Event Type



Virtual Access

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

5:30 pm EST

Future Meat

Congressional On-Site Viewing (Virtual), 5:30 pm EST View Replay

What does the future hold for carnivorous foodways as factory farming becomes less and less sustainable and more socially unpopular? Is the future cloned meat, vat steaks, cricket burgers, or fungus-based “chicken?” Are we growing past the need to refer to products as meat substitutes? Can we trust the companies which produce them? What are the ethical implications?

Type: Panel

Thursday, December 16, 2021

10:00 am EST

Changing Genes: Can We, Should We?

Blue Room, 10:00 am EST View Replay

CRISPR, the gene-editing tool, has made much greater precision potentially possible in editing the genes of bacteria, viruses, crops, animals, and humans. How far can an organism’s genome be changed? What are the possibilities, ethics, and outcomes of tinkering with genomes, including our own?

Type: Panel

11:30 am EST

AI in Fiction and Reality

Empire Ballroom, 11:30 am EST *

This panel will discuss the differences between fictional artificial intelligence and the real thing. How are the real dangers of AI different from the ones envisioned in fiction and popular media?

Type: Panel

1:00 pm EST

Logistics of Off-World Disasters

Harris (Virtual), 1:00 pm EST View Replay

Complex logistics are required to respond to mundane natural disasters. How could we handle a natural disaster occurring on another planet or in space? What additional political and diplomatic complications arise when working on an interplanetary scale?

Type: Panel

Friday, December 17, 2021

11:30 am EST

Holding Superheroes Accountable

Empire Ballroom, 11:30 am EST View Replay

For superheroes to feel heroic, we want them to fight evil while remaining above the moral fray. But in many comics and comic book films, superheroes cross moral lines. How do we ethically evaluate heroes who act immorally, like Batman torturing villains, Wanda holding an entire town hostage, or Wonder Woman sexually assaulting a mind-controlled bystander? How can we talk about these stories in a way that holds heroes accountable for their immoral actions?

Type: Panel

1:00 pm EST

Nobody Looks Like Themselves Anymore

Thomas (Virtual), 1:00 pm EST *

What are the cultural and social boons and banes that might come from a growing technological ability to change your physical appearance? What are the implications for identity? For fashion? How might governments, science fictional or otherwise, react to developments in body alterations and/or consciousness if less tied to a single physical form?  Will we all experience the benefits and banes equally?

Type: Panel

Saturday, December 18, 2021

When Does Evil Become Irredeemable?

Forum Room, 1:00 pm EST *

Any interesting, complex character will have positive and negative qualities. Is there a point when a character steps so far over the line into evil that they can never again be viewed sympathetically? If it exists, where do we draw the line? Does it move depending on how much we like a particular character?

Type: Panel

2:30 pm EST

Looking for the Fountain of Youth

Diplomat Ballroom, 2:30 pm EST View Replay

Speculative fiction stories often feature societies in which a healthy lifespan stretches over multiple centuries. What is the scientific plausibility of such lifespans or life-extending technologies? How is access to longevity likely to be distributed? What impact would artificially-extended lifespans have on culture and the environment?

Type: Panel

Sunday, December 19, 2021

10:00 am EST

Inspired or Copied? The Ethics of Art

Calvert Room, 10:00 am EST *

Unapproved use of licensed material, traced artwork, copied costume patterns, digital manipulation–there are so many ways for artists to cross the line into unethical behavior when using another artist’s work as source material. How do we distinguish between inspiration, homage, and borderline theft? If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, how should artists feel about seeing their work duplicated elsewhere?

Type: Panel
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