Panel photo

 Artificial intelligence funding is on the rise. What is the next step towards innovation? Come to the panel for an intellectual discussion.


 Discuss artificial intelligence technology in a realistic vs. fiction depiction of the future. Speak with Moderator Tim Gross, Panelists Jake Morris, Jason T Swinchock and Christine M. Soltis. Special thanks to Rickert & Beagle Books for hosting this event.


 Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 at 2PM


 3233 West Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15216,  412-344-7444 .Visit Rickert & Beagle Books and SolsticeNightSky Productions on Facebook for more event info.




 Jake Morris: Panelist

 I was raised in NC originally, then moved to the Pittsburgh area in 2003. My father is a retired marine of 24 years service (MSgt). So that begs the question how I went from NC to PA. Simple. I met my wife while on a short outing with a band I played with in high school. We were friends online, meeting through a heavy metal Yahoo chatroom. Her family was warming and very welcoming, and I loved the rolling hills and dense foliage, reminding me of the Shenandoah Valley from which my father’s family hails; I moved up pretty hastily.

 I graduated from Cal U with a bachelor degree in Computer Engineering Technology. Keep in mind this isn’t a full blown engineering degree. As a technologist we are trained to interpret the schematics and designs constructed by the full engineers and implement them in real life. A good analogy is to consider the following: Engineers solve the problems of tomorrow, while technologists solve the problems of today. I also finished up with a minor in mathematics, allowing me to get into grad school if I desired. Ok, so you’re wondering what in the hell do CETs do anyway? We are a blend of software engineering and electrical engineering. We specialize in embedded systems. In other words, we make the hardware talk/communicate to other devices. Low level programming, usually in a processor’s assembly code or in ANSI C, acts as the foundation. This equips us with the ability to design simple circuitry and enable multiple avenues of functionality with complex software. “Low-level” programming does not mean its introductory level or beginner level programming, but rather on the hierarchy of a system. You need hardware to run the device, and software to give it intelligence. High level programming involves object oriented paradigms, including some interpreted languages as well. A good example of this would be C#.NET, C++, Ruby, etc. In terms of robotics and AI, the computer science people develop the algorithms and logical functionality, while the engineers would create a means for the hardware to act upon the software.

 I work in the steel industry as a process control engineer. I program and trouble shoot the automation on our manufacturing lines as well as wite HMIs for the operators to use. I mainly use Linux (Red Hat), VMS (DCL scripting), and Windows 7 for daily, rudamentary tasks. As far as languages go: C++, C#.NET, VB6.NET, VB, Fortran, VBScript, ba$h script w/ reg. expressions, java6, Citect SCADA pkg 7.2 SP 3, Python, jQuery, HTML, CSS, SQL….pretty much a huge chunk of the top players in programming languages.

 On a personal and casual note, I am a HUGE fan of music, particularly on the heavy side of things. I have two bands, Steel City Firm (hardcore/thrash) and Sidle Oak (“druid metal” i.e. dark acoustic, minor keys, clean vox, keys, and some distortion for effect). I also am a fan of fantasy and sci-fi. I paint, ink, and write poetry when the mood strikes me. I collect tattoos and have a critical caffeine addiction accompanied by Type 2 Diabeetus.


 Jason T Swinchock: Panelist


 Jason Swinchock is an Operations Manager for a metal manufacturing company and is also the CEO of his own media production company, E-Nertia Global Entertainment. He has been writing short stories for 15 years and has been producing films and videos for the last 6 years.


 Jason graduated, with honors, in 2002 from California University of Pennsylvania and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. During his time in college Jason specialized in writing computer programs dealing with statistics, probabilities and artificial intelligent problem-solving.


 In 2010, one of his short films, “Her Choices,” finished #11 in the world out of 50 finalists in the International Armchair Film Festival. In 2011, his 3rd short film, A Chemical Skyline, became a best-seller on in the monster horror category for 6 weeks in a row.


 Jason’s dream is to one day be able to work with a movie budget big enough for him to write and direct a science fiction “epic film,” in which its current pitch is “2001: Space Odyssey” meets “Saving Private Ryan.”


 Jason lives in Washington, PA with his wife, Laura.







 Christine M. Soltis: Panelist/Arranger/Moderator


 Christine M. Soltis’ deepest passion is in fiction writing and has been for the past ten years. She has written 20 books, including several non-fiction international co-creations. Many of her novels can be accessed via In addition, she is co-writer on various film scripts and does freelance writing, including scientific topics.


 She has contributed articles to various magazines including The Globe, The Front Weekly, Verdure Magazine, The Yahoo Network,,, Ravenous Monster and WIP Arts. In 2011, she was an exhibitor at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.


 In addition to her writing, she made her acting debut in A Chemical Skyline, which was an Amazon best-seller for monster horror. In 2012, she lived in Los Angeles, California and was able to take part in a 15 minute, nationally syndicated courtroom drama that aired on Fox and the CW network, among others.


 For her first degree, she attended Point Park College for Broadcasting and worked in newsradio for a decade. Christine has completed her Masters of Science in Environmental Studies, which has heightened her appreciation for Earth and science.


 Besides releasing books, Christine has begun a journalistic/arts “webisode” via SolsticeNightSky Productions, which features panels, science, travel, artists and events in the local area. These episodes can be found on YouTube at


 Christine now works in the field of private investigations. Her additional interests include travel, time travel, futuristic societies and countless other items.




 Tim Gross: Moderator


 Tim is a rare breed of horror movie fan in the same spirit of Chilly Billy, Joe Bob Briggs, and Rhonda Shear that makes you want to see or should I say experience bad horror films. But Tim and his trusty Yuengling beer in hand has a knack for spewing out random information about Full Moon films that Charles Band doesn’t even know, condensing the most absurd sequels to horror films into a paragraph, and points out some very hidden gems of horror films that many do not know about.


 His writings of movie reviews, good or bad, has found him respect among many independent filmmakers as he takes the time to watch anything sent his way from Jon McBride to Fred Vogel to a random never heard of filmmaker in Finland recently.


 Between his ramblings, he has also found himself in several independent film features as an extra to a few speaking roles that has eventually led him to directing a short film and co-directing a feature in the past 12 months. And all this in the search of free beer and free horror movies in hopes of willing a new Leprechaun sequel or starring in the next Puppet Master flick or just living the dream of watching, making, and being a part of fun horror films!

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