Virtual Quest Lecture Series
We’re excited to announce our line-up of virtual talks from Quest University! Zoom links for these presentations will be shared soon.
November 15: Dr. Darcy Otto presents Can an AI be Sentient?
Blake Lemoine, a former engineer at Google, went public in July 2022 with his belief that a chatbot called LaMDA is sentient. For this view he was mocked by other engineers and ridiculed in the mainstream media—and then fired by Google. In this talk, I consider whether Lemoine’s views have any validity, whether Lemoine had a point, whether the public reaction was justified, and what obligations we would have towards a truly sentient machine.
February 21: Dr. Stewart Prest presents Local politics in the post-Wild West Era: An analysis of British Columbia’s 2022 municipal elections
It is a period of significant transition in municipal politics in British Columbia. There are competing explanations for this change, including both the emergence of housing crisis and broader issues of urbanization as a defining set of issues, as well as recent changes to election financing regulations. As a result, we are seeing considerable experimentation and evolution among local political candidates and parties. Looking at both available survey data and the accompanying political discourse regarding local politics in BC, I will break down the results of the 2022 elections in municipalities in BC, including Vancouver and Squamish, among others. The elections represent an important “evolutionary moment” in numerous municipalities across the province, and the patterns that result may have long term implications defining the practice and policies of cities across the province for decades to come. Key questions will include, what issues brought voters out? What kinds of political coalitions emerged? How did candidates adapt to the new municipal political financing regulations? The answers will inevitably be partial given the recency of the election, but nonetheless highly illuminating as to what the future holds for politics in BC’s cities.
April 18: Dr. Ellen Flournoy presents Planning for Pollinators
Do you keep plants on a balcony or in a yard or home garden? Are you curious about the relationships between your plants and the pollinators that help them reproduce? Join Quest’s Ellen Flournoy to learn about ways you can improve biodiversity in Squamish by making small changes to your own gardening routines. Ellen will also explain the process she used to win grants and district permission for a pollinator garden on public lands.
This series is presented in partnership with Squamish Public Library and Pemberton & District Public Library.