So Many Robot Sessions at SXSW
Once purely the domain of science fiction, robots are increasingly a fact of life in the 21st century. Do we consider them a friend or a foe? You decide by attending these 10 robot-related sessions at the 2020 SXSW Conference.
AI Visualized: Prepping for the Robot Revolution (March 21): The rapid advancement in AI technology leaves the world at an acute crossroads. Join a panel of AI entrepreneurs, ethicists, futurists, and sci-fi writers to discuss whether a dystopian or utopian future is ahead.
This AI Space Robot Fixes Problems by Listening (March 19): SoundSee technology is currently riding on NASA’s Astrobee Robot, an autonomous free-flying bot floating through the ISS “listening” for mechanical issues by analyzing audio data. This session discusses the challenges in sending the invention into space and how this unique implementation of AI can have additional applications on Earth.
Funeral for a NASA Robot: Empathy in Storytelling (March 14): NASA operates missions over decades, and those plucky space explorers become part of the family. So, saying goodbye is personal. Find out what it takes to create a successful shared experience in the public realm and hear personal stories from the NASA teams who lived with — and helped give life to — those robotic explorers.
Imagining the Future: Autonomy and Flying Robots (March 15): Imagine the future with autonomous vehicles and robots: what they will look like and how will they act? Dive into the world-changing possibilities of autonomous transportation from the viewpoint of industry leaders.
Love and Intimacy in a Robotic Age (March 15): Artist Stephanie Dinkins researches how relationships are changing and how robots and humans might learn from each other as possible companions. This session will discuss responsive love, ethics and symmetry in our search for companionship, and the possibility that in the future not humans, but machines, might become the experts of love.
Love, Robots, Mars: Becoming an Astronaut (March 20): In the near future, an increasing number of people will be able to experience space, and astronauts will begin to undertake long duration space missions. This session will discuss the things aspiring astronauts and future space explorers can do while still here on Earth and how collaboration and mutual support get us all further.
The Reality of Sci-Fi: From Fantasy to Future Tech (March 16): The ability to dream and imagine powers both science and science fiction. This diverse panel of scientists and authors will discuss the creative process behind science fiction storytelling and its impacts on the real-world science of today and tomorrow.
Robotics for Well-Being (March 18): Conventional robot technology has been used mainly for factory automation, however, a wide variety of industries and areas of life stand to benefit from robot technology. This session will explore improvements in quality of life and the use of robot technology for well-being.
Robots: Today, Tomorrow, Future (March 20): Marc Raibert gives a status report on the robots being developed at Boston Dynamics, including general-purpose robots that support innovation and ecosystem, special purpose-built robots that address existing commercial opportunities, and R&D robots that will lead to the robots of our dreams. The presentation will include a live demonstration of the Spot robot and the World debut of Atlas performing its latest maneuvers.
Robots and Automation: Happier Healthcare Workplaces (March 16): The state of Texas alone will face a shortage of 70,000 registered nurses in 2020, but advancements in robotics present a possible solution. This panel will discuss the future of robotics and automation in healthcare.
Social Robots Empowering Humans (March 17): People spend increasing amounts of time on busy work, leaving less time to spend on the activities we love and are best at as humans. Robot teammates have the potential to improve people’s work and daily lives by helping with our busy work. Come and imagine a future where robots and humans work positively together.
Swarms: Current Research and Future Applications (March 18): Collections of robots working together to achieve tasks — swarm systems — represent an exciting and intriguing means to solve problems in novel ways. A panel of experts will discuss current research and development efforts in swarm systems and the future of swarms.
We Will All Become Cyborgs (March 18): Biological evolution is slow and cannot keep pace with the technological explosion of the 21st century. The next cognitive (r)evolution is about to happen; we will merge the best of human and technology for the benefit of both. Get all the details from Olivier De Simone of CyborgNest Ltd and Leila Delarive of Amplify.
Browse the full 2020 SXSW Conference schedule via this link. Walkup badges are still available for all beings, whether you are made of steel or of carbon —click here to register online. Special registration rates available for groups and for students.
Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.