Ars Technica is pleased to announce its inaugural single-day Frontiers conference, to be held this May 12 in Washington, DC. The conference will explore the interconnectedness of innovation in today’s most pressing matters. As we do so, we will be exploring one key question: Can we still drive explosive growth in these fields while prioritizing ethical technology and sustainability?
We’re trying something a little different here but with the Ars ethos in mind: Conversation emboldens innovation. Readers who stop by the front page every day already know that Ars Technica is the web’s premier destination for smart talk about the intersection of science, technology, policy, climate, and culture. We’re excited to bring this approach to you in a venue and format that will both entertain and elucidate. At Ars Frontiers, our editors will interact with real-world experts who span several interconnected topics and offer real-life networking opportunities. While this will be an invite-only event, several of the sessions will be livestreamed on Twitter. More details on how to request an invite to join us in person can be found at the end of this announcement.
Let’s talk about who’s coming and what they’re going to talk about.
The road to Ars Frontiers
The week of the event, we’ll be kicking things off with a series of virtual streaming chats that take place from May 9 through May 11. These streams will be free for anyone to watch online, and we’ll be sure to promote them here and on social media as they approach. Stay tuned!
The main event
Our in-person conference will take place in Washington, DC, on Thursday, May 12, and will feature a series of panel discussions moderated by Ars Technica editors. Each panel will bring together a set of recognized industry experts to discuss a topic in a fireside chat or panel-style format, and audience participation will be encouraged.
Cryptography and privacy
We’ll have two different infosec-focused panels, both moderated by Ars security editor emeritus Sean Gallagher. The first will be on cryptography and privacy and how to deal with the first while being mindful of the second. This panel will feature security researcher Runa Sandvik, with more names soon to be announced, and will discuss the ways in which technology keeps our information safe—and how it also makes us vulnerable.
Security and cyberwarfare
Our second infosec panel, also moderated by Gallagher, will flip the point of view around from personal security and privacy and look at the large-scale doings of nation-states—and how those nation-states might attack each other in future wars. We’ve already gotten a taste of future cyberwarfare in the last few years, and things are only going to get more hairy from here. This panel of industry experts will include Wendy Nather, Vineetha Paruchuri, and Liz Wharton.
Ars Senior Writer Jennifer Ouellette will chair our climate panel. Set against a somewhat precarious backdrop, Ouellette will chat with climatologist Michael Mann and Ars Senior Science Editor Dr. John Timmer about the world that we’re making for ourselves and what state we’re going to leave it in for the next generation. We know the rough outlines of how to handle climate change: lower emissions and increase efficiency—and our panel will discuss some of the difficult details of that transition.
One of the biggest challenges will be the speed with which we need to act to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But that speed will need to be balanced against our ability to ensure that efficient and renewable tech is built sustainably and that its benefits spread to the underprivileged and those in developing economies.
Commercial space and orbital debris
Ars Senior Space Editor Eric Berger will sit down with former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver to discuss NASA’s role in not just exploring space, but also protecting Earth. In public surveys, studying our changing planet consistently ranks among Americans’ top priorities for NASA, and the agency spends more than $2 billion annually on Earth science. This scientific enterprise seeks to pinpoint changes to the planet’s climate and surface to better inform policymakers. In recent years, the rise of commercial space companies has greatly augmented the remote sensing work done by NASA.
During a panel discussion with experts, Berger will discuss protecting low Earth orbit from space debris. This problem has become increasingly acute with the combination of ever-increasing numbers of satellites and recent anti-satellite demonstration tests. Today, there is more debris, and more satellites than ever are seeking to avoid it in the precious space above the Earth’s atmosphere. This panel will discuss the problem of debris, the solutions that the US government can implement, and how there is an urgent need to work internationally to preserve this space commons.
Hope to see you there
It’s going to be a programming-packed afternoon, and attendance space is limited. In light of COVID, in-person attendance will be limited to 150 people, which affords us a fairly intimate affair. (COVID restrictions will be in effect.) If you’re interested in attending and would like to request an invitation, please fill out the form below. We’ll reach out to as many folks on the list as possible with invites.
Listing image by Aurich Lawson