How do you hold a conference during all this?
You don’t. At least, not yet.
As Wired Magazine discusses in its recent article on virtual conferences:
Conferences have long been the gold standard for exchanging ideas and strengthening professional relationships, both in business and academia. Sure, they can be a bit stuffy, but gathering people in the same room has measurable benefits. One study, from MIT, found that scientific collaborations that came out of conference meetings were “more novel, cross-disciplinary and more frequently cited than projects between two researchers in the same institution.”
We all hope this confinement and social distancing will be over soon, but in the meantime, it’s also changing how everything works, and will work in the future. Things change, and technology just makes them change faster.
As Kevin Kelly (founder of Wired) says in his book The Inevitable,
Technology is humanity’s accelerant. Because of technology, everything we make is always in the process of becoming. Every kind of thing is becoming something else, while it churns from might to is. All is flux. Nothing is finished. Nothing is done. This never-ending change is the pivotal access of the modern world.