SXSW offers some of the most diverse panels and events at its Interactive conference from hardcore tech panels about apps, algorithms, and VR to lighter panels featuring Kerry Washington talking about social media and “Scandal.”
SXSW Interactive is so expansive that we curated a short list of can’t-miss events by the type of attendee: “The Techy,” for hardcore tech geeks and professionals; “The Entertainment Junkie,” for pop culture lovers; and “The Networkaholics,” for those who are here to shake as many hands as possible.
The Techy: Robot Ranch
If you’re looking for a break from the heavier, more cumbersome tech panels, SXSW is hosting its first ever Robot Petting Zoo to showcase a robotics and artificial intelligence in a fun and friendly way. This ranch will function in the same way as a petting zoo, where each robotic company will have their own fenced in “pen” that allows attendees to get their hands on and chat with the robots. In a world where there is a lot paranoia about artificial intelligence and the negative impact it might have on the future, this ranch offers a non-intimidating way to interact with something that can be bit intimidating even to the biggest tech fanatic. Robot Petting Zoo will be held March 11-13 at the Palmer Event Center.
Entertainment Junkie: Marie Claire Talks to the Stars of “Broad City”
The two creators and stars of Comedy Central’s “Broad City,” Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, will sit down with Marie Claire’s editor-in-chief Anne Fulenwider to talk about how they turned a super low-budget web series into a cultural phenomenon. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, “Broad City” is a critically acclaimed comedy about two brash, pot smoking, dysfunctional yet lovable best friends trying to make it through their 20s in New York City. It’s funny, feminist, and is breaking every barrier and glass ceiling on what it means to be a funny woman on television. Expect many laughs and crazy funny moments in this panel as well as insights on how much web is influencing traditional television and how the two are beginning to converge. Even if you haven’t seen this show (which I highly recommend), if you love entertainment you must go to this panel. This event will be on March 12 from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. in the Austin Convention Center Ballroom EFG.
The Networkaholic: MVMT50’s Innovator Awards
If you’re looking for a more unique way to network at SXSW, don’t miss out on MVMT50’s Innovator Awards. MVMT50 is a coalition comes together every SXSW to gather and highlight the most groundbreaking black leaders and innovators in technology, media, and entrepreneurship. Not only are they are curating 30 panel sessions and conversations during the first weekend of SXSW Interactive on black leaders in tech, they are also hosting an annual welcoming reception at The Innovator Awards on the opening night of SXSW Interactive. This award show honors 10 individuals breaking the mold in the tech, digital, media, entrepreneurship, and innovation space and is a hotspot for anyone who is anyone including tech innovators, content creators, influencers, and bloggers. If you’re looking to get your name out there in a less traditional way than the typical SXSW Meetup, this is the place to go. The Innovator Awards will take place on March 11 at 6 p.m. at the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center.
Something everyone can enjoy: Barack Obama’s Keynote Conversation
If any single event defines SXSW as one of the top festivals in the world, it’s that for the first time ever a sitting president will be a keynote speaker at SXSW. Barack Obama will discuss with Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune about civic engagement in the 21st Century. This monumental event is the first of its kind in the history of SXSW and represents the increasing importance of embracing tech and innovation in everyone’s everyday life. This talk is easily the one of the most important, if not the most important, events in the entire festival and is a must see for everyone. Unfortunately, Barack Obama’s event will be closed to the public, but it will be live-streamed at 2:30 p.m. on March 11 in Ballrooms D and EFG and Room 18ABCD at the Austin Convention Center.
Stay updated with SXSW coverage starting this Friday, March 11 on Twitter @shuffleonline and @isitdanaordonna.