South by Southwest 2016 Opens, Highlights Tech Innovation
Ahead of his keynote today for the kickoff of the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film and interactive conference running now through March 20 in Austin, President Barack Obama tweeted that he plans to "make the case that tech and innovation can make government work better for everyone."
Obama was scheduled to speak with The Texas Tribune's Evan Smith during an afternoon talk at The Long Center. Also scheduled for the opening day of the nine-day event were presentations by Chris Urmson, director of Google's Self-Driving Car Project, and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, co-founders of a new bitcoin exchange called Gemini.
SXSW will also feature numerous other presentations and special events, as well as exhibits by companies ranging from Appcentric Software and Consumer Reports to the Innovation Alliance, SAP and the social measurement platform xSocial. Now in its 30th year, SXSW includes a music festival with more than 2,200 acts, a film festival and an interactive series of events focused on new technologies and digital creativity.
Tech Accelerator, Innovation Awards & More
In a series of tweets prior to today's keynote, Obama offered several examples of how innovative technology can improve government: simplifying online forms to speed up the application process for student financial aid; online preparation tools for the citizenship civics test; online applications for senior Social Security benefits; and even a public-private sector program that provides bulk-purchase savings on diapers to low-income families.
The president ended his string of tweets with the message, "Looking forward to discussing more ways we can modernize government so it's as smart and dynamic as America itself. See you soon, Austin."
SXSW Interactive is also set to feature an accelerator and pitch competition -- now in its eighth year -- for emerging technologies; the 18th annual Interactive Innovation Awards; a health and medical technology expo; and networking events. And SX Create, the hardware hacking and maker arm of SXSW, is hosting an event that "promises more space, more fun, and even more hands-on excitement, including everything from 3D printing to drones to biohacking and much more."
Today through Sunday, Samsung also plans to host a three-day Galaxy Life Fest music event in conjunction with the launch of its new Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones. The event is set to feature performers such as Public Enemy and The Strokes.
Nominees in Security, Smart Cities, Other Categories
This year marks the first time that SXSW Interactive will present a demonstration showcase of finalists' technologies ahead of the Innovation Awards. In addition to awards in 13 different categories, SXSW also plans to present special awards for such accomplishments as "Breakout Trend of the Event" and "Meme of the Year."
Awards are set to be presented Tuesday at the Hilton Austin. This year's finalists include five "Innovation in Connecting People" nominees: The Brain Power System; Don's Voice; GetTheMayor.com; Hackaball; and Open Sesame!. The five finalists in the category of "Privacy & Security" are: Adblock Fast; CylanceProtect; Peeple; Supernerds-A Night of Surveillance; and Torch, Let it Shine.
Other award categories include Health, Med & Biotech; Innovative 3-DIY; Music & Audio Innovation; New Economy; Responsive Design; SciFi No Longer; Smart Cities; Student Innovation; Visual Media Experience; VR & AR (virtual reality and augmented reality); and Wearable Tech.
Image Credit: Photo via SWSX Web site.
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Posted: 2016-03-13 @ 6:04am PT
So SXSW has finally become a *card-carrying* democrat mouthpiece.