Miri is justifiably enthused about Skeptech, which has just announced their schedule. It’s full of cool stuff and lots of interesting people — you should go if you’re anywhere near the Twin Cities. It’s free on 5-7 April — I’ll be there the whole weekend.
But I have a sad admission. I’m on the schedule. Look at my name. Look at my topic. TBD. Oh, sure, I’m in good company: Maggie Koerth-Baker is also TBD. But I have to fix that, and I’m planning to do that this week, since I’m staying home for Spring Break. So help me out, people! What should I talk about?
I’m also working up my Seattle talk, which is slowly congealing. I’m going to talk about scientific and atheistic ethics there, and the message isn’t hopeful: I’m going to discuss our woeful failures, and suggest that morality ain’t gonna be found in a test tube. But there’ll also be some optimism for how broadening our foundations to encompass humanist values can compensate.
Now I could do that talk at Skeptech, too, which would simplify things. But I’ve also been considering some other possibilities. Let me bounce a few ideas around here, you can tell me what sucks and what sounds fun.
A realistic look at transhumanism. What biology and the evidence of evolutionary history says about it (with some swipes at that clueless hack, Kurzweil, but also some talk about the neglect of developmental ideas by most transhumanists.)
Science and the internet. What scientists really ought to do with blogs, social media, open source publishing — where we’re going wrong, where we’re falling down on the job, where we’re succeeding.
The coming apocalypse. It’s not likely to be a sudden catastrophe, and it will make a lousy movie. It will be death by a thousand little cuts…but that means a thousand little band-aids might be the best strategy for staving it off. (A related panel is already on the schedule.)
The biology century. The 19th century was all about chemistry; the 20th was physics. The 21st will see a surge of biological innovation. What will the equivalent of the atom bomb be? What will be our flying car?
Or something completely different.
As you can tell, I looked at the schedule and noticed a dearth of science talks so far (Jen McCreight is also TBD, maybe she’ll help fill the gap), so I’m leaning sciencey, sort of science-fictioney even. If you’re going, or even if you aren’t, tell me what you think would be interesting and relevant.