Technology as threat or possibility: Navigating our future with the innovations we love and fear

A conversation with reporter and Ray Bradbury biographer Sam Weller and Boston Globe technology reporter and columnist Hiawatha Bray. Reservations recommended as space is limited.

What should we fear most of all: technology, censorship or fear itself?

Two reporters share their view on our varied response to technology and its effects. They discuss ways  to navigate a future with technology, drawing on insights from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 as understood by Bradbury’s official biographer Sam Weller and from Bray’s You are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves, a modern history of navigation. They explore questions about how to temper enthusiasm for new technology as tools for efficient living with healthy concern for the effects on society and potential misuses. What role do artists play in sounding the warning or making us aware about risks? What information do we all need and how do we build up our capacity to make sound decisions about what to control or not control?

About the speakers

Hiawatha Bray is a technology reporter and columnist for the Boston Globe. He has contributed to a number of newspapers and magazines including Wired, Fast Company and Black Enterprise, and received an Overseas Press Club award for his series on the Internet in Africa. He is also the author of You Are Here:  From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves.  He is in the beginning stages of writing a novel about a journalist who stumbles into a deadly global cyber-conspiracy and relies on a secret cabal of African-American churchmen who’ve been quietly rewriting history for the past 150 years to help prevent a worldwide catastrophe.

Sam Weller is a reporter and correspondent who has worked for Publishers Weekly magazine, The Paris Review, All things Considered, Slate Magazine, The Huffington Post and National Public Radio. Weller is also the official biographer of Ray Bradbury, an American fantasy and horror author best known for his novel Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian study of future American society in which critical thought and books are outlawed. Weller’s book, The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury (William Morrow) was a national bestseller and winner of the 2005 Society of Midland Authors Award for Best Biography. The companion book, Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews, was published by Melville House/Stop Smiling Books in 2010. Weller is a two time winner of the Bram Stoker award and an Associate Professor in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College, Chicago.