May 15, 2023
I am excited to be a small part of the upcoming Granfalloon Festival hosted by the IU Arts and Humanities Council. What is a Granfalloon, you might ask? According to Wikipedia, it is an element of the fictional religion of Bokononism created by Kurt Vonnegut in his 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle and is a group of people who pretend to get together for a “shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is meaningless.” Which as a name for a festival whose ostensible shared purpose is to celebrate the life and work of Kurt Vonnegut is absolutely perfect.
My role in the festivities is a public discussion of Vonnegut’s 1952 novel Player Piano. This is a wonderful novel that I used to teach regularly, and given its themes of automation and technological-driven unemployment, it is highly relevant to the current moment. My talk is part of an open event at the Wonderlab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology on Saturday, May 20 from 7:30-9pm. Tickets can be ordered here. My contribution is entitled “From Player Piano to the AI Revolution, a history of labor in the computer age?”
The much more exciting participants at Granfalloon 2023 include Ted Chiang and the Flaming Lips…