20 Fantastic SXSW Sessions on March 15

The Forrest Four-Cast: March 15, 2017

The top-notch programming continues at SXSW on Wednesday, March 15. Today is the last day of the Trade Show, so be sure visit all of the fascinating exhibitors at the Austin Convention Center before the doors close for the 2017 season at 2:00 pm. Other can’t-miss content for hump day is as follows:

  1. 2017: A Space Odyssey — Changing Our View of Earth. In this panel, Mark Johnson, Dr. Matt Finer and Will Marshall discuss how satellites are helping us understand the planet at a global scale — from effects of wildfires to the rate of urban sprawl in developing countries, to how global warming impacts crops. They’ll explore how satellite imagery can solve some of the biggest problems facing humanity today to better prepare for tomorrow. Scheduled for 2:00 pm in Salon 6 at the JW Marriott.
  2. Are We Alone? A Discussion on Space Exploration. While conversation tends to concern E.T., new science instruments, and visionaries with big ideas, we are getting closer to discovering whether life exists beyond Earth. Renowned astrophysicists Patrick McCarthy, Taft Armandroff, Jayne Birkby and Katie Morzinski will discuss the challenges facing us when we search the universe for life, what technology we need to be successful, and what it could mean for humanity if we ultimately discover there is more out there. Scheduled for 11:00 am in Salon 6 at the JW Marriott.
  3. Blockchain Opportunities Abound: The Next Four Years! The new administration’s limited expertise in the technology sector leaves room for lots of innovation from industry experts. There is a huge opportunity for the blockchain technology to transform multiple sectors (boosting GDP and overall economic growth by double digits) especially as the Trump administration looks to bring a “business like”” focus to Washington. Attend this solo presentation to better understand this emerging market. Scheduled for 11:00 am in Salon C at the JW Marriott.
  4. Brain, Behavior, Story: Mind-Changing Narratives. Christopher Graves was recently honored with a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency for his work in connecting neuroscience, behavioral science and narrative theory for more effective storytelling. Graves, the global chairman of Ogilvy PR, has leveraged the curiosity of his former career (award-winning news executive for two decades) to create a thrilling session that will leave you with a new view of changing minds and effective persuasion. Scheduled for 12:30 pm in Salon E at the JW Marriott.
  5. Conversation with Mick Fleetwood. A self-taught drummer and a founding member of one of the most successful bands of the last fifty years, Mick Fleetwood is a rock legend. Rolling Stone’s David Fricke will interview him about his incredible career. Scheduled for 5:00 pm in Room 18ABC at the Austin Convention Center.
  6. Gutenberg to Google: How Tech Can Transform Faith. People around the globe are increasingly going to their phones and laptops, not churches or synagogues, to search for meaning. How can technologists reach out to these communities? In this session Shawn Bose and Sally Quinn join moderator Jon Meacham to explain why it’s essential to address the online needs of people of faith, including those of some faith or none at all. Scheduled for 11:00 am in Salon H at the JW Marriott.
  7. Head Fakes and Pivots: Trump Punks Silicon Valley. Futurist comedian, activist, and best-selling “How to Be Black” author Baratunde Thurston (pictured above) gives his take how the Tech Industry failed to predict the current administration and what we can do about it now. He’ll cover why geeks aren’t always the best political analysts as well as offer his opinions on the tech leaders advising Trump. Get ready for a lively discussion with plenty of audience Q&A. Scheduled for 3:30 pm in Salon AB at the JW Marriott.
  8. How Brands Do Well By Doing Good. Ben Goldhirsh, co-CEO and co-founder of GOOD and Upworthy, the newly merged social impact media company, brings together corporate leaders to discuss how brands are responding to their stakeholders and customers in this tumultuous time. What does brand management, employee engagement, and public affairs look like today? How does the new political environment challenge the global marketplace? Scheduled for 3:30 pm in Salon D at the JW Marriott.
  9. The Internet of Things You Don’t Own. What does it mean to own a device today? From appliances to vehicles to medical implants, the products we buy are built around software code. But if you don’t own and can’t control that code, do you really own your device? This panel will consider the legal tools that make this sort of control over consumer behavior possible and the legal reforms that can restore our ownership of the things we buy. Scheduled for 11:00 am in Salon 7 at the JW Marriott.
  10. Internet Policy in the Age of Government Inc. How will issues like privacy and net neutrality shift under an administration run like a business by businessmen without policy makers? What opportunities will this create? What risks will be exposed? What’s should we do about it? Former Obama Administration Chief Integration and Innovation Officer Michael Slaby leads this fascinating discussion. Scheduled for 5:00 pm in Salon C at the JW Marriott.
  11. Music Keynote: Nile Rodgers. Among music legends, Among music legends, Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional. He amplifies his legacy as a multiple Grammy Award-winning composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist. As a cultural icon and music innovator with more than 200 production credits to his name, Nile Rodgers transcends all styles of music across every generation. Don’t miss his Music Keynote at 2:00 pm in Room 18ABCD at the Austin Convention Center.
  12. Reporters’ Perspectives on Marijuana Legalization. Today media coverage of cannabis de-criminalization has evolved and is much different than it was even a decade ago. This panel will discuss the changes in how the media have reported on marijuana over the years through today. Scheduled for 3:30 pm in Salon FG at the JW Marriott.
  13. Ridesharing Had a Seat at the Trump Table — But We Quit? For better or worse — regulations (whether that be Federal, State or local) determine the fate of ridesharing. The industry had a seat on Trump’s business-advisory council but Uber bailed last minute. Attend this session to chat with Andy Tryba, RideAustin’s co-founder & CEO, to hear his unique vantage point on regulations in the rideshare industry and what it was like to start a ridesharing company after the vote that drove Uber & Lyft to leave Austin last May. Scheduled for 2:00 pm in Salon C at the JW Marriott.
  14. The Sound of Robots. Talking to robots will become an everyday routine in the robot age. Already Alexa, Google, Cortana, and Siri are familiar — and yet surprising. They can make us laugh or fill us with irritation. To highlight how the voice of robots could influence the interaction between human and robots, we present a conversation with three speakers designing and researching with robots today. How does voice influence interaction between humans and robots? Does the way they sound portray their personality? Scheduled for 3:30 pm in Salon 6 at the JW Marriott.
  15. Spiritual Pilgrimage at SXSW: Demigods & Devotees. We live in an age where popular music provides a “soundtrack” to our lives. We will investigate some of the social, ethical, and psychological implications of popular music upon the spiritual imaginations of the various participants in popular music — musician, devotee, and producer — and in turn seek an engagement with the diverse and varied contours of popular music. Further, the session will explore the relationship between music makers and their audiences from a phenomenological and spiritual perspective. Scheduled for 2:40 pm in Room 10B at the Austin Convention Center.
  16. Startup Investing During the Trump Years. How will the new administration impact the investment landscape for startups? Will funding options become more plentiful — or less so? If funding options decline, how with this impact the startup ecosystem and America’s future as the world’s top country for innovation? Join 500 Startups founder Dave McClure in this fascinating conversation with Josh Constine of TechCrunch. Scheduled for 12:30 pm in Salon AB at the JW Marriott.
  17. The State of the Open Internet In the Age of Trump. History shows us how closed systems destroy innovation and tax entrepreneurs to death. In our fight to protect the open internet, we all have something to lose. Join Quincy Larson of Free Code Camp to discuss how this battle could shift with the unknowns of the Trump administration. Scheduled for 11:00 am in Salon AB at the JW Marriott.
  18. Subconsciously Seduced by Sound. Join this experiential session to learn how this legacy of our evolution is being used in dynamic creative and personalization for digital audio, helping brands communicate the way humans do instinctively. Scheduled for 11:00 am in Salon E at the JW Marriott.
  19. Towards More Humane Tech. It’s clearer than ever that the technology industry plays as much as, or even more of, a role in shaping culture as industries like media, entertainment or even politics. With that new power that comes from being one of the wealthiest, most powerful, and most influential industries comes a new set of responsibilities that it finally seems like people in tech are ready to take on. Anil Dash will talk about the first steps. Scheduled for 2:00 pm in Salon AB at the JW Marriott.
  20. Why Tech Must Lead on Diversity and Inclusion Now. Now more than ever is the time for the Tech Industry to stand up for inclusion across America. In our session we’ll discuss key findings in working with leading tech companies on diversity and inclusion and share strategies for taking action now.” Scheduled for 3:30 pm in Salon C at the JW Marriott.

If you haven’t yet bought your badge for SXSW 2017, what are you waiting for? Online registration for March Magic is still open. Sign up now and enjoy all the creativity, networking and discovery that makes this event so special.

Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.


20 Fantastic SXSW Sessions on March 15 was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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