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The Spawn of Frankenstein

February 2, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017
3:00 PM – 5:40 PM EST
740 15th Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005

No work of literature has done more to shape the way people think about science and its moral consequences than Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein. Today, almost two centuries after the novel’s publication, advances in artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, robotics, and many other fields demonstrate the enduring salience of Frankenstein‘s themes.
Why are we still talking about Frankenstein? And what do we still have to learn from Victor Frankenstein and his creature, at a time when our scientific and technological capabilities make the novel’s premise of creating life in the lab more plausible than ever?

Join us on Thursday, February 2, in Washington, D.C., to discuss the legacy of Shelley’s Frankenstein and how the novel continues to influence the way that we confront emerging technologies, understand the complex relationships between creators and their creations, and weigh the benefits of innovation with its unforeseen pitfalls.


3:00 pm It’s Alive:
Ed Finn
Director, Center for Science and the Imagination, Arizona State University

3:10 Playing God:
Nancy Kress
Science Fiction Writer

Josephine Johnston
Director of Research and Research Scholar, The Hastings Center

Patric M. Verrone
Writer and producer, Futurama


Ed Finn
Director, Center for Science and the Imagination, Arizona State University

4:00 pm Unintended Consequences:
Samuel Arbesman
Scientist in Residence, Lux Capital
Author, Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension

Susan Tyler Hitchcock
Senior Editor of Books, National Geographic Society
Author, Frankenstein: A Cultural History


Joey Eschrich
Editor and Program Manager, Center for Science and the Imagination, Arizona State University

4:50 Fear of the Unknown:
Charlotte Gordon
Author, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley
Distinguished Professor of Humanities, Endicott College

David Guston
Founding Director and Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University

Annalee Newitz
Tech Culture Editor, Ars Technica


Bina Venkataraman
Carnegie Fellow, New America
Director of Global Policy Initiatives, Broad Institute, MIT & Harvard

5:40 Happy Hour


February 2, 2017
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New America
740 15th Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC, 20005 United States
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