IMG_1465 Remembering The Future panel
Sigrid Close (a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University and ArmadilloCon 2014 science Guest of Honor), Patrice Sarath (SF/F author), Ada Palmer (historian and SF/F author), and Ted Chiang (SF/F author) at the Remembering The Future panel panel. The panel explored the question, is time real or an illusion?
Two people in it, Sigrid Close and Ted Chiang, came from science backgrounds, whereas the other two panelists had liberal arts backgrounds. In my opinion, the whole panel illustrated a miscommunication between science in humanities regarding whether a metaphor could be considered "real".
In addition to panels, as a writer special guest Ted Chiang was on some solo programming items at the ArmadilloCon. One of them was an interview by Jayme Lynn Blaschke.
Here are some topics they talked about: linguistics, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and "The Story of Your Life", the possibility of it being turned into the movie -- this was 2 years before the story got turned into the movie "Arrival"; is Ted Chiang's fiction influenced by the environment; writing the ending first, his story length, and whether he is going to expand "Liking What You See" into a longer story; does he ever plan to write a novel; the first stories he wrote as a teen; who were his influences; and what appeal does he find in discredited scientific theories, such as preformation (on which his story "72 Letters" is based).
You can read the whole Ted Chiang interview here.
Ted Chiang also did a reading at the ArmadilloCon, but in lieu of his fiction, he read his essay on lifelogging, and engaged in a discussion with the audience about it.
Lifelogging is an emerging trend of recording every, or nearly every moment of your life. A simple example of lifelogging would be wearing a video recorder that would record continuous video and audio of everything you see and do. Ted Chiang used this example to speculate about how lifelogging would change our society. At the end he answered the audience's questions and discussed some points, such as: would lifelogging encourage us to craft our lives as stories, and thus become better people? Doesn't forgetting play a big role in getting over a trauma? Doesn't forgetting go a long way towards forgiving? What if your memories are hacked? Who has control over shared memories?
Read Ted Chiang's entire (condensed) speech on lifelogging and the discussion with the audience here.