SXSW kicks off tomorrow down in Austin, Texas. I plan on attending a handful of days with a laser focus on metaverse, Generative AI, and emerging technologies. Although they don’t have an AI track this year at the conference, there will be an XR & Metaverse track for the first time (if my memory serves me correctly).
It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle at South By, which is why it’s best to have an idea of the must-see stuff on your list. There’s always going to be a handful of spontaneous pop-ups that make South By memorable. But it's good to have a general plan to cover you the rest of the way.
I researched the XR & Metaverse track at SXSW 2023 and curated my 33 must-see installations, panels, and programs. The list (in no particular order) is broken down into four general categories:
- Creators – Showcasing metaverse creators and their work, as well as discussions about the Metaverse Creator Economy, and tools for metaverse creators.
- World Design – Discussions about designing virtual worlds with real value and ethics, and engineering self-sustaining virtual economies.
- Culture – Highlighting the humanity and artistry that the metaverse needs to be a positive change to the technological influence on life.
- Thought Leadership – Deep discussions over the wide-ranging impact and trajectory of XR technology.
Showcasing metaverse creators and their work, as well as discussions about the Metaverse Creator Economy, and tools for metaverse creators.
SXSW Art Program Installation - Ancestral Archives by Josie Williams, in association with EY Metaverse Lab and NEW INC [part of The New Museum]
Created by: Josie Williams
Digital Nature: Embracing Pluriversalism and Inclusivity
Hosted by: Yoichi Ochiai
The Future of Play: New Platforms, Games and Tech
Hosted by: Eden Chen, Nate Mitchell, and Anna Sweet
Is This Really Live? Performance in the Age of XR
Hosted by: Alex Coulombe, Louise Lessel, Stephanie Riggs, and Emmy Schwab
Medicine’s Metaverse: For Real This Time
Created by: Sam Glassenberg
Synchronous Realities: Live XR Entertainment
Hosted by: Kim Adams, Kiira Benzing, Alyssa Landry, and Lori H. Schwartz
Web3, Metaverse and Modern Storytelling
Hosted by: Ciara Byrne, JC Oliver, Nico Sarti, and Alex Wilson
Discussions about designing virtual worlds with real value and ethics, and engineering self-sustaining virtual economies.
The Art of Sensory XR feat. Polymorf & IDFA DocLab
Hosted by: Caspar Sonnen and Marcel van Brakel
Road to Mixed Reality - Automotive’s New Frontier
Hosted by: Timmy Ghiurau, Jeff Hanks, Sofie Hvitved, and Jussi Mäkinen
Building an Open Metaverse
Hosted by: Dean Takahashi and Timmu Tõke
Niantic AR Garden - NBA All World
Niantic AR Garden featuring 8th Wall + Ingress + Peridot
Come Play in the Real Metaverse
Hosted by: Mackenzie Jackson, Sypher PK, Jonny Shaw, and Dante Simpson
Infinity & Beyond: Designing the Future
Hosted by: Brooke Hopper
Watercooler to Headset? The Future of Workplaces
Hosted by: Bill Curtis-Davidson, Meryl Evans, Elizabeth Hyman, and Dan O’Brien
Highlighting the humanity and artistry that the metaverse needs to be a positive change to the technological influence on life.
Arts Keeping Humans at Center of The Metaverse
Hosted by: Josie Williams, Edwina Fitzmaurice, Danielle McPhatter, and Domhnaill Hernon
Bringing Cinema into the Metaverse – Now and Next
Hosted by: Diana Williams, Brian Newman, and Daniela Elstner
Future Collectibles: A Collective Effort to Bringing Luxury Goods to Web3
Hosted by: Marjorie Hernandez, Deniz Keskin, Vince Okerman, and Patrick Vogel
Bring The Noise: An Immersive Revolution in Music
Hosted by: Max Cooper, Darren Emerson, Hayley Pepler, and Dan Tucker
Creating a Music Experience in the Metaverse
Hosted by: Diego Prilusky, Michaela Ternasky-Holland, Andy Thelander, and VERBAL
The Future of Digitally Native Art and Music
Hosted by: Carrie Able, Darragh Dandurand, Tony Parisi, and Mike Pell
Deep discussions over the wide-ranging impact and trajectory of XR technology.
The Ecosystem Paradigm: Thriving-Future Tools
Hosted by: Shel Kimen and Neil Redding
Good, Evil and Avatars: Ethics in the Metaverse
Hosted by: Philip Rosedale
Creative convergence and the future of the creative economy
Hosted by: UK House
The Biz of Being Human: Volumetric Humans at Scale
Hosted by: Amy Lameyer, Jacqueline Shorter-Beauchamp, Steve Sullivan, and Piotr Uzarowicz
On Ukraine’s Cultural Frontlines
Hosted by: Sandra Bialystok, Felix Gaedtke, Amy Seidenwurm, and Mariia Tuchka
How AI and the Metaverse will Shape Society
Hosted by: Ian Beacraft
The Metaverse Mindset for Web3, AI and the Future of Business
Hosted by: Sandy Carter
The Ultimate Potential of VR: Promises & Perils
Hosted by: Kent Bye
The Great Metaverse of China
Hosted by: Arnold Ma
Metawashing!? A Futurists View on the Metaverse
Hosted by: Sofie Hvitved
Responsible AI & Human Rights in the Metaverse
Hosted by: Vasco Pedro and Jerome Pesenti
Simulating the Future: New Metaverse Forecasts
Hosted by: Jesse Damiani and Leah Zaidi