Featured Speakers

March 8-15, 2024

Featured Speakers are innovators and creatives at the top of their industries sharing ideas, processes, and expertise in the hopes of inspiring a better world.

Featured Session: An Inside Look at Blindspotting Season 2 – SXSW 2023 – Photo by James Lewis

About Featured Speakers


Spanning the many tracks and themes of the SXSW Conference, Featured Speakers offer attendees the knowledge, leadership and inspiration to shape their professional careers and personal lives in our ever-evolving path forward.

See You in 2024

Get ready to experience more opportunities for discovery, networking, learning, and career-enhancing connections than ever before at SXSW 2024 from March 8-16 in Austin, TX. Learn more about SXSW participation opportunities. Registration and housing for SXSW 2024 are now open.

Subscribe to Event Updates and the Conference Community Newsletter to stay in the SX know.

2024 SXSW Featured Speaker Sessions


AI and Humanity's Co-evolution with OpenAI's Head of ChatGPT

Artificial Intelligence Track

AI is changing us from creators and answerers into curators and askers. In this provocative talk with Venture Partner at SignalFire Josh Constine and OpenAI's VP of Consumer Product and Head of ChatGPT Peter Deng, they'll explore the role of humans in the age of AI. What are AI's practical and philosophical implications? How will it change our perception of ourselves? And are we all destined to become prompt engineers or happily unemployed artists?

Amy Webb Launches 2024 Emerging Tech Trend Report

2050 Track

In this mind-bending session, CEO of the Future Today Institute and professor at NYU Stern School of Business Amy Webb will provide a data-driven analysis for the emerging tech trends that need to be on your radar this year — and she'll show you scenarios that will change your perspective on the futures. In addition, attendees of this session will be in for an extra-special treat this year as they will receive a special SXSW-edition of the Tech Trend Report, which is downloaded 1 million times every year.

Building the Next Era of the Internet

Startups Track

The internet of today is a far cry from its early promise of a decentralized, democratic network of creativity and innovation; it has fallen under the control of a small group of powerful companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook. But a new era is emerging. In this session, join author, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, and founder and Managing Partner at a16z crypto Chris Dixon as he reflects on the history of the internet and how it's brought us to this critical moment: the start of the "read-write-own era," in which blockchain networks democratize ownership and grant power and economic benefits to communities of users, not just corporations. It's a vision for a better internet and a clarion call for anyone looking to build or navigate the future.

A Conversation with Alex Cooper and Matt Kaplan

Creator Economy Track

In this session, join creator, Host, and Executive Producer of the podcast Call Her Daddy Alex Cooper and founder and CEO of ACE Entertainment Matt Kaplan for a discussion about their latest Gen Z media venture and production company – Trending – which will be committed to elevating today's voices and crafting tomorrow's stories for an independent, resourceful, and inclusive generation.

Dichotomies: Visions of Technology's Role in Divergent Futures

2050 Track

A biometrics-enabled classroom could lead to acing standardized tests or isolated students. A generative AI program created for a VR headset could help a child adjust to life in a new country, or misinformation and political turmoil. An AI-driven healthcare app could prevent a serious allergic reaction, or miss an obvious indicator of cancer. With the advent of life-changing technology like AI and biometrics comes both allure and concern. It can be hard to see the possibilities these technologies will create from one vantage point, and easy to focus on just one potential outcome. In this session, Deloitte Consulting's Chief Futurist Mike Bechtel will take the audience on a journey with two paths, each with stories about how next-gen tech can both help and hinder our progress towards a more digitally connected society. Listeners will be able to picture how their lives may change in the coming years and better prepare for the ethical considerations as both designers and consumers of a technologically-driven life.

Keep It Weird: AI is a Tool For Creativity

Design Track

Generative AI can produce some pretty odd results as machines don't seem to understand human anatomy or the laws of gravity. In this session, join Principal Designer for Emerging Design, AI/ML at Adobe Brooke Hopper and author, Host of the Webby Award-winning podcast Design Matters and co-owner and Editorial Director of PrintMag.com Debbie Millman as they discuss how AI — even with some of the weird results it produces — can accelerate creativity and design without replacing it and how designers can evolve in their roles and use AI to help (not replace) their creativity.

Masterclass: Storytelling for Social Impact

Creator Economy Track

If you want to know how to turn a story into a movement, this session is for you. Five-time #1 New York Times bestselling author and Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Publisher and General Manager of The Emancipator Amber Payne have mastered the craft of storytelling to confront racial injustice in America. They have the template for how to take a single, powerful idea and reimagine it to reach entirely new audiences. Join them to learn practical insights on how you can unleash the power of storytelling to create transformative change.

Radha Agrawal: Featured Speaker Session

Startups Track

As the co-Founder, CEO and Chief Community Architect of Daybreaker, Radha Agrawal leads this global morning dance and wellness movement in five continents with a community of almost half a million people around the globe. She is also the Co-Founder of THINX underwear and the best-selling author of BELONG, which peels back the curtain on how to build the community of your dreams.

The Science & Craft of Storytelling: How to Make People Care

Advertising & Brand Experience Track

How can brands move people deeply, instill fierce loyalty and inspire people to take positive action? In this session, filmmaker and founder and CEO of Creative Breed Cheryl Miller Houser will offer a 3-step storytelling method grounded in the science and craft of storytelling to ignite powerful neurochemicals that make people fall in love, grab and hold their attention and mobilize them to take action. Interweaving illustrative clips and anecdotes, Cheryl will provide tactics that participants from all sectors can use in brand building, marketing, inspiring innovation, engaging employees, spurring social movements, creating community, and more.

Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose: The Random Show!

Tech Industry Track

In this session, join investor and five-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Tim Ferriss and serial entrepreneur, investor, and co-founder and CEO of PROOF Kevin Rose for a live recording of The Random Show for Tim's podcast! The Random Show guarantees business and life insights you won't find anywhere else, loads of hilarity between two great friends, and, of course, plenty of randomness.

Women Who Embody Revolution Through Storytelling

Creating Film & TV Track

In the midst of climate crisis, fast-paced news, social media, and increasing disconnection, hope is found in community-driven stories. In this session, join actress, producer, activist, and founder of The Rio Dawn Foundation Rosario Dawson, tribal attorney and founder of the Giniw Collective Tara Houska, musician and filmmaker Gingger Shankar, and co-founder and Executive Director of One Earth Justin Winters as they discuss their new storytelling collective Little Indian Girl, as well as the future of storytelling and the power of narrative sovereignty with women, Indigenous and two-spirit artists, and Earth guardians who embody revolution through art. When knowledge and culture is preserved, we create tangible solutions for the next generations. When power and resources are given to communities to tell our own stories, we have the power to shift narratives to change the world.


Experience the Best of 2023 Featured Speakers

Bite-Sized Inspiration: Featured Speakers Session Shorts

Auntie Deb

SXSW 2022

"We will only change our future when we recognize what needs to be changed and when we say the words out loud."

Watch Now
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks at 'Auntie Deb's Guide to Equity & Inclusion' – SXSW 2022 – Photo by Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW

Amy Webb

SXSW Online 2021

"Our goal is not predicting — it is preparing for what comes next."

Watch Now
Amy Webb - SXSW 2019 Featured Speaker - Photo by Mike Jordan

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

SXSW 2019

"I don’t think that our government is irredeemable. If I did, I wouldn’t have run for office."

Watch Now
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - 2019 - Photo by Adam Kissick

J.J. Abrams

SXSW 2016

"We want to see stories that are unique, that have points of view that might not be expected."

Watch Now
J.J. Abrams at SXSW 2016 – Photo by Judy Won

Stacey Abrams

SXSW 2019

"We have to stop allowing identity to be weaponized against us."

Watch Now
Stacey Abrams - Photo by Danny Matson

Anthony Bourdain

SXSW 2016

"Making TV should be fun. It should be a creative expression...Everybody should be pushing it and having a good day at work."

Watch Now
Anthony Bourdain - Photo by David Tait

Explore the SXSW Conference

Join Us

Dive Into SXSW News

Browse the latest announcements, programming features, and important dates.

Read On

See You at SXSW 2024

Take a look back at 2023 and get ready for the next SXSW Conference & Festivals in Austin from March 8-16, 2024.

Learn More

Conference Sponsors

Porsche logo
C4 logo
Austin Chronicle logo

Stay Tuned

Sign up to receive the latest announcements, tips, networking invitations and more.