One of the wackiest aspects of having a little bit of internet notoriety is that occasionally I get invited to go places and speak. Considering my friends in Vancouver can barely get me to shut up, the idea of people going somewhere specifically to hear me talk is… let’s just say I’m not used to it.
The equally weird part, at least for me, is that while I have quite a bit of formal education in science and health, that’s almost never what I get invited to talk about. The exception to that, obviously, is professional conferences, but that’s usually a question of me applying to go and speak, rather than being invited to do so. Part of this is intentional: I don’t want the stuff that Ian Cromwell does during the day to be confused with the stuff that Crommunist does at night – my employer has nothing to do with my writing and I prefer to keep it that way.
So it’s sort of neat that I get to blend my skeptic blogging stuff with my professional stuff at this year’s SkepTech conference:
Skeptech is a new annual conference, organized by members & alumni of the Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists student group at the University of Minnesota (CASH), the Secular Student Alliance at St. Cloud State University (SSA@SCSU), and the Secular Student Alliance at St. Olaf College (SSASTO). It explores the intersections of science, critical thinking, and innovation in addressing some of the most pressing societal and environmental problems humanity faces today. Held at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities – a hotbed of technological research and innovation in the heart of the Twin Cities Metropolitan area – the three-day conference aims to spark ideas, foster questions, and start conversations on the role of technology in improving, and ensuring there is, tomorrow.
The speaker list is pretty impressive: Heina Dadabhoy, Hemant Mehta, Debbie Goddard, Jesse Galef, Rebecca Watson… some very smart people, talking about skepticism and technology and the things that tie them together.
For my part, I’m going to be talking about the introduction of new medical technologies, and the perils inherent in evidence-based funding decisions. Even if we agree that evidence is important, what types of evidence should we be considering? How do we go about doing that? Who gets to decide?
That’s right, I’m going to be talking about death panels.
So if you’re in/around the Minnesota Twin Cities area, come on out to SkepTech. It’s free! Also I promise not to suck.