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November 2017

Sociable Solitude

November 18
9:00 am – 10:15 am
Image of man in cafe with laptop

Sociable solitude—whether we find it in being alone with a book, or alone in prayer, alone with our phones—is an ancient human experience and pervasive element of contemporary life. Amy Hungerford, literature professor and Dean of Humanities at Yale, explores the history, practice, and meaning of sociable solitude in the internet age. (Registration required.) Read More »

The Pace of Innovation and Other Drags on Future Economic Growth

November 18
10:35 am
Image of freeway cloverleaf

The debate about future U.S. economic growth has been framed as a conflict between techno-optimists and techno-pessimists. But there are other powerful forces in addition to the pace of innovation that are pushing downward on economic growth. Professor Gordon will outline some of the major forces and consider what they mean for future economic growth. (Registration required.) Read More »

Technology and Social Change in Pre-Modern East Asian Civilization

November 18
10:35 am
Image of rice farmer in Asia

This session will explore technological developments from the early history of China (such as iron weapons, rice field farming, and wood block printing) and examine their impact, both positive and negative, intended and unforeseen, on the East Asian world before the modern era. (Registration required.) Read More »

Optimizing Data

November 18
10:35 am
Image of hands holding smartphones

Data is turned out in unimaginable quantities day and night by our myriad computers and smart devices. It is analyzed and optimized in the belief that it holds the answers to our most challenging problems, from public policy to personal health. Is there a happy medium between the “gut” and data? (Registration required.) Read More »

Shaping and Reshaping Architecture

November 18
10:35 am
Image of modern building

From ancient temples to mega-skyscrapers, advances in technology have expanded and tested the potentials of architecture, serving the imagination and aspirations of their times, but also challenging society to respond to altered standards. (Registration required.) Read More »

Discussion and Reflection

November 18
10:35 am
Image of Suzanne Brown leading a discussion

Using the advance readings as a starting point, this session, facilitated by VHC discussion leader extraordinaire Suzanne Brown, offers attendees an opportunity to reflect and discuss the themes and connections they have made thus far in the conference. (Registration required.) Read More »

Time & Space Annihilated: Innovation, Communication & Society

November 18
1:00 pm
Image of man with phone on plane

Across time and cultures, humans have designed forms and tools with which to communicate within larger governing structures. Arguably our digital communication is causing as profound a change as Gutenberg's press did. This talk will explore past and future communication technologies, the culture that gave birth to them, and possible implications for the future. (Registration required.) Read More »

War and Technological Advance: The Manhattan Project, the German Uranverein, and the Wartime Development of Nuclear Weapons

November 18
1:00 pm
Image of workers on Manhattan Project

This talk will examine the relationship between war and technological advancement through the lens of the race to develop nuclear weapons in World War II. What does this race tell us about the relationship between scientific discovery and the production of a useable commodity? (Registration required.) Read More »

Technology, Solitude, and Fame

November 18
1:00 pm
Image of woman with phone on mountaintop

In this breakout discussion, we will explore technology’s role at the intersection of fame and solitude. How do the technologies of publication that create modern fame—be they internet or print-based—transform lives that require solitude? (Registration required.) Read More »

Discussion and Reflection

November 18
1:00 pm
Image of Suzanne Brown leading a discussion

Using the advance readings as a starting point, this session, facilitated by VHC discussion leader extraordinaire Suzanne Brown, offers attendees an opportunity to reflect and discuss the themes and connections they have made thus far in the conference. (Registration required.) Read More »

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