Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over six hours in San Francisco on Saturday, October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data visualization performance by Sosolimited; an art and technology studio out of M.I.T.
Long Conversation was presented with a live performance of 1,000 minutes of composer Jem Finer's Longplayer.
Robin Sloane is the author of “Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore,” and a media thinker. He has worked at Poynter, Current TV, and Twitter, trying to figure out the future of media, and now is seriously engaged with the concept of media inventors.
Astronomer Jill Tarter is Director of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute's Center for SETI Research, and also holder of the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI. She has devoted her career to hunting for signs of sentient beings elsewhere, and almost all aspects of this field have been affected by her work.
Tarter led for Project Phoenix, a decade-long SETI scrutiny of about 750 nearby star systems, using telescopes in Australia, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. While no clearly extraterrestrial signal was found, this project was the most comprehensive targeted search for artificially generated cosmic signals ever undertaken. Tarter currently serves on the management board for the Allen Telescope Array, a massive new instrument that will eventually comprise 350 antennas, each 6 meters in diameter. This telescope will be able to enormously increase the speed, and the spectral range, of the hunt for signals from other distant technologies by orders of magnitude.
SETI's Jill Tarter talks with inventor Robin Sloan about the importance of the institute's work beyond its quest to discover extraterrestrial intelligence.
Tarter argues that the search for ET is one of the few truly global issues, and suggests that simply pondering humanity's place in the universe forces people to "hold up a mirror to all of us...in a way that makes us see ourselves as all the same."