and the IRS. While balancing the demands of critical government work, he founded AbleGamers 16 years ago when his childhood best-friend saw videogames being taken from her because of Multiple Sclerosis. That powerless feeling started Mark on a journey to change the game industry. Challenging a multibillion-dollar industry to create new and exciting games that kept the needs of people with disabilities in mind. As we enter the golden age of game accessibility, Mark and his team at AbleGamers continue to fight so everyone can game.

Adnaan Wasey is an Emmy Award-winning executive producer with a history of championing the work of a diverse group of artists for mainstream and emerging platforms. He’s worked for some of the world’s most admired storytelling brands, including PBS, The New York Times, and Disney and is a frequent speaker about the future of media creation at venues such as SXSW, The Tribeca Film Festival, and The New York Film Festival. Adnaan is also a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and a winner of The Roddenberry Impact Award. Connect with Adnaan on social media @adnaanwasey.

Part 2 Panel at 5pm ET:
Conversation with IBM – AI, AI Ethics, and Content Creation

Panelists from IBM include Dr. Francesca Rossi, Phaedra Boinodiris, and Marisa Viveros.

AI is already all around us in the creative industry, from streaming algorithms to greenlighting movies. What does the content creator need to know? Join our IBM panel of AI experts as we explore how AI is used today in entertainment and pop culture. Learn what is AI bias and how AI Ethics is key to stemming developer and data bias.


Dr. Francesca Rossi is an IBM fellow and the IBM AI Ethics Global Leader. She is an AI scientist with over 30 years of experience in AI research, from which she has published more than 200 articles in top AI journals and conferences. She co-leads the IBM AI ethics board and actively participates in many global multi-stakeholder initiatives on AI ethics. She is a member of the board of directors of the Partnership on AI and is the industry representative in the steering committee of the Global Partnership on AI. She is a fellow of both the worldwide association of AI (AAAI) and of the European one (EurAI), and she will be the next president of AAAI.

A fellow with the London-based Royal Society of Arts, Phaedra Boinodiris has focused on inclusion in technology since 1999. She is currently the business transformation leader for IBM’s Responsible AI consulting group and serves on the leadership team of IBM’s Academy of Technology. Boinodiris, co-founder of WomenGamers.com, is pursuing her Ph.D. in AI and Ethics at University College Dublin’s Smart Lab. In 2019, she won the United Nations Woman of Influence in STEM and Inclusivity Award and was recognized by Women in Games International as one of the Top 100 Women in the Games Industry.

Marisa Viveros leads Strategy and Solutions for IBM Telecommunications & Media Industry. She is responsible for IBM’s 5G and Edge Computing strategy, and the adoption of open architectures & AI to address network modernization, automation, and the creation of new digital services. She is a member of the IBM Industry Academy; serves in the governance board of Linux Foundation Networking, the TM Forum Open Digital Framework advisory board; and leads various programs for the advancement of women and Hispanics in technology within IBM, and the industry.



S. Casper Wong (Moderator) is an award-winning New York-based filmmaker, technology lawyer, and social entrepreneur. Her documentary feature debut, The LuLu Sessions, has won 10 international awards and nominations in every major category, with a US broadcast on PBS’s World Channel as part of the America ReFramed Documentary Series. She received a Humanitarian Award from the SASS Foundation for Medical Research for her film’s social impact on the emotional complexities of breast cancer. She is the Creator of the Peace Pod Project, a multi-platform VR/AR/XR dedicated space for facilitating reconciliation between 2 people.  She has directed and produced in China since 2005 and served as the studio executive for Roger Corman’s first co-production with China. She is currently in development on several sci-fi and animation projects. Casper’s work has been screened and distributed internationally. She is a two-time winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Screenwriting Grants; a New York State Council on the Arts Grantee; Sloan Fellow at the Hampton’s International Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab; a nominee for the Directors Guild of America’s Best Student Film; the winner of the Special Jury Award of the Golden Horse at the Taipei Film Festival. Prior to receiving her MFA from NYU in directing, Casper was Senior Attorney for IBM General Counsel, and received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University. She is the Founder of Asian American Women Media Makers, and is on the Board of Directors at NYWIFT, leading its Innovation Initiative.

See the Full Tech Talks Schedule

March 18 @ 4:00pm
4:00 pm — 6:00 pm (2h)


Join the conversation on social media:
#nywift | @nywift

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.