South by Southwest Bound and Down

by Jay Cuthrell
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This week we take a look at South by Southwest® (SXSW®) from SxSW 2008 to SxSW 2024.

Musical inspiration in title and lyrics:

Getting Informed

I submitted a proposal for a talk at SxSW 2024.

  • Title: _Have Your AI Call My AI in 2024_
  • Audience: Founders, Hackers, Enthusiasts, Tinkerers, and Dreamers
  • Format: Presentation
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Track: Artificial Intelligence

What if every human had a fundamental right to have their own AI… for the express purpose of interfacing with other AI? A decade ago, my blog post “ESTEEM is STEM plus Ethics plus Empathy” considered disruptive technologies such as AI and the need for expanding STEM to include Ethics and Empathy. Then in 2016, the blog post “Have your AI call my AI” was provoked by hyperbolic claims of AI taking over everything. Now, as we enter 2024, societal considerations for AI have shifted from hyperbole to practical impacts and the need for increased caution as well as public private governance.

Voting will begin on Tuesday 08 August 2023 and end on Monday 21 August 2023 — super exciting!


Before I go further down the SxSW 2024 rabbit hole, it’s time for reading 📖, watching 📺, and listening 🎧 suggestions:

We’re gonna do what they say can’t be done 🎶

Back to SxSW for a moment… and looking back 15 years to SxSW 2008.

I wrote The Taco Thesis in 2008. It was my first time attending SxSW.

  • Was it my best writing? No.
  • Are there cringe elements? Yes.
  • Have I grown up a wee bit since 2008? Gosh, I like to think so.

In March 2008, besides SxSW, many things were not what they are today — myself included. So, it’s nice to look back and reflect a bit — even if there is repeating of some history that rhymes.

The market cap of Apple was _only_ ~$76B and at the time of SxSW 2008, Apple announced +100K developers had downloaded the beta iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK).

The glitter backgrounds of MySpace were found on many of its ~100M users at the time of SxSW 2008. If those user profiles had an auto-play profile song, it was probably “Low” by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain — which like cost MySpace a small fortune and was eventually disabled.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline at the time of SxSW 2008 was around $3 and would later peak at around $4 for the year. So, the talk of post-financial crisis or a new improved crisis was fodder for then traditional news media.

We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there 🎶

Now, it’s time to talk about SxSW 2024. As you might expect, I have plans.

I just _successfully_ purchased a badge for SxSW 2024 and, for now, have marveled at the going rate for the hotel room where I usually stayed during prior SxSW years 👀💸🤔.

Screenshot 2023-08-06 at 5.33.52 PM.png

Granted, SxSW is a polarizing prohibitively pricey event for most, and as someone that lived in Austin, Texas for years — yes, I understand that vibe. Still, my goal is to visit, learn, share knowledge, and contribute to the local economy whenever possible / practical.

Of course, like any conference, SxSW is a socially oriented event but was also where early social media latched on in a big way. However, as with most web properties, change is hard — and the SxSW Social (a sort of SxSW only social network) still prompts you for Google+… perhaps in a bid to collect all those Google Workspace folks moving from what was Google+ for Business to what became Currents to what is now Spaces? 🤣

Screenshot 2023-08-06 at 5.23.33 PM.png

As of this issue of Fudge Sunday, SxSW Social does not recognize Mastodon (how would it?) or Bluesky or Fediverse alternatives.

Also, I am not a gamer per se — but in 2008, I opined there should be a “SxSW Games”. Clearly, I was not alone in that opinion so it eventually came true and now it is three (3!) days long.

Screenshot 2023-08-06 at 6.29.44 PM.png

You might have noticed the five (5!) day block devoted to _“ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE”_. Again, I’m pumped for Panel Picker voting to begin this week!

Leading up to March 2024, I plan to justify my investment by capturing all my findings in Fudge Sunday installments. Eventually, my findings will culminate in a bigger summary issue on Sunday 17 March 2024 (or the week after if I need to recover from the dreaded “SxSW-crud”).

So, what will be the next big thing at SxSW 2024 and beyond?

Until then… Place your bets!


I am linking to my disclosure.



✍️ 🤓 Edit on Github 🐙 ✍️

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