South by Southwest 2024 is looking ahead to the future of AI, but it’s also tackling one of the year’s biggest controversies with the announcement that transgender influencer and actress Dylan Mulvaney will be one of the speakers, discussing how the extreme right tried to politicize a beer endorsement.
Mulvaney is just one of the names on the list of speakers, panelists, and panels announced for next year’s conference, running March 8-16. The list also includes a newly announced keynote speaker, chair and CEO of AMD Lisa Su, as well as two new features speakers: author and founder of Backstage Capital and HireRunner.co Arlan Hamilton, CEO of Uber Dara Khosrowshahi.
Of course, AI looms on horizon, with several panels continuing the debate begun in the first speaker list released in August, including ChatGPT head Peter Deng. In Author Your Life: Clarity in an Age of Uncertainty, Bonnie Wan, partner and head of brand strategy at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, will discuss how certain economic and professional certainties we have relied upon are disappearing. That’s a theme that will be echoed in both Billion Dollar Teams: The Future of an AI Powered Workforce and Mind-Machine Merge: Seven Future Trends in a Post-AI World of Work. However, it’s not all doom and gloom: In the HistoryMakers, Documentation, Storytelling and Black AI, Julieanna Richardson will explain how America’s biggest oral history archive will be adopting the developing technology.
As always, SXSW embraces its place as a meeting ground for futurists and prognosticators. Aldora.io CEO Joost van Dreunan will look at what’s happening in the game industry – and why so many nongaming companies are getting into the market – in All About Games. Data, Trends, and What’s Next for 2024. Rohit Bhargava, author of the upcoming Being Non-Obvious, will look at the paths yet to be less traveled in Being Non-Obvious: How Futurists See What Others Miss (And You Can Too).
And, don’t worry, there are celebrities recognizable to those of you that don’t scour the pages of tech journals. New York Times best selling author Jennette McCurdy will record a live episode of her podcast, Hard Feelings. Over on the music side, John Oates, one half of legendary recording duo Hall & Oates, will look back on his half-century career. Meanwhile, fellow Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Chuck D will join Def Jam Recordings CEO Tunji Balogun, president of Songtradr and general manager of Bandcamp Bryan Biniak, and rapper Lady London for Def Jam Renewed: The Hip-Hop Legend’s Next 40 years.
The 38th annual SXSW runs March 8-16, 2024. More details and info at sxsw.com. And don’t forget to follow all our coverage, and dig into the archives, at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Now here’s the full list of panels announced today:
• 15 Counterintuitive Tactics Smart Marketers Can Exploit: Face it, marketers, your customers and prospects don’t always make sense. Current brain science research
shows they often act irrationally, making decisions that aren’t considered. Yet you can take advantage of certain counterintuitive tactics to get them to consider you. In this session featuring author and co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at HBT Marketing Nancy Harhut, you will discover exactly what these tactics are, see numerous
market-tested examples, and gain 15 fast, new ways to increase the response to your emails, ads, web pages, etc. These tactics may not make sense, but they do make
• All About Games. Data, Trends, and What’s Next for 2024: In this session, author, professor, and co-founder and CEO of Aldora.io Joost van Dreunen will provide a data-driven overview of the current state of interactive entertainment. Discover where the $300 billion industry is heading — from shifting business models to emerging tech and
consumer behavior. Gain strategic intel, including perspectives on why non-gaming firms are pushing into the sector, the impact of Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Meta and Apple’s pushes into mixed reality platforms, and more. Whether you’re an investor, developer, brand, or just a gaming enthusiast, this session will give you a deeper understanding of this fascinating industry. You’ll also have a chance to ask questions and receive your copy of Joost’s update.
• Author Your Life: Clarity in an Age of Uncertainty: Change continues to surge at an unprecedented pace. AI and the automation era are upon us, rippling through our lives in profound ways and eroding once-dependable paths. Clarity about who you are, what you believe, and what you want is the most effective playbook to have when making your
next move in a constantly shifting and surprising world. In this session, author and Partner and Head of Brand Strategy at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Bonnie Wan will show you how to cut through the noise and reestablish clarity in your life through curiosity, creativity, and courage to thrive amid change.
• Being Non-Obvious: How Futurists See What Others Miss (And You Can Too): What if you could see the world like a futurist? After exploring the front lines of world changing trends and writing about them for more than a decade, this session will be the exclusive premiere of the new book, Being Non-Obvious (coming from Ideapress in Spring 2024) from #1 Wall Street Journal best-selling author and founder and Chief Trend Curator at The Non-Obvious Company Rohit Bhargava. Going beyond offering the usual secretive futurist’s tour of emerging trends and scenarios, this session will reveal what it takes to identify trends for yourself and isolate patterns the way futurists do. Based on his own successful work teaching tens of thousands of professionals how to be non-obvious thinkers who anticipate the future, this talk will not only share Rohit’s latest trend insights, but also open the Non-Obvious playbook on how to curate and leverage trends for yourself to help you win the future.
• Billion Dollar Teams: The Future of an AI Powered Workforce: The AI honeymoon is over, but its impact has barely begun. What happens when we no longer interact with AI on discrete tasks, but it’s pervasive in our work? We’ll reach that reality faster than we did with the digital revolution. In this session, CEO and Chief Futurist of Signal and Cipher Ian Beacraft will explore the ability and practices of AI-enabled individuals and teams to provide exponential value and show examples of how new team structures, workflows, and cultures are built, including several experiments within our own organization using AI to enhance employee productivity 10x and more on specific tasks.
• The Critical Path Forward for Affordable, Accessible Health: In this fireside chat, neurosurgeon, professor, multiple Emmy Award-winning Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN and Host of the CNN podcast Chasing Life Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Air Force pulmonologist, Medical Analyst for MSNBC and NBC News, and Chief Medical Officer of Amazon Pharmacy Dr. Vin Gupta come together for a thought-provoking discussion on the need for healthcare to adapt to meet the needs of a changing nation. Through their experience as doctors, media correspondents, and business leaders, they will shed light on technology’s role in innovating the healthcare experience to be more affordable and accessible, and building trust with patients.
• CURRAN CHATS: In this session, actress, writer, director, producer, and co-founder of CURRAN Tommy Dorfman will host a curated group of queer innovators on stage in a
fireside chat to talk about business, artistry, and liberation.
• Def Jam Renewed: The Hip-Hop Legend’s Next 40 years: In this session celebrating Def Jam Recordings’ 40th anniversary, Chairman and CEO of Def Jam Recordings Tunji
Balogun, President of Songtradr and General Manager of Bandcamp Bryan Biniak, rapper, social activist, author, multimedia producer, digital music pioneer, visual artist,
and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Chuck D, and rapper Lady London will explore the roots of this iconic hip-hop label and the key decisions that have propelled it to global
recognition for its creativity, quality, and authenticity. Discover how Def Jam’s innovative approach to nurturing and promoting diverse artist voices positions it as the epicenter of hip-hop and at the forefront of cultural vision and voice.
• Design as a Medium Within Visual Art: Join artist and professor Michael Ray Charles, art and cultural historian, professor, and founder of Vision & Justice Sarah
Elizabeth Lewis, American contemporary artist Deborah Roberts, and performance and visual artist, singer, songwriter, musician, human rights lawyer, and activist Laolu Senbanjo to discuss design and how it functions as a non verbal medium in art making.
• The DNA of a Unicorn Leader: Author, consultant, Silicon Valley veteran with 15 years reporting directly to CEOs Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Eric Schmidt (Google/Alphabet), and founder of Hipergiant Ann Hiatt has worked as the right hand to some of the most world changing CEOs and now partners with VCs to identify and invest in the next generation of unicorn leaders all over the world. In this session, she will share her methods for recognizing a unicorn, or “soonicorn”, founder in their most humble of
beginnings. Ann has the scorecard of the essential attributes, skillsets, habits, and behaviors (many of which are not what you might expect) that anyone can adopt to
increase their impact and trajectory as a leader.
• HARD FEELINGS Live with Jennette McCurdy: In this session, New York Times best-selling author Jennette McCurdy will record a special episode of her weekly
podcast Hard Feelings, from Lemonada Media.
• The HistoryMakers, Documentation, Storytelling and Black AI: Over the past 23 years, The HistoryMakers has grown into the nation’s largest African American video
oral history archive, as well as the digital repository for the Black experience. In this session, founder and President of The HistoryMakers Julieanna Richardson will discuss how The HistoryMakers is committed to making AI inclusive and informed and how AI is helping to fast track the preservation and accessibility of this one of a kind,
unprecedented digital repository.
• How Teams Can Skip the Drama and Embrace Healthy Conflict: Is there a lot of unspoken tension or gossiping on your team? Do colleagues shut down opposing views or blame others when things go wrong? Do you find yourself wishing everyone would just get along? Research shows that teams in which people feel free to safely disagree outperform other teams. And the friction that accompanies disagreement can allow for creativity and growth. But there’s a difference between healthy conflict and griping or backstabbing. You can encourage productive tension without inviting drama, and you don’t have to be the team leader to lay the groundwork for valuable disagreements. In this session, author and Host of the podcast Women at Work Amy Gallo will share
insights and advice from her latest work on how to create the right conditions for healthy
conflict, ensure conversations remain collaborative, and repair team relationships.
• How We Build Resilience and Compassion: Resilience and empathy have become cultural buzzwords. Everyone talks about how crucial they are — yet, too often, we don’t
know why these qualities matter or how we can cultivate them. In this session, learn from author and Executive Director of the Religion & Society Program at the Aspen Institute Dr. Simran Jeet Singh, who has written extensively about how these two qualities can improve our lives. He’ll discuss the biases embedded in our perceptions of resilience and how we overcome them. He’ll also share personal stories and daily practices that we can incorporate to help grow our empathy.
• John Oates Talks Fame, Fortune, and Managing A Hit Music Career: In this session, founder and CEO of music finance firm Sound Royalties Alex Heiche will be chatting
with one half of the top-selling duo in pop and rock history, Hall & Oates, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Oates. With a 50+ year career in music, Oates has seen it all while garnering dozens of top 40 hits including “Maneater”, “Out of Touch”, “She’s Gone”, and many more. Join them as they take you through Oates’ career journey as one of America’s biggest acts and reveal how he has been able to navigate the music business with lasting and meaningful success.
• Make Curiosity Contagious: Imagine you combined the four different styles of the most curious minds in the world into one person. And that person is you! You’d be lit up, your best self, more creative, more confident, and more able to change the game. In this session, founder and CEO of Now What Paul Barnett and Head of Creative Questions at Now What Hannah Singleman will get together to discuss diversity of curiosities. Grounded in their years-long research, they’ll show you in a live on-stage experiment how to channel multiple styles so your curiosity is always contagious. Are you curious?
• Mind-Machine Merge: Seven Future Trends in a Post-AI World of Work: The rise of the gig economy and remote working has made the Internet an essential front for many. Now, a Cambrian explosion of nascent technology is changing the game once again. In this session, join COO and Head of Business Development at Unstoppable Domains and
founder of Women of AI and Blockchain Sandy Carter for a glimpse into the future of work through seven transformative trends arising from the bleeding edge of technology
— where human brains and tech collide in brilliantly bizarre ways. Explore the potential of the “mind-machine merge” and uncover insights into AI innovations and blockchain
identities and gain actionable takeaways for boosting productivity through pioneering digital tools. Discover how breakthroughs in self-powered wearables and spatial
computing are fueling the rise of digital nomads and evolving the value of blue-collar roles. Carter’s utopic, tech-infused perspective invites us to re-envision how we work and embrace new opportunities to hone our productivity and proficiencies.
• Radical Respect: How To Work Together Better: Do you want to create a work culture where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered? Do you want to learn how to
foster collaboration and trust among your team members? Do you want to hear from experts who have been there and done that? If you answered yes to these questions, this session is for you! Join co-Hosts of the podcast Just Work Wesley Faulkner and Kim Scott as they share practical tips and insights from Kim’s latest book, Just Work.
• Storyworlds, Hour Blue & Amplifying Humanity Ethically with AI: A Storyworld is a conceptual immersive digital vessel for art and culture with a richness that passes the “Kyoto Test.” This is not a virtual world designed around game loops, but one that approaches the depth, messiness, and non-linear richness of our world. Can Computing Intelligence help create such a rich environment? It can, if architected correctly. In this
session, join founder and CEO of Sun and Thunder and founder of Magic Leap Rony Abovitz, designer, author, theorist, and founder of Vrai Pictures Jessica Brillhart, futurist and founding partner and Chief Creative Technologist at argodesign Jared Ficklin, and founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Wētā Workshop and 5x Academy Award-winner Sir Richard Taylor as discuss what the Kyoto test is, the Hour Blue Storyworld, and an AI system that fulfills not just a backstory, but a mythopoeia.
• Supercommunicators: Unlocking the Language of Connection: We all know people capable of connecting with anyone. They are the ones we turn to for advice, who ask the best questions, and who hear what goes unsaid. Why are these people so good at connecting? And what can they tell us about how communication works? In this session,
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and 2x New York Times best-selling author Charles Duhigg will present his reporting and insights into Supercommunicators and their
understanding that there is a science to how human beings connect.
• Top Entertainment Trends for 2024: What the Data Says: Last year on the SXSW stage, CEO of Luminate Rob Jonas revealed that music streaming platforms saw an
average of 120K new tracks uploaded per day in the first few months of 2023 – a new record high. It was just one of the many entertainment trends Jonas highlighted using
Luminate’s consumption and audience research data, the most trusted in the industry. At SXSW 2024, Jonas will be back to do it all over again, using more than 20 trillion data
points across music, film, TV, streaming, gaming, and more to inform the insights that will be shared. This year’s insights will include everything from super fan behaviors and changes in the global music landscapes to trends in SVOD viewership and how audience behaviors continue to shift in an interconnected world.
• When Beer Goes Viral: The Role of Brands & Media in Fighting Hate: When transgender influencer and actress Dylan Mulvaney partnered with a major beer brand,
the right-wing seized on the campaign. The company’s response only exacerbated things further – while conventional and social media platforms helped elevate small
groups of anti-trans radicals. In this panel, Mulvaney, President of the Human Rights Campaign Kelley Robinson, co-founder and CEO of Walton Issacson Aaron Walton, and reporter for NBC Out Jo Yurcaba will dive into the responsibility of brands and the media to not fuel the fire of misinformation and discrimination. Attendees will better
understand how to spot the pitfalls of elevating sensational, hate-filled content aimed at undermining the acceptance and inclusion of LGBTQ+ people.
• XR In The Age Of Vision Pro: The introduction of Apple’s new mixed reality headset is a long awaited milestone on the road to all day, everyday wearable, invisible computing. Samsung is working with Qualcomm and Google on an XR headset we should see in 2024. The Quest 3 is due fall of 2023, and Meta is now partnering with Magic Leap on a new spatial computing device. These headsets will be expensive at first, but that may not be a bad thing. In this session, founder and CEO of Sun and Thunder and founder of Magic Leap Rony Abovitz, entrepreneur, inventor, chip designer, and founder and CEO of Tilt Five Jeri Ellsworth, author, professor, and columnist at Forbes Charlie Fink, and
Futurist at Paramount Global Ted Schilowitz will discuss how entrepreneurs, artists, storytellers, and developers need time to create must-have applications before the
masses arrive. Will it be spatial avatar chat? Stereography? AI Assistants? Or something new?