South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual film, interactive media and music festival that takes place in Austin, Texas each March, revealed a number of new technologies that have the potential to change the way we function on a daily basis. From artificial intelligence to entertainment, it seems that every echelon of society stands to benefit from technological advancement.
Though attendance was reportedly down this year, thanks in no small part to recent travel bans, the convention was still bustling with bright minds and new ideas. Here are some of the coolest new technology announcements:
Artificial intelligence dominated the conversation at this year’s SXSW. This year, ThisWay Global launched GPS, an AI that will actually do the work of recruitment agents by using algorithms to determine the best candidate for a job. CEO Angela Hood notes that this technology will replace “time-consuming and expensive” recruitment methods and will hire “without bias”. Temp agencies may soon be a thing of the past, but will this technology increase employment opportunities (and employment equality) in the long run? Only time will tell. TheSlowWay.Sucks, and this should speed up administrative tasks to spare HR departments the headache.
Self-driving cars could hit the US market as early as 2020. At SXSW, NIO unveiled the EVE, an autonomous car made with an artificial intelligence engine called NOMI at the wheel. Significant design changes may be yet to come to EVE, which is still in the planning phase, but the current iteration will certainly turn heads with a 600-mile driving range and smart display technology on the interior glass. NIO also had their EP9 car on display, currently the fastest autonomous vehicle around. If you think Manual.Sucks, here’s an all new kind of automatic ride to look forward to.
Virtuality has come a long way since Nintendo dabbled in the Virtual Boy back in 1995. It’s seen a surge in popularity as of late, with products like the HTC VIVE, Oculus Rift and Playstation VR hitting the market, to name a few. This year’s SXSW featured an array of upcoming virtual reality software, including Reinvent, which stands for Rehabilitation Environment using the Integration of Neuromuscular-based Virtual Enhancements for Neural Training. Try saying that 5 times fast. Reinvent is a prototype for technologies that could one day help treat motor impairment, like that often suffered by stroke survivors. Immobility.Sucks, so here’s hoping VR can pave the way to some new treatment plans.
Future of Entertainment
Sony invited a select number of participants to check out some prototype tech through their Future Lab Program, a San Francisco-based initiative that will offer a variety of opportunities for users to experience the latest in Sony’s entertainment R&D. One such experience is the Open Innovation Project, which features two early-stage technologies dubbed “N” and “T”. Concept N is an advancement in audio technology that will let users experience audio and music hands-free and without an earpiece. This wearable tech will offer users services like voice command and a personalized radio service. “T” turns a table or surface into an interactive space where users will be able to manipulate images and information (think: Iron Man tech!), which could innovate the way companies and individuals express their ideas—whether for work or play. Boredom.Sucks, but these advancements sound like just the excitement we’re looking for.
The creator of the World Wide Web himself, Tim Berners-Lee, expressed his concerns over the need for better security for digital information, partially due to “compromised personal data” and the increase of state surveillance worldwide. This year, the Privacy and Security award went to D3CRYPT3D by Padeca, who devised their product as a way to protect 3D assets in the public domain. D3CRYPT3D is the first software that protects 3D files from being stolen or misused. While it may not address the particular concerns Berners-Lee’s talk highlighted, any push forward in digital security and control for users is a worthwhile endeavour. CompromisedData.Sucks, but thankfully new tech is paving the way to better privacy measures online.
Technology continues to exhilarate and surprise us while making our lives more convenient, connected and creative. These SXSW highlights show that designers and inventors continue to push the boundaries of how we experience the world around us. Because, let’s face it, sometimes TheOldWay.Sucks. Maybe it’s time to embrace the future?
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Photos: Shutterstock / Franz12, Shutterstock / zhu difeng, Shutterstock / Jacob Lund, Shutterstock / Rawpixel