"The Future of Conferences" by Cristina (Crista) Lopes

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For the past 50 years, academic and technology communities have embraced a professional culture that relies heavily on physical meetings of people from around the world: we present our most important work in conferences, we meet our peers in conferences, we even make life-long friends in conferences. While all professional communities have their conferences, Computer Science academics and, to a large extent, software technologists have embraced the conference culture as integral part of their professional identities and career advancement.

Conferences are great! However, in some respects, they are not great. As more, and more diverse, people join the profession, many problems that did not exist in small, mostly homogeneous, mostly elitist groups started to emerge. Among them: large carbon footprints due to long-distance air travel, predatory sexual behavior, exclusion of those who cannot afford the costs of travel, and of those with care-taking responsibilities.

As these problems started to come into focus, COVID-19 happened, and all physical conferences were cancelled!
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