What is Dawn or Doom?


Now in its sixth year, Dawn or Doom explores the risks and rewards of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and genetic engineering, through interactive presentations and exhibits. Each talk is led by a national expert or prominent Purdue researcher whose talk is visualized by a graphic artist in real-time. This year’s conference focuses on how emerging technology is altering our bodies and minds, on our interactions with robots and other “intelligent” machines, on our prospects for a new era of space exploration, and on the central role of data in all of it.

Dawn or Doom ‘19 takes place on Purdue’s West Lafayette, Ind., campus September 24 and 25, 2019, is free and open to the public, and is designed for attendees to take in as many (or as few) presentations as fit their schedules. Every presentation allots time for audience questions and discussion.

Since it began in 2014, Dawn or Doom has annually brought together experts on topics ranging from surveillance drones and living on Mars to genetically modified foods and genetically personalized medicine. The two-day conference now attracts over 7,000 people who interact with speakers in weighing questions like: What is the future of work if computers and robots can do it all for us? Is the internet affecting my mental health? How do we determine whether a new technology represents dawn or doom (or a bit of both)?



Why Dawn or Doom?


Why Dawn or Doom? Because learning doesn’t just apply to the living anymore.

Artificial intelligence and “smart” technology are now ubiquitous features – and concerns – of our everyday lives, from data privacy online and smart devices in our homes and on our persons to autonomous vehicles on our roads and self-piloted airliners. We cannot hide. Dawn or Doom was created for thoughtful, fact-based discussion of the potential risks and rewards posed by such technologies. The conference intentionally presents diverse viewpoints, not only engineers and computer scientists, but also writers, philosophers, business leaders and policy experts.


Scott Phillips

Phillips graduated from Purdue in 2001 with a B.A. in Fine Arts before starting his dream career in the video game industry. During the last 18 years, Scott has spoken at the Game Developers Conference, travelled the world to promote games, and has been a key contributor to several multi-million selling games as an artist, animator, and designer - most recently serving as the Game Director of the Assassins’ Creed franchise for ‘Syndicate’ and ‘Odyssey’.


Anna Ridler

Artist and researcher whose work deals with collections of informational data that is used to create new and unusual narratives. Ridler is currently working with and researching the creative potential of machine learning, and how it relates to drawing and painting. Ridler, along with her talk, will also be showcasing her work at the Ringel Gallery during the conference.

Concurrent Events and Tracks


Information coming soon.

Exhibit from artist and researcher Anna Ridler, whose work deals with collections of informational data used to create new and unusual narratives. She is currently working with and researching the creative potential of machine learning, and how it relates to drawing and painting.

Her latest work called "Mosaic Virus" draws from the "tulip-mania" in the Netherlands/Europe in the 1600s. In this piece, which will be available at Ringel Gallery during the conference, she connects "tulip-mania" with crypto-currencies, where the tulips are controlled by bitcoin price to show how the market fluctuates. 

The "Design Good Now" Worldwide Challenge's goal is to redesign objects, products, and environments to make them more accessible and approachable for people with disabilities to use in their everyday lives. 

Purdue Graduate Student Government and Dawn or Doom present the third Student Research Poster Session. Students of all levels and backgrounds are invited to present their research or projects to be judged during Dawn or Doom ‘19. More information coming soon. 

Immerse yourself in the future at Purdue’s Envision Center and try virtual reality technologies that could soon become as common as the smartphone. 

Demos will be given during the Dawn or Doom conference.

  • Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - TBD
  • Wednesday, September 25, 2019 - TBD

Presentations and demo tours can be scheduled for groups. Please contact Laura Theademan at ltheadem@purdue.edu.

Dawn or Doom, the Purdue English Department and West Lafayette Public Library present the third annual “Big Read,” a celebration designed to link Purdue and Greater Lafayette readers.

This year’s book is “The Odyssey” translated by Emily Wilson. Published in 2017, Wilson's translation is written in iambic pentameter verse. The Guardian newspaper said that that the "translation will change the way the poem is read in English." 

For more information, go to the Big Read website.  

Check back for more information and the location of this year’s AI demonstration during Dawn or Doom.

Dawn or Doom is collaborating with technology-oriented student organizations on campus to host its second emerging technology Student Expo on Wednesday, September 25 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Check back for more information.

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