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Inventing the Future: Ashlee Vance on Elon Musk

Event 13 Friday 3 March, 11.30am-12.30pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

Authors: Ashlee Vance
“Vance paints an unforgettable picture of Musk's unique personality, insatiable drive and ability to thrive through hardship.” - The Washington Post

Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future has been hailed as both the definitive account of Musk’s remarkable career and one of the best biographies of modern times. Already a renowned technology journalist and the author of an acclaimed history of Silicon Valley, Vance’s exhaustive research and first-hand insights will give you unique access into the visionary mind of the ‘real life Iron Man’ who revitalised the electric car and solar industries, invented the Hyperloop mass transit system and is planning a manned mission to Mars within our lifetimes!

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Inventing the Future: Ashlee Vance on Elon Musk

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Virtual Insanity: Is Technology Changing Who We Are?

Event 15 Friday 3 March, 3pm-4pm Al Ras 2, InterContinental

“Ethics change with technology.” – Larry Niven

Technological progress has had an enormous impact on our physical lives, but what is it doing to our minds? This is an area prone to sensationalist reporting, which can obscure real issues about what our relationship with technology reveals about us as individuals and societies.

Sarah Amiri is the Lead Science Investigator of the Emirates Mars Mission and, through her work with UAE universities and international institutions, is a key player in the UAE’s mission to build a knowledge-based society.

Jon Ronson is the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, an examination of how the age-old art of shaming has gained global reach thanks to social media.

Keith Stuart has written about video games for 20 years, and has thus been witness to both the growth of a new culture and the emergence of some extreme culture wars.

Ashlee Vance, reporting from Silicon Valley, has made a career of getting inside the heads of people pursuing technological breakthroughs, from infrastructure to artificial intelligence to space travel.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Virtual Insanity: Is Technology Changing Who We Are?

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Follow Me: When Writers Get Social

Event 22 Friday 3 March, 6pm-7pm Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

Creating a dedicated social media following can help immeasurably for a career in creativity. Each member of our panel has taken a different approach to building their ‘tribe’ of fans, friends and event business clients – a community that can be rewarding in all kinds of ways.

Abdullah Al Jumah’s Twitter followers proved a source of inspiration and support both on his travels and in the writing of Tales of a Saudi in Europe.

Nisha Katona built a dedicated following on YouTube with her introductions to curry cooking. They have become loyal supporters of her books and her restaurant, Mowgli.

Kerby Rosanes’ intricate art is perfectly suited to online art communities from Instagram to DeviantArt, and he has built a freelance career using the creative social and professional network Behance.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Follow Me: When Writers Get Social

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Virtual Reality: The New Frontier of Storytelling

Event 36 Saturday 4 March, 10am-11am Al Baraha 3, InterContinental

“We need to create experiences that elevate this technology beyond a geeky gimmick into the incredible medium it has the potential to be.” – Anthony Geffen

Anthony Geffen is a world-leading innovator in documentary filmmaking, and right now he and his company, Atlantic Productions, are working on a long-promised technology that is finally coming into its own: virtual reality. But as far as Geffen is concerned, new technology is above all a new way to tell stories.

Fast-track into the future through this virtual vision of storytelling and find out about the sort of immersive stories we can look forward to!

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Virtual Reality: The New Frontier of Storytelling

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Who Runs the World?: Diversity in Entertainment

Event 42 Saturday 4 March, 11:30am-12:30pm Al Ras 3, InterContinental

'Diversity is not a trend, it is simply life.'' - Sana Amanat

A new generation of women are making waves in interactive media and entertainment, and diversifying the sorts of stories and characters we see on screen and page. Women like Marvel’s Sana Amanat, who is leading change in American comics, rising Emirati filmmaker Eman Talal Alsayed and innovative Emirati artist Maryam Alzaabi.

Eman Talal Alsayed is a rising star of the Emirati film industry, whose script for the film Blanket won top prize at the Arab Film Studio Scriptwriting Competition and Best Film in the AFS Narrative Program.

Maryam Alzaabi is an Emirati artist whose original works and interpretations of pop culture icons have drawn acclaim at the Middle East Film and Comic Con and elsewhere.

Sana Amanat is the Director of Content and Character Development for Marvel, well-known as the co-creator of breakout star Kamala Khan, aka Ms Marvel.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

Who Runs the World?: Diversity in Entertainment

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A Boy Made of Blocks

Event 157 Saturday 4 March, 3pm-4pm Al Khayma, InterContinental

Authors: Keith Stuart
“Life puts up so many barriers to people who are different. Any tool that helps us to appreciate those people is a precious thing.” – Keith Stuart

Alex’s life is falling apart – his marriage is failing and his autistic son Sam is struggling to comprehend an overwhelming world. But when Sam starts playing Minecraft, the two of them have a chance to build a virtual world they can share – and start confronting their problems in the real world.

Games journalist Keith Stuart was inspired to write A Boy Made of Blocks by personal experience – his son is on the autism spectrum, and Minecraft helped father and son connect. In this session he talks about the challenges of autism and how computer games can be surprisingly helpful, as well as how he came to write his bestselling novel.

Language: English

A Boy Made of Blocks

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So You've Been Publicly Shamed: Jon Ronson on Finding Tolerance in an Angry World

Event 54 Saturday 4 March, 6.30pm-7.30pm Al Ras 1, InterContinental

“We are defining the boundaries of normality by tearing apart the people outside it.” – Jon Ronson

Jon Ronson’s latest book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, deals with an age-old phenomenon that has gained new life online. What happens when a large group of people turn on an individual in a collective social media attack? In the course of Jon’s research, he met with people who have been subjected to public shaming and examined the deep and personal damage caused.

With an uncanny ability to make disturbing subjects funny without diminishing their seriousness, Ronson has a lot to say on this expression of mob mentality – including his experiences as a shamer and being shamed himself.

Jon Ronson will be in conversation with Sultan Al Qassemi.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

So You've Been Publicly Shamed: Jon Ronson on Finding Tolerance in an Angry World

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StoryCode: Game-based Storytelling

Event 156 Saturday 4 March, 6.30pm-7.30pm Al Baraha 1, InterContinental

“The key is to make the game the thing, make it fun, and the books become secondary... the reward is an excellent book that will flesh out the story of the game.” – Simon Scarrow on Cato & Macro

As Gaming & Technology becomes more sophisticated, so too does the opportunity to tell a compelling story in this uniquely interactive medium. Our panel investigates how well this opportunity is being fulfilled and what’s in store for the future.

Games can be a powerful and profoundly social way of telling an ongoing story. Our panel explores the ways that games – from the growing sophistication of online gaming communities to the intricacies of a drawn-out RPG campaign – open up opportunities for storytelling, and take a look at what’s in store for the future.

Heidi Frost is a long-time proponent of games as literature and the organizer of Dubai Writers' Group, which offers support to professional and aspiring writers alike to improve their writing.

Omar Ismail is no stranger to telling stories in games – he is the founder of the Gulf Roleplaying Community, a diverse 450-strong community of tabletop gamers.

Simon Scarrow is the author of the Eagle series of books, whose heroes Cato and Macro are now stars of their own game.

Keith Stuart is the Guardian’s Games Editor and has spent 20 years observing the evolution of Gaming & Technology, design and storytelling.

Language: English, with simultaneous Arabic translation

StoryCode: Game-based Storytelling

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