Barely a week until Worldcon 76 in San Jose California!
I’m on a bunch of programming, so there are lots of ways & places you can come watch me shoot my mouth off – whether on my own as a writer and neuroscientist, or as a member of the Hugo-finalist Escape Pod team!
Ethical Responsibilities to Alien Life
Friday 8/17, 3-4pm, 210B
Benjamin C. Kinney (M), Gonzalo Munevar, Guy Consolmagno, Eric Schwitzgebel, Ina Roy-Faderman
Extraterrestrial life could be anything from microbes to “advanced” intelligence. How would different forms of life fit into our ethical systems? What responsibilities – or opportunities – do we have when encountering the alien?
Escape Pod – Live at Worldcon
Saturday 8/18, 10-11:30am, 210DH
Alasdair Stuart (M), SB Divya, Marguerite Kenner, Benjamin C. Kinney, Norm Sherman, Setsu Uzume, Mur Lafferty
Come watch us do a live recording of Escape Pod! We’re still brewing up our nefarious/amazing spaceplans, but I promise you a showcase of Escape Pod’s talent from top to bottom.
Alien Minds: What is Possible, and What Can We Do with Them?
Saturday 8/18, 2-3pm, 210A
Benjamin C. Kinney (M), Eric Schwitzgebel, Gonzalo Munevar, Ina Roy-Faderman, SL Huang
Given the different paths that evolution can take, there is no reason to think that extraterrestrial intelligence would look or work like ours. Human intelligence is thought to have developed from evolutionary pressures around deception and detecting deception in troupes of primate. How different would intelligence be if it evolved from other ecological niches? Are there universal constants that define or constrain the nature of intelligence? Can we communicate with something truly alien?
Judaism and the Roots of Science Fiction
Sunday 8/19, 3-4pm, 210A
Rani Graff (M), Benjamin C. Kinney, Moshe Feder, Navah Wolfe, Elana Gomel
The Hugos are named after Jewish inventor Hugo Gernsback, who coined the term “science fiction” and Judiasm has had a big influence on the genre before and since. Jewish stories frequently explore diaspora, almost featuring it as a character or trait with space being the natural extension of that idea in everything from Star Trek to Space Balls. The ultimate displacement, if you will, but this time deliberately, purposefully, to seek out new life, etc. How does diaspora shape fiction? What is the state of Israeli SFF compared to Jewish SFF in the US?