It's gradually becoming known who did and who did not get an invitation to the Australia 2020 seminar later this month, in which Australia's 1000 supposedly best and brightest thinkers will spend a weekend in Canberra solving the nation's problems and working out its future trajectory.
I can report that I didn't get an invitation, and I'm not going to pretend I don't care. I am, in fact, mildly pissed off about it. Those lead articles in Quadrant don't count, I guess, and nor does the fact that, in Damien Broderick's absence, self-exiled in the US, I must surely rank as Australia's best-known thinker on issues relating to the human/post-human future (hey, guys, you now have a goddamn Australian as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Evolution and Technology, the leading intellectual flagship of the transhumanist movement; just thought I'd let you know). You'd think there'd be some room for my viewpoint at a conference of Australia's ... ahem ... top thousand thinkers about the future of the country.
Okay, who am I kidding? My application was always a long-shot, since my interests in science fiction, transhumanism, scientifically-informed rationalism, and a genuinely liberal approach to public policy were always going to be seen as kind of out there by the folks running this talk fest. It doesn't matter how much prominence I build up nationally and internationally, those fields of expertise aren't going to endear me to the solid burghers in the political mainstream.
Still, I thought there was some outside chance, if someone just used a bit of imagination and thought beyond the usual suspects, so I won't pretend otherwise. Yes, I am (however mildly) pissed off by it, much as I didn't expect to get the nod from on high, much as I'm more amused than anything else, and much as there are plenty of other people, er things, I'd like to do that weekend. For all that, those grapes would have been sweet, and I did have something to say.
Anyhow, what the heck, I'm sure I have plenty of company.