Popular culture is full of tropes and cliches that shape our debates about emerging technologies. Our most transcendent expectations for technology come from pop culture, and the most common objections to emerging technologies come from science fiction and horror, from Frankenstein and Brave New World to Gattaca and the Terminator.Sounds pretty interesting - and some of the confirmed speakers should be familiar to science fiction fans:
Why is it that almost every person in fiction who wants to live a longer than normal life is evil or pays some terrible price? What does it say about attitudes towards posthuman possibilities when mutants in Heroes or the X-Men, or cyborgs in Battlestar Galactica or Iron Man, or vampires in True Blood or Twilight are depicted as capable of responsible citizenship?
Is Hollywood reflecting a transhuman turn in popular culture, helping us imagine a day when magical and muggle can live together in a peaceful Star Trek federation? Will the merging of pop culture, social networking and virtual reality into a heightened augmented reality encourage us all to make our lives a form of participative fiction?During this day long seminar we will engage with culture critics, artists, writers, and filmmakers to explore the biopolitics that are implicit in depictions of emerging technology in literature, film and television.
- David Brin, described as a "scientist, best-selling author, popular commentator on modern technological and political trends". I know him best for his "Uplift" novels.
- Richard Kadrey, novelist and tech writer. "Carbon Copy" his 1998 short tale of the first human clone went from the pages of Wired to form the basis of what Kadrey calls "one of the worst movies of 2001"
- Annalee Newitz, lead editor of io9 and freelance writer.
- Brian Cross, co-creator of Eclipse Phase, a post-apocalyptic transhuman conspiracy RPG.
- Jess Nevins, a reference librarian at UC Riverside who is well known for annotating comics (hopefully rescued from Geocities). He's the author of The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana and has a special interest in stempunk.
- PJ Manney, writer for fantasy series Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess, and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Humanity+. Humanity+ Executive Director Alex Lightman will also be participating.
- RJ Eskow, who writes about and (consults on) technology, health care and public policy. He blogs at the Huffington Post.
- And of course a number of IEET-associated individuals will be participating, including Natasha Vita-More "pioneer of transhumanist aethetics", writer Jamais Casicio, and J. Hughs, author of Citizen Cyborg.
The seminar will be held on Friday, December 4th in Irvine, California. Click for details. If you register before November 15th, the cost is only $99 - $60 for students.
Saturday and Sunday, December 5th and 6th, the Humanity+ Summit will be held at the same location.
Tags:science fiction, biopolitics, movies