SxSW Daily Digest | Day Four | Monday 14th March

Back in the saddle for the fourth day of the rodeo that is South by South West, and I was keen to ensure that the penultimate day of the interactive programming (which also happens to be #PiDay) would be a good one.

I eased myself in to the day with an insight in to the working of the US government with We the People: Using Tech to Solve Big Challenges. With social media and harnessing the power of modern technology having been such a famously key part of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, it was interesting to see what technological advancements have been made during his tenure in office. Also interesting, was to hear that there are currently 600 thousand tech or digital jobs open in the United States alone, and what is being achieved through initiatives to bridge the gap between unemployment and this demand like their #TechHire campaign.

Next up was a rare opportunity to watch Biz Stone – the co-founder of one of Silicon Valley’s first ‘unicorn’ start-ups, a little business called Twitter – in conversation with the founding Editor of Search Engine Land discussing his newest venture Jelly – a new kind of search engine. A famously engaging speaker, the session lived up to the hype and left us excited to see what the future has in store once Jelly comes out of closed Beta and in to the crowded digital space.

The remainder of the afternoon saw us exploring the AI treats of IBM’s Cognitive Studio. From being beaten repeatedly at rock, paper, scissors by a machine-learning computer opponent, through to being served a personalised cocktail using our mood and personal data (mine was a “Classic Sweet” – a heady blend of honey bourbon, peach schnapps, cider and lime juice – since you asked) through to taking a virtual reality bike ride through the Texan countryside – this was a brilliantly engaging and interactive playground well worth the wait.

Since the value in a trip to SxSW is not only in attending the world-class conference programming, but also in making the most of the perfect environment for new and unpredicted business relationships to be discovered and enjoyed – next stop for me was MediaMonks’ happy hour mixer to represent the Bristol Media community and ADLIB on the global stage. Who knows which friendly faces will become our next clients, collaborators or colleagues – and that’s the beauty of this sort of event.

Watch this space…

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