SXSW Conference gives glimpses of future technology

All eyes have been on innovation this month, thanks to the 30th South by Southwest Interactive Conference held, along with music and film festivals, from March 11 to 20 in Austin, Texas. SXSW, which is focused on cutting-edge technology, is always a reminder that in the next few decades, we’ll likely see at least as much tech change as in the past few. This conference gives us a glimpse into what that future might be. Notes on a few of this year’s SXSW sessions and events:
Making History
The conference made a historic first with the appearance of both President Barrack Obama and the First Lady in keynote speaking slots. In his onstage interview with the editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, President Obama discussed seeking improved use of technology for civic engagement – for finding information on political candidates and for voting. He spoke of the necessity of continually evolving and improving the government’s digital skills. First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the SXSW Music festival on the Let Girls Learn initiative, pushing for education for girls around the world who are not in school.
New-car ecom
Technology may revolutionize car shopping, which the SXSW schedule called “the final frontier for Ecommerce.” The SXSW session discussed issues such as moving all phases of new car sales online, as well as the continuing developments of autonomous cars and trends that have brought us the likes of Uber.
Retail convergence
Yet another SXSW session, “Culture: The New Currency of Retail,” explored the future of retail. While pointing out anything a shopper might want to buy is a click away, this session explored how the “shop experience is still indispensable.” Ecommerce companies are revisiting brick and mortar stores as retailers use spaces in a different way than just selling product. They are creating environments where consumers can experience brands and products along with other shoppers.
Beauty liberation
Technology is empowering women to make beauty more personal and letting them express themselves more diversely. A session called, “Breaking Beauty: Disruptive Technology and Cosmetics discussed how technology is liberating men and women from the “beauty myth.”

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