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SXSW 2017 | 7 Interactive Panels You Won’t Want to Miss

From telepathy through to robots holding conversations, here are the SXSW Interactive 2017 you need to see.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

SXSW Interactive 2017 will make its way to Austin, Texas from March 10 – 19, with the event set to host a range of panels and exhibitions that will lift the veil on the future of our increasingly tech-reliant world.

The sheer wealth of things to see and do at SXSW can be overwhelming, with the continued growth of the festival meaning that it’s easy to miss out on some of its more interesting panels. As such, we’ve provided a rundown of the SXSW Interactive 2017 you won’t want to miss if you’re attending the festival next month. Take a look below:

Also: 24 Must-See Films From the SXSW 2017 Film Festival

Life After Gawker

Nick-Denton-Gawker

Gawker CEO Nick Denton. (Image Credit: Pool / Getty Images)

Date: March 12

Time: 11am – 12pm

Where: Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D

Access: Platinum Badge

The ‘Life After Gawker’ panel is set to be one of the key talking points coming out of SXSW Interactive 2017, with the site’s former CEO Nick Denton speaking to Jeff Goodby about the future of news delivery and the freedom of the online press. Denton was in the headlines frequently throughout last year as a result of Gawker’s legal battle with Hulk Hogan, a case which — thanks to the secretive funding of LinkedIn co-founder Peter Thiel — eventually saw the Hulkster taking the publisher to the cleaners. Denton should have plenty of stories to tell, making this one unmissable for those with the splash to cash on a Platinum Badge.

 

Humans and Robots in a Free-For-All Discussion

Date: March 12

Time: 3.30pm – 4.30pm

Where: JW Marriott, Salon 5-6

Access: Platinum Badge, Interactive Badge

There’s a growing concern that artificial intelligence will one day inherit the Earth from humanity, with prominent figures from Stephen Hawking through to Elon Musk explaining the likelihood of such a scenario. In this SXSW Interactive panel, roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro and NTT’s Ryuichiro Higashinaki will join Courtney Goodson in holding a free-flowing conversation with two state of the art robots, each designed to be conversational companions for humans. Watch the video below, be freaked out and then consider getting yourself a ticket to this panel.

 

Disrupted: Ending Bro Culture and Bias in Startup-Land

When: March 10

Time: 3.30pm – 4.30pm

Where: JW Marriot, Salon 5-6

Access: Platinum Badge, Interactive Badge

The lack of inclusivity in the tech industry has been a talking point for years now, but while moves are being made by major companies to hire more female members of staff, the “bro culture” that envelopes many startups is still off-putting to women looking for jobs in the sector. Dan Lyons, author of Disrupted: My Misadventures In The Start-Up Bubble, will discuss how the industry has seen the rise in a number of billion-dollar startups over the past decade, but has also brought with it a great deal of dysfunction in terms of the treatment of employees.

The Future of Warfare

When: March 13

Time: 11am – 12pm

Where: Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG

Access: Interactive Badge, Platinum Badge

Artificial intelligence is changing our jobs, our domestic lives and, thanks to sex robots, even our love lives, but it’s also making an impact on the battlefield, too. In this panel, the director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office Will Roper talks with WIRED’s Nicholas Thompson about “the ways that robots, artificial intelligence, and new weapons will shape the future of warfare.” The discussion promises to be a thoroughly interesting glimpse into our future, and will potentially provide further evidence of the Skynet-induced apocalypse.

Refinery29 and Kesha Discuss Reclaiming the Internet

Kesha

Image Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

When: March 14

Time: 3.30pm – 4.30pm

Where: Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D

Access: Platinum Badge, Interactive Badge, Film Badge, Music Badge, Artist Wristband

Kesha has spent much of the past couple of years in the news due to her legal battle with her former producer, with the stories emerging from this court case inevitably making her the subject of much scrutiny online. The singer will speak with Refinery29’s Chief Content Officer Amy Emmerich in a panel about how women “must reclaim their domain, taking ownership of their lives online – and IRL.” With there being plenty of conversation about the harassment of women online, this is a timely topic discussed by a woman who knows what it feels like to have an unfortunate spotlight placed upon her.

 

Telepathy Meets Medical Imaging

When: March 14

Time: 9.30am – 10.30am

Where: Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG

Access:  Interactive Badge, Platinum Badge

Mary Lou Jepsen talks with Sunny Bates about how we’ll “soon be able to communicate with thought alone,” discussing the implications of her OpenWater startup, which aims to produce technology that will allow for fMRI-type imaging inside the body at the price of consumer electronics. Jepsen, who was named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world and ranked among CNN’s top 10 thinkers in science and technology, will expand upon why her ambitions could change our future, make us smarter and improve our chances in the job race against artificial intelligence.

 

Imgur’s Fight to Keep the Social Internet Authentic

Imgur-SXSW-2017

Imgur founder Alan Schaff. (Image Credit: SXSW / Imgur)

When: March 10

Time: 11am – 12am

Where: JW Marriott, Salon 5-6

Access: Interactive Badge, Platinum Badge

Imgur’s Alan and Sarah Schaff discuss their plans to “democratize the social internet” with Inc Magazine’s James Ledbetter, discussing how the image sharing site “became the top social and entertainment destination by breaking people outside of their feeds and friends’ lists,” and how they look to replicate its success with their new venture. This should prove to be a great panel for those interested in the future of the social internet, and a look at the people helping to shape its future in an increasingly uncertain world.

Featured Image Credit: Osaka University