Flavours of Penguicon
A little sampler of what the convention's panels are like
I'll be author Guest of Honour at Penguicon, April 30 to May 2, 2010. Penguicon is not a science fiction convention, though there's a lot of overlap among the attendees; it's an open source con, dedicated to all things linuxy and open. I hope this year to have the chance to talk about some of the research I did last year into open source biotech. Meanwhile, however, if you're wondering what the con is like, I've managed to dig up a couple of podcasts of panels I was on at the 2007 convention:
- Cutting-edge SF author Karl Schroeder joins Ron Hale-Evans, author of Mind Performance Hacks, and Dr. Jonathon Sullivan MD PhD in neurology, to consider "The brain is a computer, the mind is software." That's been the ruling metaphor of cognitive science, neurology and AI studies for decades. The software of thought is supposed to operate much like that of a computer, going from discrete state to discrete state. However a new study from Cornell shows that our thoughts change continuously; the brain works "in shades of grey". And there are good reasons to think that the mind is not an artifact of the brain alone, but is extended into the environment as well.
- Christine Peterson, Jason Ahlquist, Karl Schroeder, and Ron Hale-Evans discuss the term 'posthuman'. The term "posthuman" seems to indicate a lack of humans. This is not what is meant, but itâs really bad marketing, and scares people. Even transhumanism is not a very friendly term. Names are important; perhaps it needs a new name the same way Free Software came to be known as Open Source Software?
If you're curious about Penguicon, give these a try.