Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Robert J. Sawyer's LRC/TVO Big Ideas Talk: Humanity 2.0

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Robert J. Sawyer's LRC/TVO Big Ideas Talk: Humanity 2.0

This past Monday evening the Literary Review of Canada and TV Ontario's Big Ideas co-hosted a talk by author and futurist Robert J. Sawyer at the classy and aseptic Gardiner Museum.

Sawyer is both an author of highly praised science fiction literature, where he won both the Nebula and Hugo awards, and is also a notable thinker in the academic realm of futurism. Sawyer's talk was aptly futuristic: Humanity 2.0. Sawyer quipped during his free flowing yet well constructed address that they'd batted around several titles, and that the producers decided upon this one because, well, Sawyer likes to talk about what humanity will be, in essence, after humanity.

This changing paradigm surrounding what it is to be human, and specifically how we perceive consciousness and mortality was central to Sawyer's discussion. Much of what was said is not unfamiliar territory for ardent science fiction readers, and indeed many of the key ideas of a futurist such as Sawyer have now been brought to the mainstream with the growing popularity of the genre. The talk itself was inspired by the 100th birthday of groundbreaking thinker (and Torontonian) Marshall McLuhan. McLuhan's then radical ideas about the influence and role of technologies within a culture are now being taken one step further into the realm of their influence upon just what humanity will become.

The talk was recorded and will be aired on TVO's Big Ideas, and there are few ideas bigger than the notion of immortality and questioning just what it is to be human. Sawyer's take away message is that we will inevitably reach a tipping point where we will be able to live in some capacity, be it virtually if not physically, forever. He argues that in order to get to this place where we can develop said technologies to thwart the grasp of death we must first learn to follow the golden rule so that we can propel great ideas based on life and not death. A simple idea that Sawyer weaves eloquently in a one hour discussion that re-enforces how the future is not so far away, even in these trying times. Perhaps we best start planning for it sooner, rather than later.

To find out when Humanity 2.0 will air on Big Ideas, you can visit their website.

Follow Robert J. Sawyer on Twitter Humanity 2.0 will air on Big Ideas, you can visit their here.

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