What does it mean to be human? What are the boundary conditions? And when do those boundaries need to be patrolled with a sharpened stake?
The expansion of wearable technology, augmented reality, and mobile devices that connect us (and track us) constantly and globally means that the boundaries between humans and our technology are blurred more than ever. Speculative fiction like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which frequently explores the boundary between human and non-human, provides an interesting vantage point for considering our relationship with technology and how it shapes our identities.
Join technologists and Buffy aficionados Bridget Kromhout and Astrid Atkinson and Dawn Gilpin, a theorist of media and identity and a fellow Buffy devotee, for a conversation about identity, technology, and how fantasy and storytelling can help us understand who we are and where we’re going.
The event will feature a free dinner, a screening of the season 5 episode “Intervention,” featuring the “Buffybot,” a robotic replica of the series’ protagonist, and a conversation and Q+A.
Bridget Kromhout is a tech operations engineer at DramaFever who moonlights as a amateur writer and editor. She likes finicky wide-column data stores, stats-driven monitoring, formal grammars, bicycle-powered camping, and butchering pumpkins for home canning. In her spare time she organizes and speaks at conferences (mostly in tech but occasionally in fandom). She’s been present in Buffyverse fandom (and occasionally active) since 2003.
Astrid Atkinson is a senior engineering manager at Google, where she builds massively distributed infrastructure for the Cloud. She’s active in women in leadership and women in engineering forums, and in her spare time she likes to drive terrible race cars, watch TV, and talk about it.
Dawn Gilpin is an associate professor of public relations and social media at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her research explores crisis, issues, community, and identity. She cut her teeth on media analysis in Buffy fandom, which is also where she also learned to negotiate those complex, volatile social systems she was studying. She named her cat after a Buffyverse character, enjoys motorcycles and theatre and travel, defies her accident-prone nature by dancing and running on mountain trails, and in her spare time is plotting world domination. (Luckily for the world, she doesn’t really have any spare time.)
Need help finding the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication? Visit this page for photos and a map.