By Laura Lorek, publisher of Silicon Hills News

Robots on display at LG Electronics’ exhibit at SXSW

South by Southwest Interactive, Film and Music continue to go on with fascinating keynote and panel discussions as well as film screenings and live performances.

Here are a few observations from this year’s SXSW so far:

  1. ANALOG CARS – I’ve never heard a car referred to as analog. In the tech world, analog is an old clock, radio, telephone, a vinyl record as an analog recording, etc. But this year, at SXSW, Malcolm Gladwell referred to cars as analog. How long before our cars become relics of the past? Go see the documentary, “Autonomy,” inspired by a story in Car and Driver magazine, for more on this discussion. The documentary debuted at SXSW following a panel discussion on autonomous cars. I never thought about a world in which we don’t own cars any longer. As a person, who like Gladwell, likes to drive, I don’t want to give up the keys to my car.
  2. ROBOT TAKEOVER – The robots aren’t coming, they are already here. At the Austin Convention Center, visitors are greeted by Briggo, the robot barista. I remember a few years ago when Austin-based Briggo brought that barista robot to SXSW as a novelty item. Now, it’s just another fixture in the convention center. And robots like that were everywhere from Kitt, the self-driving car, on display in the Expo Hall to LG Electronics’ elaborate display of robots as companions, household servants, and even entertainers and Austin-based KUKA showing off its industrial robots. And did you catch Singularity Sushi in the Japan Expo Center booth? It’s a restaurant that takes blood samples from customers (at home in a kit that is then sent to the restaurant), uses artificial intelligence to create a nutritiously balanced sushi meal and then uses robots and 3D printers to create the food in a totally automated restaurant. It’s opening next year in Tokyo.
  3. CREATIVITY – A lot of discussions about whether creativity can continue to flourish in an automated world. So far, the consensus is yes.
  4. AUTHENTICITY – Being authentic is the new, new thing. In a social media world where everything is so highly curated and Instagram photos must look like full-blown Vogue cover shots, it’s refreshing to see a return to authenticity.
  5. MENTAL HEALTH – Mental Health is on everyone’s mind. From the packed mainstage talk between Tim Ferriss and Michael Pollan on the use of psychedelics to lots of panel discussions on the epidemic of loneliness created in the technological age. It goes along with the trend of being authentic. It’s now OK to be vulnerable. But mental health problems aren’t a trend in the country. It’s a crisis that demands more attention.
  6. PROBLEMS WITH TECH – This SXSW hosted lots of discussions about the problems with technology from Roger McNamee’s discussion with Wired Editor in Chief Nicholas Thompson on McNamee’s book “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe” and the problems with Facebook’s social networking platform to the screening of the Theranos documentary: “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.” Technology does not always go according to plan. It’s important to talk about what went wrong and learn from the mistakes.
  7. PROGRAMMING – Top notch speakers, so many fascinating discussions, wonderfully executed. It’s probably the best run SXSW I’ve ever been to. They’ve got it down to a science now. If you don’t get into the main ballroom, you can still watch the speaker in the overflow room or go to dozens of sessions happening at that same moment. The real time color codes beside each session indicate from green to yellow and red and help a person figure out which sessions they can still get into. And the SXSW express passes made it easier than ever to get into things you really, really wanted to see, if you could get up and log on at 9 a.m. every day to snag one.
  8. BLOCKCHAIN – The hype around blockchain cryptocurrencies has cooled a bit, but it seems everyone is still bullish on blockchain technology.
  9. POT – Cannabis is the new buzzed about business on the rise in the U.S. and already legal in Canada. Texas still has some of the strictest laws regulating medicinal and recreational use in the country though.
  10. PARTIES – Fogo de Chao and the Entrepreneur’s Lounge Meatup is still the best party to mix and mingle with locals and special guests at SXSW for 12 years running. It’s tough to get a ticket, but if you do, it’s well worth it. Best networking in town with entrepreneurs, investors, tech industry innovators and great food and drinks.
  11. BOOKSMART – For the first time ever, I went to a movie premiere at the Paramount Theater for SXSW Film. And if you haven’t done this, I highly recommend it. It was so much fun. I stood in line for 2.5 hours now that doesn’t sound like fun, but it was. I met new people, had some fun discussions and watched people on scooters try to navigate the sidewalk crowd, homeless guys yelling at us, ambulances with sirens and so much more go by. I was ticket number 103 to get into the premiere of first-time director Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart. And it was worth the wait. The film is hilarious and so much fun. After covering so much tech, I needed to laugh and Booksmart delivered. Whoever did the casting did a fantastic job. The actors and actresses are so believable and perfect in their roles. The movie transports viewers back to a carefree high school graduation party in which everything goes awry. It’s also a celebration of friendship. It’s a coming of age movie for the digital age on par with “The Breakfast Club” or “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

BOOKSMART Official Trailer (2019) Olivia Wilde, Lisa Kudrow Teen Movie HD

BOOKSMART Official Trailer (2019) Olivia Wilde, Lisa Kudrow Teen Movie HD © 2019 – Annapunrna Pictures Comedy, Kids, Family and Animated Film, Blockbuster, Action Cinema, Blockbuster, Scifi Movie or Fantasy film, Drama… We keep you in the know! Subscribe now to catch the best movie trailers 2017 and the latest official movie trailer, film clip, scene, review, interview.