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The sun, heavy and oppressive over Texas, casts its relentless gaze upon the Longhorn countryside, exacerbating the heat that already envelops the land. Lake Travis, a jewel near Austin, reveals the stark consequences of our actions, standing 30 meters below its typical vibrance, a poignant symbol of distress as the dry season looms ominously.

This situation is a clarion call, underscoring the impact of climate change, our evolving dietary preferences (sushi, rice, the Californication of Texas) , and Austin’s rapid growth.) Together, these forces strain the delicate balance of the local ecosystem, painting a sobering picture of the challenges we face and the urgent need for sustainable solutions… everywhere.

New hotels, industry parks and housing areas are popping up as mushrooms, but it looks like it will take more than the omnipresent Teslas to make mother nature happy again…  


I’m all excited about my yearly SXSW experience. South by Southwest (SXSW) emerges as a pivotal nexus of interactive media, a testament to human ingenuity, insane curiosity, blatant outside of the box thinking and the relentless pursuit of innovation. Esteemed for its eclectic and unique confluence of music, nanotechnology, film, and digital creativity, SXSW transcends conventional boundaries, fostering an incubator for forward-thinking minds. Amidst the vibrant thrum of this dynamic city, the festival injects a palpable energy, rejuvenating Austin’s economy with its annual infusion of visionaries, artists, dreamers, realists, scientists and technologists (and a healthy dose of tax income 😊)


In the wake of an almost lethal COVID global pause, SXSW’s triumphant return (300.000 visitors projected for this edition!) not only heralds the rebirth of communal, regional, national and global inspiration but also symbolizes a resilient stride towards collective growth and understanding. This festival, more than an event, serves as a beacon of creative resilience, illuminating paths to novel solutions and engaging dialogues. It’s a place where interactive technology isn’t just showcased but celebrated for its potential to sculpt new narratives and foster connections that bridge diverse disciplines. There is a net-positive vibe, a glimpse of utopia that appeals to the optimist in me. That does not refrain it from putting heavy, difficult and loaded themes on the table. The 2024 edition vibrates like never before. There is a promise of change in the air…

Adapt, or die

As Austin dresses itself in the colors of innovation once more, SXSW stands as a reminder of the enduring power of community and the transformative impact of creative convergence. In this city, every March becomes a testament to the human spirit’s capacity for renewal, collaboration, and the ever-green pursuit of progress. Darwin showed us the reality of “adapt or die”, SXSW shows how humans can harness technology and innovation for the better of humanity.

Hugh Forrest, the tireless architect behind three decades of SXSW programming, anticipates a festival brimming with substantive breakthroughs. This year, the focus sharpens on how emerging technologies like AI and spatial computing are reshaping industries and society, and -if I may believe the whispering in the hallways and lobby’s- there is revolution, more than evolution on the menu.

AI: From Hype to Real-World Impact

2024 stands as a watershed year for AI at SXSW. Beyond the initial excitement, the dialogue shifts towards AI’s tangible benefits in creative domains, its influence on media, and its business implications, the impact on workforce, workplace, worktime, income, the very fabric of society… The pressing matters of AI regulation and its role in mitigating disinformation, especially in a politically charged climate, take center stage. And how intelligent are these new players? Should we worry? What are the next steps? Where is my AI butler?

It looks like there is more AI talk in town, on the day before the conference than on anything else. I’m personally very curious if my view on AI, and its coming possibilities will match what the hundreds of presenters and keynotes on that matter will share…

Spatial Computing: Redefining Digital Realities

Spatial Computing is swiftly transcending the Metaverse’s initial allure, with trailblazers like Apple’s Vision Pro and Meta’s Quest 3 at the helm, steering us into uncharted territories of digital interaction. This innovative realm, a focal point of SXSW, is reshaping our engagement with virtual and mixed realities, promising an immersive fusion of our physical and digital lives. The synergy between AI and spatial computing piques curiosity about their combined potential to revolutionize entertainment, work, and social connectivity. As these technologies mature, SXSW serves as a crucible for testing their limits and exploring how they might truly integrate into our daily existence, challenging us to reconsider the fabric of an augmented reality.

The Tech Landscape: Pivots and Possibilities

It looks like SXSW 2024 will set the stage for a deep dive into the potential futures carved out by rapid technological advances. The spotlight shines on AI and spatial computing, raising questions about their dominance in shaping our world. Yet, SXSW is also a platform for uncovering the unexpected, be it in farm-tech’s revolutionary approaches to sustainability, fin-tech’s reshaping of economic landscapes, or nano-tech’s minute innovations with macro impacts. This exploration extends to the plethora of societal ramifications of tech, examining its influence on work, culture, and values, while confronting the digital divide. I expect a comprehensive examination of how renewed mobility and computer science are not just evolving but intertwining with every facet of human life

The Future of Work and Well-being

The festival will also explore the evolving nature of work, emphasizing flexibility, remote work trends, and the critical balance of well-being in our increasingly digital lives. A world of work without technology seems impossible, but is the opposite true?  How can decision-makers, CTO’s and HRO’s harness the right technology place to ease the pain of working. Can we get rid of work-life balance, because tech helps smooth-en the effort, and it becomes an effortless stress-less part of life? I see dialogue and collaboration on the SXSW curriculum, aiming to shaping a future where technology empowers individuals and organizations to thrive in the digital age while prioritizing well-being.

Climate Change: Solutions and Strategies

In line with Forrest’s excitement for programming focused on combating climate change, SXSW dedicates tracks to discussing sustainable solutions and innovative strategies to address this global crisis. There is urgency in these developments. Professor Piccard already said that we’ll have to do what every single generation before us did: save the planet.

Or not. Time will tell 😊

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