It’s Frontiers Day at Ars Technica! Between the hours of 13:30 and 17:00 (all times US Eastern Daylight, UTC-4:00), we’ll be carrying our livestreamed discussion with a half-dozen expert-packed panels on topics that range from IT to health care to space innovation. Each session will last approximately 30 minutes, with the last 10 minutes reserved for questions and answers from the audience. If you want to weigh in, leave your questions as comments on the YouTube stream. (You can also leave questions in the comments of this article, but YouTube is the preferred place because the moderators gathering questions will be focusing their efforts there.)
Schedule and sessions
The event kicks off at 13:30 EDT, with a quick intro from Ars Editor-in-Chief Ken Fisher and me. Even though this is a virtual event, Ken and I will be at the Ars studio at the Condé Nast Manhattan office to act as hosts. Ken will welcome everyone in and say some opening remarks, and we’ll roll from there directly into the sessions. Each session will also be bookended by a short recap by Ken and me.
Session 1: TikTok—banned or not, it’s probably here to stay (13:30 EDT)
Ars senior policy reporter Ashley Belanger gets to be up first with an especially relevant topic: While Congress and various states are vowing action against TikTok, will “banning” the app (whatever “banning” actually means) really come to anything? What are the policy implications around this kind of regulation, and how did we get here? We’ll feature EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry among the panel’s guests, along with Columbia University’s Ioana Literat and former White House lawyer and CPRI Executive Director Bryan Cunningham.
Session 2: Pandemic lessons from epidemiologists (14:10 EDT)
Ars science writer and chief pandemic correspondent Dr. Beth Mole pulls together a panel of infectious disease experts to look at what we’ve learned from the last three years and what our next pandemic response might look like. Beth will talk with a panel including epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo of Brown University and Dr. Caitlin Rivers, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Session 3: Internet everywhere—satellites are suddenly sexy (14:45 EDT)
Our chief space reporter, Eric Berger, will then lead a conversation on the rise of satellite Internet as a viable and accessible alternative to standard wireline Internet. What does the prospect of fast, low-latency Internet anywhere on Earth mean for travelers and locals around the globe? What do tens of thousands of orbiting satellites mean for our skies—and for the new space industry that will launch them? Guests joining Eric for this panel will include Charity Weeden, vice president of Global Space Policy and Government Relations at Astroscale; associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy Dr. Bhavya Lal; and Alex Fielding, CEO and chairman of Privateer Space.
Session 4: Beyond COVID—what does mRNA technology mean for disease treatment? (15:20 EDT)
Next up is Ars chief scientist Dr. John Timmer with a panel on everybody’s favorite four-letter word of the 2020s: mRNA. Thanks to the research generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, mRNA-based vaccines went from lab prototypes to commercial realities in an incredibly short amount of time. But mRNA tech can extend far beyond simple vaccinations—we could use it on other diseases, too. This panel will include Dr. Karen Bok, the director of pandemic preparedness and emergency response at the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, and Dr. Nathaniel Wang, CEO and cofounder of Replicate Bioscience.
Session 5: The lightning onset of AI—what suddenly changed? (15:55 EDT)
A year ago, few of us had heard of “ChatGPT.” Twelve months later, large language model-based AI threatens to forcibly revolutionize entire industries. What innovations led to this explosion of functionality? How did we come so far, seemingly overnight? Ars AI reporter Benj Edwards dives into the subject with a group of experts that includes Paige Bailey, lead product manager for generative models at Google; and Haiyan Zhang, general manager of gaming AI at Xbox/Microsoft.
Session 6: What happens to developers when AI can code? (16:30 EDT)
One area where large language models are making inroads is programming. The same basic skills that make LLMs good at stringing English words together also make them good at stringing together words of all kinds—including, say, words in Python and Rust. I’ll be putting on the moderator’s hat for this panel and sitting down with coding expert Katie Moussouris, founder and CEO of Luta security, and Drew Lohn, senior fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
Looking forward to (virtually) seeing everyone there!
Listing image by Aurich Lawson