Each year, SXSW brings together some of the most creative and innovative minds to learn, collaborate and share with each other. With some 1,600 sessions across 17 conference tracks, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the next big things.
Here are a few of the topics I expect to hear a lot about at this year’s conference:
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are just the beginning for blockchain. The technology is complex, but the idea is simple. The Harvard Business Review says, “At its most basic, blockchain is a vast, global distributed ledger or database running on millions of devices and open to anyone, where not just information but anything of value – money, titles, deeds, music, art, scientific discoveries, IP and even votes – can be moved and stored securely and privately.” Security is good, and apparently the technology is difficult to cheat. While I’m sure much of the blockchain talk will go over my head, I’m very interested in learning more about other applications of the technology that are likely to transform our lives in profound ways.
AI, at its core, isn’t really that new, ebbing and flowing for the last 20 years or so. What is new is the speed at which the technology is developing to meet the need for ever-increasing amounts of data processing and understanding. AI will continue to infuse itself into our daily lives, at home, on our commute, in the workplace and beyond, so look for the buzz on AI to continue throughout 2018 and the future. I’m eager to learn how AI is maturing to become more natural, responsive, personal and proactive across its applications.
VR, with its ability to create powerful, immersive experiences and connect people across the globe, may have finally proven itself in 2017. The VR industry is valued at $2 billion and is expected to surpass $26 billion by 2022, according to a Zion Market Research study. However, for it to truly hit the mainstream, I think VR hardware manufacturers need to address form factor. Let’s face it, current headsets look funny and feel bulky, so I’m eager to see what’s coming down the pipe. Whatcha got Google, Oculus, Samsung?!
While I expect blockchain, AI and VR to be a few of the heavy hitters at this year’s conference, I’m also excited to stumble upon others as well. Stand by and be on the lookout for a full recap from the MCC crew after the conference, but if you can’t wait until then follow along with us on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MCCatSXSW.