Acclaimed science-fiction writer Bruce Sterling will again deliver the Closing Remarks at SXSW Interactive. Sterling’s state-of-the-industry, state-of-the-world rants are one of the true highlights of the event, so don’t miss the 2013 version (vision).
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The rising amount of data exhaust of the past years has created the need for more and better tools to analyze what lies within this massive amount of raw material. Visualization leveraging the human cognition proves to be an invaluable tool to explore, digest, analyze and communicate the information. We reveal patterns, trends, relations or dependencies that were buried before. But, what happens after we have created such an elaborate and powerful visualization and released it to the world? How does the it affect the beholder? How does it help shaping his opinions or even changing his behavior? Because, at the end of the day, visualization is simply a means to an end — a tool to achieve a bigger goal. We have agreed that visualization as an instrument for analysis and communication works. Now, let’s answer the question how visualization can make an actual impact on education, economics, politics, society and the digital revolution.
With the ready availability of social media, digital databases of ID photos, high-resolution cameras and free, powerful face recognition software that can run on smartphones, we are entering into an unprecedented shift in the visual privacy of everyday people. Technology that was once the domain of authoritarian states, is now being put to use by the hottest tech startups, who often lack the capacity or capability to consider the broader cultural impact.
What right do people have to control personal images in a socially-networked age or to be visually anonymous in a video-mediated world? Startups like Viewdle are building compelling user experiences that correlate people who appear in photos taken with your smartphone, with all of the profile photos stored in your address book and social graphic. The question is, how is it decided who can be recognized and indexed, how and when, and where does control of that record reside?
The ObscuraCam project (developed by WITNESS and the Guardian Project, funded by Google) will be shared as one countermeasure to these trends. It is a mobile app that allows users to automatically conceal faces or objects in photos and video, using pixelization, masks or redaction. It also removes extra metadata, such as GPS location, often stored in media.
Bryan Nunez will represent WITNESS, presenting human rights advocacy driven user stories and challenges. Harlo Holmes will counter with "privacy by design" technology solutions.
Speakers: Bryan Nunez, Harlo Holmes
While many have described the new world of remix culture where “nothing is original,” few have provided practical advice for those of us who find ourselves living and making things in it. Join filmmaker Kirby Ferguson (creator of the video series EVERYTHING IS A REMIX) and artist Austin Kleon (author of NEWSPAPER BLACKOUT and STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST) as they show clips from Kirby’s work and discuss how one best goes about being a creator in the digital age.
The browser wars panel has been an SxSW institution, and gives us a forum to bring browser vendors to to the table to take stock of new developments on the web. As in years past, we’ll bring Mozilla (Firefox), Google (Chrome), Microsoft (IE), Opera (Opera), and maybe Apple (Safari) to the table to speak of developments on the web, and to share their unique perspectives as those who make the platforms on which the web is viewed.
Our tag line this year places tongue firmly in cheek. Interesting chatter continues about applications on the web. What’s the story with browser-based app stores? While we’re at it, microdata has been embraced by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, but the web seems underwhelmed by schema.org. And why hasn’t HTML5 video changed our lives already, and why aren’t there any real peer-to-peer apps on the web yet? And, is WebGL ready or just sodden in hype? We’ll get candid on this panel, and take stock of the era of modern browsers, mobile apps, and Angry Birds.
The Internet today consists of a morass of partial and redundant content: the ~17m businesses and POI in the US, for example, are duplicated over 1.2 billion website across over 5 million domains. This tangle of duplicate, fragmentary, and often incorrect information ensures that unequivocally identifying a person, place or thing on the Internet will always be a challenge. The members of this panel are working to fix this, and will discuss their projects in the Library, Government, and Big Data sectors to create an Internet where real-world people, places, and things can be referenced unambiguously. It focuses on pragmatic, real-world examples: the panelists from Factual, the Sunlight Foundation, Jetpac, and the Internet Archive each highlight their specific experiences in creating platforms and apps that identify and disambiguate individual entities across applications and verticals, and describe both the pitfalls and benefits of working towards an Internet of Entities.
This solo presentation will cover the culture of fear and the consequences of visibility. Acclaimed researcher danah boyd will weave together the predator panic and bullying phenomenon with the socio-political dynamics around otherness, the rise of fear alongside the increased ability to connect with others around the globe, the empowering rhetoric of the Arab Spring along the rise of local networks of power. She will call into question some of our utopian assumptions about all of the automatic democratic possibilities of technology and offer a challenge to folks about the need to step out of our techno-bubble and engage with people who are fearful of technology.
An advertising agency sparked controversy at the South by Southwest technology conference when it hired homeless people in Austin to act as "Homeless Hotspots." Critics charge that it exploits the homeless. But Megan Garber, a staff writer for The Atlantic, sees some good in the project.
The Lean Startup debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. This talk draws on stories and insights from the book, explaining the new science of entrepreneurship. Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business. The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counterintuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
The web is founded on open, decentralised principles. This means anyone can build a site that can link to any other, without any need for proprietary technology. No one owns e-mail, usenet or http, but social services like Facebook and Twitter are—for the most part—silo’d businesses with their own networks and proprietary APIs. You can join them together in code, but they’re not in any way ‘interoperable’.
This panel will explore why large and centralized seems to dominate, whether it’s a bug or a feature. We’ll take a critical eye at new attempts at building distributed social web products like Diaspora. We won’t be focusing on the technical specifications as much as the end user experience and the business models that could support them. If a distributed service wouldn’t be fun, easy to use or profitable, then is there really any point in building one…?
Evan Prodromou, CTO, StatusNet Inc
Founder and creator of the StatusNet open source social platform, Evan is the co-chair of the W3C’s working group on federated social web technologies.
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