Drones & Jetpacks Take Center Stage at Futuristic Festival

A slew of sci-fi celebs and all-star scientists will descend on Washington, D.C. for The Future Is Here, a festival celebrating the technology of tomorrow, science fiction and outer space.

The event, produced by Smithsonian magazine, features talks on everything from robots to human evolution, as well as a live jetpack demonstration. The cast of speakers includes theoretical physicist Brian Greene, Google innovator Rich DeVaul and “Star Trek” star George Takei.

The theme of this year’s festival is Science Meets Science Fiction. The event’s name comes from a quote by sci-fi author William Gibson, who said, “The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.”

Humans, robots and ‘Star Trek’

Robotics expert Cori Lathan, CEO of Maryland engineering firm AnthroTronix, will speak about the future of human-machine interaction, and Rich DeVaul of Google X, the web giant’s secretive lab, which developed Google Glass and driverless cars, will discuss the search for the next big thing.

The day’s festivities will also feature Steward Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog and president of The Long Now Foundation, on bringing extinct species back to life using genetics. Smithsonian evolution expert Briana Pobiner will explore the idea that human evolution is over, through her research on human carnivory and cannibalism.

Cosmologist and author Brian Greene, who studies superstring and multiverse theory at Columbia University in New York City, and sci-fi author David Brin, author of the bestselling novel “The Postman,” will talk about the meeting of science and sci-fi. George Takei, the actor best known for playing Hikaru Sulu on the TV series “Star Trek,” will also speak.

The day will conclude with a live human jetpack demonstration and drone flights near the capital’s National Mall.

The events will take place at the Smithsonian museums and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. All-access passes are for sale online for $250.