Between Science and Science Fiction

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Do robots have legal rights? Do cyborgs dream about virtual sheep? Between Science and Science Fiction, a weekly lecture series organized by Uri Aviv, ICON Festival director, will examine these topics and beyond from April to June at the Hemda Centre for Science Education in Tel Aviv.

The opening lecture will be presented on Tuesday, April 6 at 19:00 by Dr. Aharon Hauptman: Between Science and Science Fiction – the reciprocal inspiration between science fiction writers and scientists. Dr. Hauptman will discuss scientific research and technological advances that have inspired fiction, and science fiction that has influenced scientific thought. Dr. Hauptman is a senior researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center for Technology Analysis and Forecasting at Tel Aviv University, former editor of “Fantasy 2000” and was one of the founders of the Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Exploring the relationship of science fiction to contemporary science and technology, the series will include:

13.4.10 Bio-Cybernetics: Do Cyborgs Dream of Virtual Sheep? – the disappearing border between humans and machines. Since the dawn of history humans have created machines to fulfill their needs and desires. The lecture will discuss new machines that integrate with the body and brain in a variety of ways and show how they can lead to the creation of a better worlds…real or imaginary. Lecturer: Roey Tzezana, doctoral researcher in nano-technology and tissue engineering at the Technion, and science writer in Galileo, Hayadan, Blazer and other journals.

27.4.10 Law and Artificial Intelligence – do robots have legal rights and responsibilities? Technology challenges the legal system. The development of transportation created a need for changes in the law, then flight, the internet and more recently cloning. The lecture will survey the theoretical issue of the rights to identity evoked by the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and will deal with the ethical problems and legal implications of the law with regard to AI. Lecturer: Jonathan Klinger, Adv., is a Cyberlaw attorney and consults high-tech companies, internet sites and start-ups.

4.5.10 Revolutions in Science and Science Fiction as an Outcome of Thought Experiments. Thoughts of “What would happen if?” are essential to scientific research, and form the foundation of speculative writing. Similarities and differences between scientific thought experiments and speculative thought in the creation of science fiction will be discussed. Lecturer: Dr. Arieh Varm, lecturer on Philosophy of Science, author of “Rationality and Progress in Science”.

11.5.10 Nanotechnology: From Dream to Reality and Back. The talk will examine the science fiction origins of nanotechnology; the current state of this area of research, and dreams for the future. Lecturer: Dr. Aharon Hauptman

25.5.10 Where is the Flying Car and What Happened to the Laser Gun? – energy, transportation and weapons in the future. A survey of the future world of energy, transportation and weapons – the one predicted by science fiction as opposed to that which is presented by scientists and engineers. The talk will focus on the problems confronting researchers in these fields today (production, transfer and storage of energy, miniaturization and reusable waste), the challenges in realizing fantasies and developments on the cutting edge of science and technology that will be found in every home in the near or distant future and how they compare to the wonders of science fiction. Lecturer: Moty Friedman, doctoral researcher in Physics on lasers and holograms at the Weizmann Institute.

1.6.10 Escaping Earth – on space elevators, space stations on the moon, colonizing Mars and space travel. Dwindling resources will force us to aspire to the stars. How the vision of science fiction is reflected in current space programs, and how has it influenced them? When will we see space stations on the moon, colonization of Mars or the famous space elevator? Lecturer: Yoav Landesman, satellite engineer in the Israeli space industry.

8.6.10 Predictions of War – science fiction and future wars. Lecturer: Dr. Ilana Gomel, senior lecturer in English and American Studies, Tel Aviv University

The lectures will take place at Hemda, 7 Hapardes Street, Tel Aviv, on Tuesdays, from 19:00 – 21:00. The course is open to the public and the cost of participation is 480 NIS, with a 10% discount for soldiers and senior citizens. It is also possible to register for a single lecture. To register by phone: 03-5210802, Sunday – Thursday between 15:00 and 19:00, via email: culture@hemda.org.il

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