Recap: Science Fiction TV Dinner, Buffy

What happened

The Center for Science and the Imagination crew hosted a Science Fiction TV Dinner series event at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism centered around an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After Buffy’s mother dies, Buffy is questioning her identity as a vampire slayer and her ability to love. Buffy goes to a sacred location in the desert with Giles so that Giles can perform a ritual to recreate Buffy’s guide. Meanwhile, Spike receives a “Buffybot” robot double of Buffy. Her friends are unable to tell that this slightly quirky version of Buffy isn’t the real Buffy. This upsets the real Buffy that her friends could be fooled by a robot version.

After the screening of the episode, CSI’s graphic design strategist Nina Miller had a conversation with Bridget Kromhout, operations engineer at DramaFever; Astrid Atkinson, site reliability engineer at Google; and Dawn Gilpin, associate professor in ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.



  • “What we see here is that ‘identity’ is a social construct… Our identity is not just a set of descriptors, it’s how we interact with people.” –Dawn
  • “[Buffybot] does not have an understanding of what actually constitutes her make up. She doesn’t know that she’s a robot.” –Bridget
  • “Self-perception can really differ from reality.” –Astrid
  • “We have very little ability to draw the line between technology and what is actually human once our technology has human characteristics (for example, Siri).” –Astrid

You should come next time

The next event hosted by the Center for Science and the Imagination will be a Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future book launch event hosted in collaboration with Changing Hands Bookstore at the Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix on Wednesday 10/22 at 7pm. This event will include a discussion from several of the Hieroglyph authors followed by a book signing. Tickets are $27.99 + tax for one seat and one copy of Hieroglyph ($5 for one additional seat). Please purchase your ticket(s) to RSVP at Changing Hands Bookstore website.