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Revolutionary social media event explores synthetic biology and being human

By Aubrey Paris

Social media is powerful and popular, and it connects people from all walks of life across the globe. As such, it's an ideal tool for use in science communication, since it not only serves as a platform for disseminating scientific information to the masses, but it can also be used to connect scientists with non-scientists to have conversations about associated issues.

To that end, a revolutionary social media event — Being Human 2.0: SynBio LIVE, a half-day virtual workshop on synthetic biology and emerging technologies — is scheduled for 2 to 5:30 p.m. (EDT) on Thursday, March 30. It is open to everyone.

Science has always aimed to address challenges facing society, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide us with outlets to discuss scientific advancements and how they may help or hurt our ability to face social challenges. Areas of advancement in science that have great potential to impact society include synthetic biology and emerging technologies, and the current and future impacts of these advancements will be largely governed by the public's understanding of the science itself, or at least how the science will directly interact with them, the consumers.

Regardless of the practical implications of synthetic biology, it is certain that "synbio" will have the ability to change and shape the way that we interpret and interact with the concept of humanity. In a world of revolutionary technologies, what does it mean to be human?

Being Human 2.0: SynBio LIVE will seek to address this question. The event is a partnership of "The Forum," a biweekly audio podcast on science-and-society topics hosted by the Institute on Science for Global Policy (ISGP), and Youth Biotech, a student organization headquartered at the Tec de Monterrey in Guadalajara, Mexico, with the Cornell Alliance for Science providing social media support.

The online symposium will employ a conference format featuring four scheduled event sessions, all of which will be live-streamed on social media. Attendance is virtual, allowing participants to watch, comment, and interact with one another in real-time from anywhere in the world.

Workshop sessions will be live-streamed from three different countries, in full spirit of this international event, and a bilingual conference format will be employed. Three sessions will be conducted in English and the fourth in Spanish, while all sessions will be live-tweeted in both languages by @ISGPforum and @YouthBiotech using #SynbioLIVE. Participants do not need to have personal social media accounts to watch live-streaming sessions or to follow the hashtag on Twitter.

Up-to-date information on the workshop, both before the event and on March 30, is available on its official Facebook page.

The agenda for the workshop is:

2 PM EDT - Welcome and Introduction - www.facebook.com/ISGPforum AND www.facebook.com/YouthBiotech

2:15 - Interview: Artificial genomes and proteomes - Facebook LIVE (www.facebook.com/ISGPforum)
Michael Hecht, Dept. of Chemistry, Princeton University

2:45 - ISGP's "The Forum" Podcast on GMOs - YouTube LIVE (Find links at www.facebook.com/ISGPforum and www.twitter.com/ISGPforum)
Featuring a discussion of GMO science, regulation, and labeling

3:30 - Interview - Clinical applications of synthetic biology - Facebook LIVE (www.facebook.com/ISGPforum)
Richard Kitney, Dept. of Bioengineering, Imperial College London

4:15 - Break

5:00 - Panel: Emerging technologies (AI, biotech, infotech) - Facebook LIVE (www.facebook.com/YouthBiotech)
Oscar Aguilar Juarez, Center for Research and Assistance in Technology and Design of the State of Jalisco (CIATEJ)

Morris Schwarzblat y Katz, Office of the Secretary of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Jalisco

More panelists TBA

6:15 - Adjournment - www.facebook.com/ISGPforum AND www.facebook.com/YouthBiotech

For more information contact Aubrey Paris, a senior fellow at ISGP and manager and co-host of The Forum, at aparis@scienceforglobalpolicy.org.

 

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