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10 Sessions You Can’t Miss at SXSW 2017

Headed to Austin this week for SXSW? Wish you were? The tech community is about to descend on this hip Texas town to discuss the biggest trends and challenges facing the industry today. 

Diversity, AI, politics – these are just a few of the trends that are popping within the hundreds of SXSW sessions you could attend.

We’ve highlighted 10 sessions that you need to catch while attending SXSW.


1. Interactive Opening Speaker: Cory Booker 

March 10, 2017, 11am-12pm

Proving politics is a part of every aspect of American life these days, the Senator from New Jersey will be the opening speaker at SXSW 2017. SXSW just announced former Vice President Joe Biden will also be speaking at the festival, where he is expected to unveil a Biden cancer initiative. 


2. AI and Deep Learning Tech: Are We Ready?

March 11, 2017 5-6pm

Complex AI tools are here and only growing, but how will policy implications affect the roll-out of this tech? Congresswoman Suzan Delbene (D-WA), a key leader on tech policy on Capitol Hill, joins Rohit Prasad, Amazon’s Alexa Machine Learning specialist, and Terah Lyons, a former White House Office of Science and Technology Policy advisor on AI, to dissect these issues.


3. Lighting Up the Dark Web

March 11, 12.30-1.30pm

With the impact of fake news and fraudulent traffic seriously affecting the industry, this session will explore how the democratisation of artificial intelligence and user interfaces for interacting with data can construct meaning in a post-truth world.


4. This is Your Brain. This is Your Brain on Ads

March 11, 9.30-10.30am

Consumer neuroscience is shedding new light on the non-conscious aspects of consumer decision-making. A panel of experts, led by Facebook’s Dr. Naomi Grewal, will discuss cross-media consumption, screen size and physiologic response to advertising.


5. Diversity Now: Pushing Boundaries Forward

March 12, 5-6pm

Everyone is talking about diversity, but who can walk the walk as well as talk the talk? This panel makes the case for a 360º diversity strategy in the branding from the inside out, and will present a case from Avon to show that BB cream can be both a beauty product and a tool to empower minorities.


6. Advertising for Good, What Is It Good For?

March 12, 5- 6pm

More brands than ever are attaching their advertising messages to some sort of social cause. A great day for humanity? Or a shameless mechanism to sell products?


7. Ray and Amy Kurzweil on Collaboration and the Future

March 13, 12.30-1.30pm

Investor and futurist Ray Kurzweil joins his daughter, Amy Kurzweil, author and cartoonist for the New Yorker, to discuss their current inspirations and speculate about the future of storytelling, arts and technology.


8. The Future of Work: How to Innovate with Inclusion

March 13, 12.30-1.30pm

We are somewhat cheating by suggesting two sessions at the same time, but off the heels of International Women’s Day, Pinterest’s session on how to build a diverse and inclusive team while innovating seems tough to pass up. She’ll share insights on recruiting underrepresented talent in a competitive market, creating a sense of belonging on teams and influencing decision-making.


9. Beyond Scale: Smarter Ways to Think About Growth

March 13, 3.30-4.30pm

Digital publishers are constantly chasing scale, using Facebook to boost monthly UVs. This panel will discuss smarter strategies for long-term growth in the distributed age.


10. Narratives for the Digital Age

March 14, 2-3pm

Did you know the 1983 film “War Games” influenced President Reagan’s national policy on cyber weapons? This panel will discuss how film affects policies on public opinion when it comes to digital surveillance, privacy, and cybersecurity.


Check out the full schedule here.