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Hangout On Air: Transhumanists discuss Dan Brown's 'Inferno'

  • Jun 30, 2013 · 8:00 PM
  • This location is no longer available

'Inferno' is the latest of a series of page-turning novels by best-selling author Dan Brown.

Without revealing any spoilers, it can be said that characters in Inferno discuss themes that are of deep concern to many futurists. These include the drawbacks of exponential growth, environmental stress, the potential emergence of post-humans, and the philosophy of transhumanism.

Previous books by Dan Brown have drawn sharp criticism from people in organisations such as the Catholic Church and the Freemasons, who have asserted that he rides roughshod over historical fact.

Should supporters of transhumanism be worried about the treatment of this philosophy in his new book? The question is especially pertinent, since 'Inferno' is likely to provide many millions of readers with their first exposure to transhumanism.

This "London Futurist Hangout on Air" will feature a live discussion between several leading writers about transhumanism, who have read 'Inferno' and who have interesting opinions about the book. The discussion will be broadcast live on YouTube, as a Google Hangout combination of different video feeds. Selected comments posted on the YouTube channel will be answered in real time.

This discussion will provide viewers with many talking points they may want to introduce in their own discussions with friends and acquaintances, whenever the topic of 'Inferno' is raised.

About the participants:

Giulio Prisco is a writer, technology expert, futurist, cosmist, and transhumanist. A former manager in European science and technology centers, he writes and speaks on a wide range of topics, including science, information technology, emerging technologies, virtual worlds, space exploration and future studies. He is especially interested in the convergence of science, religion, technology, and spirituality. Giulio will be participating in the Hangout from Budapest.

For more details of Giulio's ideas and projects, see http://turingchurch.com/giulio-prisco/.

Peter Rothman is the editor of the H+ Magazine, http://hplusmagazine.com/, which describes itself as "covering technological, scientific, and cultural trends that are changing - and will change - human beings in fundamental ways". Peter will be participating in the Hangout from California.

Peter is an engineer and software developer with over two decades of experience. He was an early developer of virtual reality and simulation technology, streaming media, data visualization, and other systems and won an award for his research for the US Army. He currently develops machine learning, text analysis, and data visualization software. He uses a prototype code base called CLIO to find articles for H+. His best known recent project was the award winning iPad app StockTouch on which he consulted during the initial product development.

Previously Peter was CTO of streaming radio provider Live365.com and director of R&D at MetaTools a well known graphics software developer in the 1990s. He developed software currently operational in two military aircraft, designed an early neural computer for DARPA, and more.

David Orban is an entrepreneur and visionary, and is the CEO of Dotsub, the leading technology and services provider powering video viewing via captions and translations as subtitles in any language to increase access, engagement and global reach, based in New York City.

David is also a member of the Faculty of, and Advisor to the Singularity University, an interdisciplinary university whose mission is to assemble, educate and inspire leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity’s grand challenges.

For more details of David's ideas and projects, see http://www.davidorban.com/about/.

The meeting will be chaired by David Wood, who has 25 years of experience in the mobile computing and smartphone industries. David has been organising meetings in London since March 2008, covering futurist, technoprogressive, transhumanist, and singularitarian themes. David will be participating in the Hangout from London.

Other participants may be announced nearer the time.

Event logistics:

This event will take place between 8pm and 9pm UK time on Sunday 30th June.  Check this Meetup.com location at the time the event is due to start, to find the URL of the YouTube stream that will be carrying the conversation.

There is no charge to participate in this discussion.

Note: there is no physical location for this meetup (despite the address given above - in compliance with something that the Meetup software seems to insist upon).

No Spoilers please - until the Hangout starts:

To avoid spoiling the reading pleasure of people who would like to read 'Inferno' for themselves, please do NOT post any comments in advance of the Hangout that reveal any further details of the plot.

However, anyone who attends the Hangout should be aware that all aspects of the plot are open for discussion at that time.

Join or login to comment.

  • Mala Mukherjee S.

    Hi, it's 2140 CET now and I can't find the URL to join the Meetup...

    June 30, 2013

  • Khannea S.

    It is now 2000 GMT, 2100 CET.

    June 30, 2013

  • David W.

    The Hangout can be viewed at http://youtu.be/801_8qzfx0M

    June 30, 2013

  • Kirsten Zverina (nee A.

    Very sadly can't make it tonight - is there a replay afterwards?

    June 30, 2013

    • David W.

      Yes, the replay will remain available accessible after the event - though if you want your questions to influence our discussion, you need to comment in real time as the recording is taking place

      June 30, 2013

    • Kirsten Zverina (nee A.

      Thank u David

      June 30, 2013

  • Khannea S.

    I'll try and attend. The theme of the story strongly resonates in me, and well, I have been called a transhumanist as well.

    June 30, 2013

  • Clyde D.

    I'm currently leading an expat life in Dubai. Will be around 11:00 pm here, so hopefully should be able to join in. Looking forward to hearing insights from the gathering of informed panelists!

    June 30, 2013

  • Roland S.

    I am trying to attend. Where do I find the ULR that is to be published right now?

    1 · June 30, 2013

    • David W.

      Hi Roland, The meeting is happening 8pm today, not 8am. Sorry for any confusion!

      June 30, 2013

    • Roland S.

      Thanks for letting me know. I noticed the "pm" only after I had written the message.

      June 30, 2013

  • Brian From C.

    10am in toronto sounds like a great way to get ready for my return from virtual to uk physical! (I'm relieved as 1500 est sees me at yyz where bandwith is an unknown... #toptip: for hoa, knowa ur bandwidth!

    June 26, 2013

  • Yanna B.

    Hello Everyone! Check out this blog post, it includes a great short interview with Dan Brown about Inferno commissioned by Channel 4:

    http://blogs.channel4.com/cultu...

    June 26, 2013

    • David W.

      Thanks Yanna - Agreed, it's a good interview. In case anyone's having difficulty clicking on it, try this link: http://blogs.channel4...­

      1 · June 26, 2013

    • Kiran M.

      It rather depends on your assumptions and utopian ones, seldom lend themselves to plot development or dramatic effect. This article questions some of those issues : http://nextbigfuture....­

      June 28, 2013

  • Kiran M.

    Yes, I finished watching Orphan Black a dramatic series, commissioned by BBC America, there is a Futurist / Transhuman theme in it, I recommend it if you get the chance.

    1 · June 28, 2013

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