AI at South By: A Guide to the 10 Most Interesting SXSW 2018 AI Panels


For lovers of film, music, and technology alike, South by Southwest is a unique opportunity to see a variety of industry leaders come together in one central location. As a massive event lasting 9 days and spanning 144 venues all over the city of Austin, SXSW can be overwhelming. Here’s our list of the top 10 most interesting AI panels to add to your South by Southwest schedule this year.

#1: The Power of Vertical AI in a Monolithic AI World
March 9, 2018 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Hilton Austin Downtown Salon J
Of course our top spot goes to SparkCognition Founder and CEO, Amir Husain. Hear from Amir and expert panelists Mary Ann Azevedo, Khari Johnson, and John Price on the growing role of vertical AI (the specialized AI approach to large, challenging tasks like buying a car or preventing a cyber attack), and what it has already accomplished for their companies.

#2: Scouting 2.0: How AI Can Predict Player Success
March 9, 2018 | 12:30 – 1:30 PM | JW Marriott Salon C
Sports lovers and tech lovers come together for this panel by SparkCognition’s General Manager IoT, Usman Shuja. Together with Bobby Basham, Assistant Director of Player Development for Chicago Cubs Baseball, he will speak to how artificial intelligence could help modernize the professional athlete scouting process by predicting the future success of players.

#3: A Roboticist, Ethicist, & Novelist Walk Into a Bar
March 9, 2018 | 5:00 – 6:00 PM | Fairmont Manchester EFG
Learn the difference between science fact and science fiction as specialists discuss emerging technologies from the different perspectives of the fields they are from: on robotics (University of Tennessee professor Lynne Parker), on ethics (Cal Poly assistant professor Ryan Jenkins), and on storytelling (senior editor with IEEE Spectrum Stephen Cass and best-selling author Robert Venditti).

#4: Humanizing Autonomy
March 10, 2018 | 3:30 – 4:30 PM | Fairmont Manchester CD
Distrust autonomous machines? Seen too many sci-fi movie robot takeovers? You’re not alone. Redefine the relationship between human and machine, and see how the next wave of technology can change the future for the better. Hear from speakers Liesl Capper Yearsley, CEO of AI Life, Sophie Lamparter, cofounder of the testing lab DART 17, Alexander Mankowsky, a futurist at Daimler AG, and Maya Pindeus, CEO and Co-Founder of London start-up Humanising Autonomy.

#5: From AI to EI: Empathy is the New Tech Superpower
March 12, 2018 | 3:30 – 4:30 PM | Hilton Austin Downtown Salon K
In today’s digital age, more technological connectivity can mean less human connection. Explore how technological empathy might be the missing piece, and what the role of AI is in building toward this with speakers Marie Glad (Professor of UX at Barcelona Technology School), Oisin Lunny (Chief Evangelist at OpenMarket), Belinda Parmar (CEO of The Empathy Business), and Min Teo (Executive Director of Global Operations at ConsenSys).

#6: Investing in the Autonomy Economy
March 12, 2018 | 5:00 – 6:00 PM | Hilton Austin Downtown Salon DE
Take a look at autonomous machines from the investor’s perspective. Learn what’s coming next, what’s already arrived, and what this means for investors from the investors themselves: Daniel Burestein, Managing Partner at Millennium Technology Partner Values, Eric Daimler who recently served the Obama administration in the AI and Robotics workstream, Andra Keay, Founder of Silicon Valley Robotics, and Oliver Mitchell, partner at Autonomy Ventures.

#7: The Misinformation Age: Can AI Solve Fake News?
March 13, 2018 | 5:00 – 6:00 PM | Hilton Austin Downtown Salon DE
The term “fake news” is old news these days, but with the amount circulating and the quality of appearance these fake sites are taking on, it can still be very difficult to identify. With the help of panelists Mark MacCarthy (senior VP for Public SIIA’s public policy), Armineh Nourbaksh (a research scientist at Thomson Reuters), Andy O’Connell (Facebook’s Manager of Global Policy Development), and Amie Stepanovich (US Policy Manager at Access Now), examine how AI could help journalists to push back against this growing problem.

#8: When AI, Beatboxing & Mixed Reality Collide
March 15, 2018 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Hilton Austin Downtown Salon DE
What’s South by Southwest without a little music? Experience a new kind of art from director Rama Allen of The Mill and artist/beatboxer Harry Yeff that incorporates the world’s first musical collaboration between a human, AI, and AR.

#9: Don’t it Make You WannaCry
March 15, 2018 | 12:30 – 1:30 PM | JW Marriott Room 203-204
On May 12th, 2017, ransomware by the name of WannaCry hit nearly 100 countries in an unprecedented online attack (and SparkCognition’s DeepArmor® caught it!). Speaker Gary Davis, McAfee’s Chief Consumer Security Evangelist, explores connected life in 2020, and examines how malware like WannaCry would pose a bigger threat than ever.

#10: Bots, Trolls, Warriors & The Path Ahead
March 15, 2018 | 12:30 – 1:30 PM | JW Marriott Room 201-202
Bots, trolls, and warriors are all terms for digital weapons used by online attackers in the digital age. Chief Social Scientist at Endgame, Andrea Little Limbago, explains how these tools are being used maliciously, and the strategies and techniques that can be used to defend against them.

These are just a few of the amazing AI-related panels in a sea of tech start-ups and innovation. Mixed with on-the-verge music and film screenings, South by Southwest is an exciting time to travel the city, make memories, and of course, learn about artificial intelligence.

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