SXSW - © Merrick Ales
Eine Q&A-Session während der SXSW 2017 © Ann Alva Wieding/SXSW

12 trends at SXSW 2018

Blockchain, artificial intelligence and ethical designs among top trends at creative festival

The upcoming South by Southwest festival underway from March 9–18, 2018 in Austin, Texas will see a bevy of creative people, celebrities, executives and start-ups come together to discover, learn, network, brainstorm and collaborate on the latest digital trends and ideas and present novelties. Hamburg News gives an overview of the issues that are set to take centre stage at SXSW.

1. Synergies

Synergies are boundless when people from all kinds of sectors meet at SXSW. The unique atmosphere is great for networking and finding new input. The following are just of the scheduled sessions:

Sessions:
Sci-Fi to Reality: Evolution of AI in the Workplace
More Than Numbers: Data Analysis for Storytellers

2. Virtual reality

Virtual reality is not merely a passing fad and has long since morphed into a potent tool in the arts, medicine, business and entertainment sectors. Production technology and standards are increasing rapidly, furthering the acceleration of VR towards a mainstream technology. The door is now wide open for mobile augmented reality applications and the introduction of MR devices in the near future.

Tracks: Code and Programming, Design, Experiential Storytelling, Film & TV Industry, Health and Wellness, Making Film & Episodics, Startup & Tech Sectors, VR/AR.

Sessions:
The Next Phase of VR: Moving to MR
Reality But Better: Augmenting the World with News

3. Blockchain technology

The volatility of Bitcoin continues to make headlines, but cryptocurrencies are just the beginning of a potential revolution. Blockchain technology is quickly going mainstream and is being adopted and tried out in areas as diverse as smart contracts (music and healthcare), identity (passports, personal ID), the Internet of Things (data marketplaces), and digital rights management (music and film). The broad decentralization of data could become the next iteration of the internet.

Tracks: Code and Programming, Film and TV Industry, Food, Government, Intelligent Future, Music Industry, Start-up & Tech Sectors

Sessions:
Blockchain Opportunities in Mobility and Logistics
What Blockchain Means for Media & Entertainment

4. Healthcare

Data from devices and deeper understanding of the human body are leading to a new era in healthcare. From hacking genomes to building medicines that are as unique as the condition and person being treated, things are becoming very personal with the human body as the interface. The future may yet see the emergence of personal medicine as unique as each individual.

Tracks: Health and Wellness, Intelligent Future, Startup and Tech Sectors.

Sessions:
Body Computing, Security, & Human Safety
Genomes: Let’s Make Rare Disease Rare

5. Inclusion and activism

Diversity and inclusion are top priorities at SXSW as they are cornerstones of innovative and creative societies all over the world. Yet, plenty of work remains to be done in 2018 and later on.

Tracks: Brands and Marketing, Experiential Storytelling, Film and TV Industry, Music Industry, News and Journalism, Social Impact, VR/AR, Workplace

Sessions:
What Does Leadership Look Like?
The New Activism of TV and Film Storylines

Die einzelnen Tracks der SXSW

6. Start-ups in the age of the “Big Four” tech giants

The allure of discovering the next big thing remains a key part of SXSW and regularly attracts founders and investors. But the Big Four – Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook – continue to wield huge technological clout. The question remains whether this kind of total domination will stifle innovation in the future?

Tracks: Code and Programming, Film and TV Industry, Food, Intelligent Future, Music Industry, News and Journalism, Startup and Tech Sectors, Social Impact

Sessions:
Start-ups and Big Companies Working Together
Building an Ecosystem for Science Start-ups

7. Short documentaries

More and more well-produced, short documentary content is being consumed all over the globe. Such five to ten minute films are more prevalent than ever. At the same time, viewing habits and the critical cultural eye can waver from mobile devices to streaming services. Where does it go next?

Tracks: Film Industry, Making Film and Episodics, News and Journalism

Sessions:
To Stream or not to Stream
How Documentaries Can Rise In the Webseries World

8. Artificial intelligence

Data is the DNA of the 21st century – a world full of sensor-rich environments and the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming omnipresent. Devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa have brought an always-on-and-listening virtual assistant into everyday life. The future is both bright and concerning as uncharted waters loom.

Tracks: Brands and Marketing, Code and Programming, Design, Film & TV Industry, Health and Wellness, Intelligent Future, Music Industry, Startup & Tech Sectors

Sessions:
Regulating AI: How to control the Unexplainable
Will AI Change the Future of Creativity?

9. New media companies

Non-traditional companies like Apple, Facebook, Buzzfeed and Refinery29 are vying to break into the movie and TV industry. The competition is fierce and unpredictable. What happens as the pace quickens and the spending war seems to have no end in sight?

Tracks: Brands and Marketing, Film & TV Industry, News and Journalism

Sessions:
Death of 2nd Screen? Live Tweets in a Binge World
Future Proof Media: Engaging Tomorrow’s Audience

10. Power of music playlists

Revenue from sales and streaming are finally on the upswing after years of sluggish numbers. Now that the market is rebounding, where is all the money going? Playlists are threatening to upend albums entirely and singles are leading the way. Naturally, artists and their teams want to know how these lists are curated and how to be added to the top playlists in hopes of generating revenue. But how do the top playlists work and how transparent are they?

Tracks: Music Industry, Sync, Stream and License

Sessions:
How To Build An Effective Streaming Music Strategy
The Future of Monetization

11. Coalitions of Cities

The roles and responsibilities of cities are evolving in response to a more connected, tumultuous world. Global coalitions of cities are joining together to tackle issues such as climate change, cybersecurity, immigration and extremism. As big government seems to be stuck in a limbo, it is up to cities to pave the way towards the future, providing stability, growth and community for their citizens.

Tracks: Cities Summit, Government, Social Impact

Sessions:
New Localism: Reimagining Power in a Populist Age
Sensemaking for Cities: Conflict and Complexity

12. Ethical design

As the post-device era nears, the longer-term social and psychological effects of devices, apps and AI are emerging. Ethical Design Thinking allows designers and product developers to take human values into account. But what has happened to people since the dawn of the smartphone, social networking and mobile apps? What will happen to human beings, if these effects go unrecognized and no lessons are learnt from them as tech continues to disappear into the background and trust grows in products and software that people have conversations with?

Tracks: Code and Programming, Design, Government, Health and Wellness, Intelligent Future, Social Impact, Startup and Tech Sectors

Sessions:
Able, Allowed, Should: Navigating the Complexity of Modern Design Ethics
How Do We Ethically Manipulate 2b Minds
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Sources and further information:
www.sxsw.com
www.schedule.sxsw.com/2018

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