Panels Fact Sheet

SIGGRAPH 2006 Presents Six Panels

Panelists discuss, confer with, and debate each other in a free-flowing format that generates consensus, controversy, confusion, and clarity - sometimes simultaneously.

A Quote from the SIGGRAPH 2006 Panels Festival Chair

"These discussions are very important for the community. Many breakthroughs in technology, politics, and art didn't come from individuals with 'Eureka!' moments, but with many people contributing incremental improvements," stated David (grue) DeBry, SIGGRAPH 2006 Panels Chair. "These discussions help to move us forward. For 33 years, SIGGRAPH has been influential in technological and artistic progress in computer graphics. Now that this medium is so widespread, we're starting to face questions not just of innovation, but of ethics and responsibility. As a result, those themes - ethics and responsibility - are the heart of the Panel topics this year."

Highlights from the SIGGRAPH 2006 Panels

Digital Rights, Digital Restrictions
The internet, with its widening bandwidth and accelerating speed, allows people throughout the world to exchange immense amounts of digital information. Not only can people share their home movies, they can also share movies that they didn't make and didn't even pay for. Music companies and movie studios have tried to clamp down on piracy with laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and lawsuits against people they believe are stealing their products.

Some companies are trying a more active approach: Sony recently added copy-protection software on some of their audio CDs. This "rootkit" software installs itself without telling the user, hides its own contents, and examines what other programs are running on the computer. Is unannounced software installation reasonable? If the software is sending information across the internet to another party, is that reasonable? Where is the line drawn, and who gets to draw it?

Panelists
Robert Ryang
P.S. 260

Karen Sandler
Software Freedom Law Center

Mitch Singer
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Emru Townsend
FPS Magazine

Ethics in Image Manipulation
For a very small investment, anyone can access the tools required to make significant yet undetectable changes to photographs and other images. The SIGGRAPH community can take much of the credit for this amazing progress. Should we also take the responsibility? Should SIGGRAPH get more involved in public policy?

Image manipulation is essential in the visual effects industry, but it is discouraged in research and journalism. And there are many gray areas. When is image manipulation appropriate? How should the SIGGRAPH community respond to unethical applications of what we have created? Where do we draw the line, and should we draw it? How do we teach these ethics to our students?

Panelists
Kathryn Carlson
Fluid Effect

Brian DeLevie
University of Colorado at Denver

Aude Oliva
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Is a Career in Computer Graphics Possible? Part 1: Skills and Training
Employees who want to stay current with new technologies and techniques must find a balance with their daily work schedules. If you can't keep up, will you stay employed? What skill sets are most valuable? How much should new employees be expected to know, and how much should they expect to be trained on the job? Is it worth it for employers to help keep their employees trained, or are they better off just hiring people who are on the cutting edge? Are training departments able to keep up with the demands of employees who are on shortened schedules? Is becoming obsolete inevitable? Or are there strategies for staying current?

Panelists
Chryssa Cooke
Ex'pression College for Digital Arts

Greg Maloney
Industrial Light & Magic

Ken Maruyama
Sony Pictures Imageworks

So You Want to Create Content: Licenses, Copyrights, and Other Things to Think About
There is a vast array of licensing and copyright schemes, each with a different view of what's protected and what's not. Why do we need so many schemes? Are they really useful? Do you understand the difference between copyleft and Creative Commons? More schemes are coming, most notably the new GPL version 3. Why create a new licensing scheme? What's left out of today's schemes that tomorrow's will cover? As software developers and content creators, should we "share the wealth" or "protect our wealth?"

Panelists
Andy Luckey
Greater Family, LLC

Gary Morris
Kenyon & Kenyon, LLP

Gregory Silberman
Kaye Scholer, LLP

Video Games: Content and Responsibility
Since their invention, video games have been accused of many things, including: Are all or any of these concerns valid? When will someone write games that girls want to play, or has it already been done? Do fun and educational video games exist? Do video games train people to be violent, or do they provide a safe way to vent violent tendencies? Does the ESRB rating system go too far or not far enough? Are game developers and publishers taking enough responsibility for their creations? Are consumers using their products responsibly?

Panelists
Jonathan Cho Yan Chan
University of Hong Kong

Jason Della Rocca
International Game Developers Association

Tamsen Mitchell
Shaba Games, Inc.

David Walsh
National Insitute on Media and the Family

Is a Career in Computer Graphics Possible? Part 2: Dedication and Expectation
Is our work environment becoming as ephemeral as our work? Companies are demanding more of our time, making permanent crunch time a possible future. Can companies stay profitable while avoiding massive overtime, or are class-action lawsuits by employees going to proliferate? Or is that impossible? Should we just learn to live with serious stress and eventual burnout? How have employers and employees who have been in this business for many years survived? What can all of us (companies, employers, researchers, developers, artists, students) do to make sure that sane and stable jobs exist for us in computer graphics?

Panelists
Jenny Fulle
Sony Pictures Imageworks

Kevin Koch
The Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839

Henry LaBounta
Electronic Arts

SIGGRAPH 2006 Panels begin 31 July at 3:45 pm and close 2 August at 5:30 pm. Complete information