Science fiction becomes science fact during Future in Review
What: Future in Review conference
When: Tuesday, Oct. 9, through Friday, Oct. 12,
Where: Stein Eriksen Lodge, 7700 Stein Way
Soon, science fiction could take a step closer to science fact in Park City.
TFuture in Review (FiRe), a global conference on the intersection of the economy and technology, is set to take place from Tuesday to Friday at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, said conference founder and director Sharon Anderson Morris.
Topics covered at the event include global economy, cloud computing, biology and medical diagnostics, policy, netbooks, space travel, sustainability, and other fields that contribute to technology outcomes, she said.
“At FiRe we convene and talk about what’s happened with technology developments in the past year, and work on new initiatives, and meet the next year and talk about the results,” Anderson Morris said. “Our goal is to change the world with these technology leaders and their people.”
Past FiRe Conferences have included presentations by Elon Musk, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen and Dell chair Michael Dell.
This year some of the presenters have Utah ties, Anderson Morris said, boasting a list of locally sourced speakers including Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Huntsman Cancer Institute CEO Mary Beckerle and KPCW radio host John Wells. Park City Mayor Jack Thomas has been invited as well.
The panels will address a range of topics including artificial intelligence, moon colonization and how humans can adapt to climate change, Anderson Morris said.
Other topics will include new developments in space exploration — like asteroid mining —, as well as gene editing and medicine, drones and air taxis, the future of online privacy and monitoring Earth’s energy systems.
“One of our panelists and presenters will be Dennis Bushnell, a chief scientist from NASA,” she said. “He will open our event and speak about new technologies that not only are in space, but also in our oceans.”
FiRe will also feature a screening of filmmaker James Balog’s new documentary, “The Human Element.”
Balog, known for his award-winning climate change documentary “Chasing Ice,” is a personal friend of Anderson Morris.
“When we think about the elements of nature, we talk about water, fire, air and things like that,” Anderson Morris said. “We don’t talk about the human element, and that’s the element that is changing our world. And that’s what this film is about.”
Balog will participate in a filmmakers’ panel that is set to include producer Bill Neal, writer and director Eliza McNitt and director James Redford, Anderson Morris said.Another highlight of FiRe is a CTO challenge, The challenge features 10 chief technology officers from various organizations, who will work together to come up with technological solutions to global issues.
“In the past (participants) have worked on how to prevent and detect forest fires and how we can use technology to extinguish them,” she said. “We then give those to the government.”
This year’s challenge focuses on human-animal communication.
The panel will feature Con Slobodchikoff, CEO of Zoolingua and a professor emeritus in the biology department of Northern Arizona University, Anderson Morris said.
Zoolingua is a startup that studies communication between animals.
“Con is the real Dr. Dolittle, and this year he’s working on a project that uses technology to communicate with dogs,” Anderson Morris said. “While many of us think we know our dogs, we really don’t. The technology will give a voice to dogs and translate exactly what the dog is saying to us through its wagging tail, ear movement and so forth.”
Anderson Morris is looking forward to this panel.
“My personal excitement about it all is that we will be able to communicate with intelligent animals — whales, dolphins, elephants and primates,” she said. “If humans can understand what these animals are saying, our world will change.”
This year marks FiRe’s 16th year in existence, and its fourth in Park City. Anderson Morris brought it to the Wasatch Back from Laguna Beach, California in 2015, and it will return to the Sunshine State next year.
“We wanted to make this year special for local residents, so we are giving them the opportunity to drop in for a day of their choice,” Anderson Morris said.
The special invitation codes for Utah residents are as follows: fire2018tuesday, fire2018wednesday, fire2018thursday and fire2018friday.
Residents can visit futureinreview.com and register using these codes to get their admission badges, Anderson Morris said.
“Everyone must register to attend, because this is a high-security event,” Anderson Morris said. “Because we want to make sure all who attend are well protected, they must have a security badge to enter. They can pick the badges up at the registration desk after they register.”
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