Sci-fi authors to talk AI at Jan. 11 webinar with Illinois Libraries Present

More than 200 Illinois libraries are hosting an online program, “Speculating About Our AI Future with Cory Doctorow, Ken Liu and Martha Wells,” on Thursday, Jan. 11.

Three science fiction authors will discuss the promise, perils and possible impacts of artificial intelligence at 7 p.m. in this webinar offered by Illinois Libraries Present.

Find details and sign up via your local library website. A recording of the event will be available for two weeks following to registrants only.

Some of the suburban districts participating in Illinois Libraries Present include: Antioch, Arlington Heights Memorial, Aurora, Barrington Area, Bartlett, Batavia, Bensenville Community, Cary Area, Cook Memorial, Crystal Lake, Des Plaines, Downers Grove, Ela Area, Ella Johnson Memorial-Hampshire, Elmhurst, Fox River Grove, Fox River Valley, Gail Borden, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Glenview, Grayslake, Highland Park, Hinsdale, Indian Trails, Lake Forest, Lisle, Maple Park, Marengo-Union, McHenry, Mount Prospect, Northbrook, Palatine, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Roselle, Schaumburg Township, Sugar Grove, Town & Country, Vernon Area, Villa Park, Warren-Newport, Warrenville, Waukegan, West Chicago, Westmont, Wilmette, Winfield, Winnetka-Northfield, Wood Dale, and Woodstock.

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction novelist, journalist and technology activist. He is the author of many books, including “The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation,” a Big Tech disassembly manual; “Red Team Blues,” a science fiction crime thriller; “Chokepoint Capitalism,” nonfiction about monopoly and creative labor markets; and the Little Brother series for young adults. In 2020, he was inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. He also serves as a special advisor to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (, a nonprofit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties.

Ken Liu ( is an American author of speculative fiction. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy awards, he wrote the “Dandelion Dynasty,” a silkpunk epic fantasy series (starting with “The Grace of Kings”), as well as short story collections “The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories” and “The Hidden Girl and Other Stories.” He also penned the Star Wars novel “The Legends of Luke Skywalker.” Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Liu worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer and litigation consultant. Liu frequently speaks at conferences and universities on a variety of topics, including futurism, machine-augmented creativity, history of technology, bookmaking and the mathematics of origami.

Martha Wells ( is a bestselling fiction writer whose work includes the Books of the Raksura series, the Ile-Rien series, the Murderbot Diaries series, and other fantasy novels, most recently “Witch King.” She has also written media tie-in fiction for Star Wars, Stargate: Atlantis, and Magic: the Gathering, as well as short fiction, young adult novels and nonfiction. She is the winner of Nebula Awards, Hugo Awards and Locus Awards. She is a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, and her books have been published in 25 languages.

This event is made possible by Illinois Libraries Present, a statewide collaboration among public libraries offering premier events.

Illinois Libraries Present debuted in 2022 as a way to bring virtual events with bestselling authors and diverse and esteemed speakers to communities across the state and counts more than 200 Illinois libraries as members. Joining forces for such events allow libraries to bring speakers to their communities that might not be possible due to budget constraints or production capabilities.

In 2023, the initiative was recipient of the Illinois Library Association’s 2023 Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award for Interlibrary Cooperation, which is awarded annually in recognition of exceptional resource-sharing initiatives that benefit library users in Illinois.

It is funded in part by a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a department of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.

Season 3 of Illinois Libraries Present will continue next month with American cartoonist Jerry Craft via Zoom at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Learn about life, art, and telling your story with the bestselling author, illustrator, and syndicated cartoonist. Join this conversation about his works and journey to success, including a drawing demo that will be fun for the whole family.

Other upcoming programs include: “Romance and Regency with Bridgerton's Julia Quinn” on Feb. 20; “Ruth E. Carter: Interweaving Tradition and Imagination Through Costume Design” on March 20; “The Hidden Gifts of Visual Thinkers with Dr. Temple Grandin” on April 3; and “The Many Lives of Kal Penn” on May 7.

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