Space Travel, Programmable Money, and Neuroenhancement: Intelligent Future Track Sessions for SXSW 2018

Advancements in technology are streamlining every aspect of modern life. The Intelligent Future Track focuses on how these technologies will revolutionize the way we live, work, learn, and more. Take a sneak peek at the cutting-edge scientific developments of tomorrow with the Intelligent Future Track at SXSW in March – check out session recommendations below.

“We’ve long delegated tasks to the Siris and Alexas and looked forward to Spotify’s personalized playlists every Monday. But what does it mean for our society when we turn to robots for emotional support or rely on algorithms for face recognition?” asks SXSW Programmer Meaghan Hermann. A selection of Intelligent Future sessions will focus on the ethical dilemmas imposed by emerging technologies including What AI Reveals About Our Place in the Universe, Who Takes the Wheel on Self-Driving Care Safety?, Can We Create Consciousness in a Machine, and Face Recognition: Please Search Responsibly.

Explore highlighted topics in the Intelligent Future Track like programmable money, neuroenhancement, space exploration, and more. Intelligent Future sessions will be held March 9-15 with primary access to Interactive and Platinum Badges; secondary access to all other badges.

Intelligent Future Highlights

Binding Emotion & Memory: Science, Story & Scent

Speakers: Avery Gilbert (Synesthetics), Jacki Morie (All These Worlds LLC), and Saskia Wilson-Brown (The Institute for Art and Olfaction)

The smell of spring rain, morning coffee, your favorite sweatshirt, or mom’s cooking: smells can be evocative and deeply personal. As the brain interprets what the nose detects, it creates a multisensory web of memory, emotion and expectation. Fragrance design has gone beyond perfume to influence daily life. Come explore the science of odor perception and new trends in scent technology that are enhancing commerce, art, entertainment, AR/VR and more! Part of the IEEE Tech for Humanity Series.

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Earth v. Mars: The Future of Exploration

Speakers: Nicole Scott (NASA), Leland Melvin (NASA), and Brian Skerry (National Geographic Magazine)

The balance of life on Earth is intricate, interwoven and fragile. Join renowned explorers and astronauts as they dive deep into the future of expeditions on Earth, Mars and beyond. What are the risks and rewards of pushing the limits of our capabilities as a species; breakthroughs in the potential to make a new home on the Red Planet; and surprising insights that are making us rethink staying put right here on Earth.

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Bitcoin and the New World of Programmable Money

Speakers: Kathleen Breitman (Tezos Blockchain), Michael Casey (MIT Media Lab), Paul Vigna (The Wall Street Journal), and Vinny Lingham (Civic Technologies)

In 2017, the latest rocket-ship trend hit bitcoin: the “coin offering,” in which startups create their own currencies. With more than $1 billion raised, it has all the makings of a mania, but beneath the hype lies a powerful idea. Can “programmable money” be used to create new incentives within economic systems? Can one kind of code – software – replace another kind of code – law? We’ll discuss the idea’s pros and cons, with a focus on bitcoin’s own bitter power struggle over this very idea.

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Harnessing Nature to Create a Sustainable Future

Speakers: George Church (Harvard Medical School), Vijay Swarup, Ph.D. (ExxonMobil), Oliver Fetzer, Ph.D. (Synthetic Genomics), and Drew Endy Ph.D. (Synthetic Aesthetics / Stanford)

Living cells can do things no man-made machine can do — repair themselves, replicate and produce bio-based products. But like a machine, living cells can be programmed; their DNA code is their operating system. Cell-enabled products are destined to drive future economies and create disruptive solutions for global challenges: medicine, fashion, energy and design. Hear from people at the cusp of this new bio-industrial revolution — men and women who are creating solutions once thought impossible.

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Hacking the Brain: The Power of Neuroenhancement

Speakers: William “Jamie” Tyler (Arizona State University), Prof Dr. Miriam Meckel (WirtschaftsWoche), Léa Steinacker (WirtschaftsWoche), and Henry Greely (Stanford Law School)

Advances in neuroscience and consumer electronics have elevated the brain as a resource for self-optimization. Using electrodes and implants, a new industry now offers to effectively alter numerous neurological functions, including cognitive skills, motor ability, and mood. While such technological developments can help those with disabilities unlock their potential, they also commercialize artificial enhancement of humans and raise ethical questions about the brain as a productivity factor.

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Browse All Intelligent Future Sessions

Crossover Track Recommendations

Broaden your perspective by attending SXSW sessions across all 24 Tracks of Conference programming. These recommended sessions are outside of the Intelligent Future Track, but are still relevant to anyone interested in bleeding-edge tech.

Reserve My Platinum Badge for SXSW 2018

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.

Already have your badge? Learn how to upgrade to Platinum for primary access to all of SXSW and then begin building your 2018 SXSW Schedule.

Stay tuned to SXSW News and Twitter for more highlights from Conference Tracks and continued coverage of SXSW 2018.

Teaser Photo by Ziv Kruger

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