Event Profile: SXSW 2018

South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas has become a cultural mecca for music and film buffs, as well as a place for hosting interactive events that cover a range of topics from everything new in technology, to entertainment and advertising. There is always a huge amount of news coming from this week-long event, so here is a breakdown of what we’ve seen so far.

SXSW Trust Barometer

Every year, festival attendees are polled for the Trust Barometer, which measures the general feelings those attending have towards technology, business, and media. The results of this year’s poll brought up interesting discussions, as there is a very low amount of trust in emerging technology, one of SXSW’s biggest draws.

Most of the distrust comes from a shift towards a need for more human elements in technological interactions, and a distrust in blockchain technology, virtual reality, and autonomous vehicles. Discussions about smaller, more personal social media platforms were held, as well as conversations about the widespread use of bots and voice assistants and how the reactions to these technologies have become more and more personal, with users sometimes treating bots as though they were chatting with another human being. There is without a doubt a need to shift to more personal communication methods and develop an understanding of how emotional attachments can tie into interacting with these responsive communication technologies.

Experiential Exhibitions: ‘Westworld’ and ‘Ready Player One’

HBO hit-show Westworld and Steven Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ both partnered with creative agency Giant Spoon to bring the worlds of the screen to life for festival attendees. These immersive exhibits allow you to step into the ‘Westworld’ town of Sweetwater and the Oasis of  ‘Ready Player One’ interacting with environments, actors in character, and becoming a character yourself. Read a review of the ‘Westworld’ exhibit on Forbes and Business Insider and see a walkthrough of Sweetwater here and the ‘Ready Player One’ exhibit here.

Speeches

SXSW is focused on cultivating the creative and entrepreneurial spirit throughout the world, and each day speakers from convergence, music, technology, and film focused paths present their take on various topics. The hope is to generate meaningful conversations about the state of the world in each of SXSW’s featured verticals. Notable speakers this year include Elon Musk, Melinda Gates, Darren Aronofsky, Sadiq Khan, and Esther Perel.

SXSW ends this Saturday, so there is bound to be more excitement in the last few days of the festival. For more SXSW news and live streams of keynotes and other events, visit sxsw.com.

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