Modern Hacking, Programming Ethics, and AI: Code & Programming Track Sessions at SXSW 2018

The Code & Programming Track addresses topics ranging from programming best practices to ethical dilemmas of app development, and everything in between. Engineers, developers, coders, and programmers of all levels will find insight and inspiration in the Code & Programming Track sessions.

“It is clear that AI has the potential to forever change and reshape many aspects of our lives. With the rapid onset of AI, many lawmakers are scrambling to find ways to regulate this new technology,” observes SXSW Programmer Henry Heuck. In the session, Regulating AI: How to Control the Unexplainable, Andrew Burt, CPO and Legal Engineer at Immuta, will be explaining how the worlds of AI and Law are colliding, and what this means for data-driven companies, the tech industry, governments and citizens around the world. In Ceci N’est Pas Un Hacker: Modern Hacking Examined, Tod Beardsley and James Lee of Rapid7 demystify what “hacking” actually looks like outside of its representation in the news and Hollywood, and educate attendees on how to protect themselves from online crime.

Dive deeper into the Code & Programming Track below with our session highlights focused on hacking, programming ethics, building to scale, and much more. Code & Programming sessions will be held from March 9-13 with primary access to Interactive and Platinum Badges; secondary access to all other badges.

Code & Programming Session Highlights

Regulating AI: How to Control the Unexplainable

Speaker: Andrew Burt (Immuta)

The rise of AI seems unstoppable—from finance to advertising, medicine and logistics, AI is reshaping industries. But the biggest hurdle to the adoption of AI lies in how well this “black box” technology can be controlled. Indeed, the past few years have seen a rise in regulations impacting AI, and more are on their way. This talk will explain how the worlds of AI and law are colliding, and what this means for data-driven companies, the tech industry, governments and citizens around the world.

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Ceci N’est Pas Un Hacker: Modern Hacking Examined

Speakers: James Lee (Rapid7) and Tod Beardsley (Rapid7)

The public perception of “computer hacking” is often tinged with shades of youthful pranksterism, rakish criminality, and even occult magicks. Recently, however, it’s taken on a darker hue of international espionage with serious financial, political, and even physical consequences. As a result, there are some off-color misconceptions of what actually goes into “hacking,” and what the general public can do to defend themselves against online crime while understanding What’s Really Going On.

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When Programmers are Asked to do the Unethical

Speakers: Julie Bort (Business Insider) and Bill Sourour (

The world relies on software programmers, whose work can drive company behavior that’s unethical or illegal – whether helping VW cheat on emissions or assisting companies in unfair or illegal business practices. What can be done about correcting a culture that too often encourages such behavior – or is content to just look away? What recourse and protection do employees have when blowing the whistle? Does the government need to get involved, like how it regulates the financial industry?

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Exploring Problems in the Humanities with Code

Speaker: Christopher Wolfram (Wolfram)

Can data be more than just numbers? There are so many areas that could benefit from the use of code and programming that haven’t been exposed yet. Join Christopher as he walks through digital humanities (using computational tools in areas where computers haven’t been used as widely), illustrating the benefits of adding a computational element to non-traditionally computational areas.

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Built to Scale: Why “Pause” for a Design System?

Speakers: Alby Barber (Eventbrite), Long Cheng (Pinterest), Laura Skelton (Airbnb), and Marcin Treder (UXPin)

Design that doesn’t scale well hurts—it’s a short-term approach impacting product sprints and ability to ship quickly. Design systems offer a magic solution, but the pause in engineering resource is not easy to justify. They’re not just about pretty buttons—they’re about speed-to-fixability that ensures silo’ed bugs don’t sink your UX. Hear from (+ learn from the mistakes of) the Airbnb, Eventbrite & Pinterest folks involved in selling in of concept, proof of value, & successful creation of a DS.

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Code & Programming sessions will be held from March 9-12.

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Crossover Track Recommendations

SXSW is the perfect place to get outside of your comfort zone and learn from SXSW sessions across all 24 Tracks of Conference programming. These recommended sessions are outside of the Code & Programming Track, but focus on topics in various industries that are relevant to programmers.

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Purchase your SXSW Badge and reserve your hotel today to experience these sessions along with 10 days of screenings, showcases, exhibitions, networking, and more this March 9-18 in Austin, TX. Take the Tracks Quiz to discover which badge will suit your needs.

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