I am delighted to be an organizer of the upcoming Humanity+ conference. It has been a whirlwind experience and a marvelous way to learn more about what others are writing about on the emerging and speculative technologies, advances and discoveries in science, products and applications of design, ethics and human rights of the humanities, and the visual language of the arts—all of which are deeply present in the transhumanist culture. Some of the issues the conference explores are: How do we write the narratives for the timeframe in which we live? How do we balance between spectacle and a reasonable portrayal of facts? How do we flavor our ideas with enough enticement without inflation? When is a work of art original, or are all ideas open to interpretation? How is technology changing communication and is the sentence obsolete?
Why be there?
Humanity+ is known for its conferences, and we could not let 2012 go by without one. We jumped the hurdles, put our jetpacks on and want to bring you – our members and friends something special to remember. Why be there? Because you can connect with well-known leaders and emerging talent to help you expand your own network; learn what others are writing and how they are writing it, and deliver insightful strategies for bridging gaps and for carving new openings. We welcome long-time transhumanists (and H+ers) to join us in this jam-packed schedule of fun, intrigue, discussion and debate.
There are a The scope of talks are presented through the lens of writing, a timely theme that embraces the challenges of writing about emerging and speculative technologies and the countless issues we face in working on books, essays, academic papers, blogs, film scripts, games and apps, and the list goes on. Writing about the future may seem like a broad concept, but isn’t everything a form of writing? Most of the knowledge-base of the H+ culture is located in traditional books and articles. But in the digital age, words flash in and out of existence through blogs, emails, and tweets. Connectively, these words form strings of thought that are open for interpretation, which often reflects back on how they are written (and with what latest tool) rather than how they form knowledge. It may or may not be a good thing, but it opens an opportunity for discussion and so we come full circle to the intent of this conference.
There are too many fascinating speakers to cover, but I’d like to point out just a few for brevity’s sake:
(Written works by Robinson, Newitz, More, Brin and Arrison)
Stanly Robinson's talk on “Science as a Utopian Project” will be a unique mix of science fiction and a pragmatic approach in shaping better futures. Annalee Newitz turns our minds to “Slow Futures: Using History to Write About Tomorrow”. Max More selects the current and controversial topic “Achieving the Brain’s Writing: Cryo or Chemo?”; David Brin will bring us up-to-date on “The rise of Science-Renunciation: can we push ahead when change terrifies half our fellow citizens?”; Jamais Cascio will awe us with his talk on “Bad Futurism” and Sonia Arrison covers the topic of how to popularize transhumanism. To learn more, take a look at the conference website’s speakers page and their abstracts.
We decided to hold this conference at San Francisco State University’s Seven Hills Conference Center. The conference takes place over the span of two days at Seven Hills Conference Center at SFSU, located between Font Boulevard and State Drive at SFSU. You can’t miss Seven Hills if you look for the purple awning. It is a small building next to the Towers and The Village Centennial Square. We have several maps on the conference website for your convenience.
Our Saturday evening H++ conference venue is Langton Labs in the SoM District (South of Mission District) of San Francisco. There are nine sessions on the topic of writing, with two panels, and short breaks to give everyone a chance to connect.
Saturday morning we meet at Seven Hills Conference Center, starting at 8:30, with coffee setup at 8:00. The morning’s sessions cover science fiction, science fact and academic writing. After lunch we continue with sessions on news & futures, write to connect, and mass media & rights. The day is extended to Langton Labs at 7:30 to provide an amazing line-up of speakers for the evening session covering writing futures. This H++ event includes no-host drinks and food. Sunday, the conference continues at Seven Hills at 9:00AM, with coffee setup at 8:30. Morning Session covers writing tech and after lunch we continue with sessions on words & images, popularizing H+, and narratives & data.
Get the Conference Program here.
What to expect at Humanity+ @ San Francisco?
Conference co-organizer Adam Ford says: “Because some of the most innovative technologies have a difficult time finding support from investors and adequate attention from popular media, there is an information gap between life-changing technology and those with the power to fund it. Radical technologies; how they work and the problems they address are often so complex that investors are hesitant to support something they can’t readily understand.” This is one area we hope the conference addresses.
Speaker Christine Peterson says: “"The H+ conference is a meeting place for those who are future-oriented, pro-technology, energetic, and optimistic. If this describes you, this event is a must. Just read through the speakers' bios and ask yourself, do I want to be in a room full of hundreds of people who share these goals and are actively working to bring them to reality? What could those contacts do for my career, my social circle, my outlook, my entire future? It will be a great experience and I hope to see you there!"
Some more helpful links!
Sign up for the Humanity+ newsletter:
Joining Humanity+ as a Full, Plus or Sponsor Member enables you to participate in Humanity+ governance and decision-making - an important role in the growing Transhumanist movement. It also, of course, gives you the opportunity to support us in the work Humanity+ does!