Superpowers, Parkour And Pupil Power

Some notebook highlights from my first SXSW Interactive…

Seeing curiosity as a superpower: You all have a superpower — your curiosity, said Hollywood mega producer Brian Grazier.

Making virtual reality an active, not passive, technology with eye-tracking in Fove’s VR goggles.

Exploring the duality of unmanned aerial vehicle technology: Meeting digital humanitarians like Patrick Meier.

Think of design like parkour: Paola Antonelli, director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, who riffed on design theory and revealed she once had her heart set on becoming an astronaut.

Thinking the unthinkable: My panel with Peter W. Singer and Dave Anthony, Zero Day: What Will Be The Weapons Of World War Three?, brought a different perspective to the event and broached a subject a lot of people don’t regularly consider — but should in the tech and creative community. “While I sincerely hope that we never need to serious contemplate these questions, but it was a refreshing break from the standard SX content,” wrote an executive from The Royals, an ad agency. Indeed, that was one of our aims. ExtremeTech also covered the talk, noting the tradeoffs advanced nations face with their military and strategic reliance on technology.

 

What Will Be The Weapons Of World War III?

I’ve been to auto shows in Detroit and air shows in Paris, but SXSW Interactive in Austin is a first. I’ll be heading there this weekend to talk Saturday afternoon about the fiction and non-fiction work I’ve been doing around the future of warfare. The talk will draw heavily from my work with Peter W. Singer on Ghost Fleet, our novel that comes out in June.  We’ll focus on technology, but also how to go about creating alternative futures that have a foundation rooted in today’s realities. The conference is a great chance to talk to leading innovators, designers and thinkers about the future of defense and security — and the role the latest inventions and creations will play.

Here’s the official blurb on our event Saturday at the Austin Convention Center:
America’s military fought insurgents and terrorists for more than a decade yet tensions between the world’s great powers now make an unthinkable global conflict a real consideration. Take a tour of the high- and low-tech weapons of the next world war with renowned futurist and strategist Peter W. Singer and former Wall Street Journal reporter and defense analyst August Cole. Moderated by Dave Anthony, the acclaimed director of the best-selling Call of Duty games, the discussion will explore the wartime role of Silicon Valley startups, Americans as 21st Century insurgents, how a junkyard hot-rod mindset can save the Air Force and Navy from defeat, the art of zero-gravity combat and the critical role cyber warriors in and out of uniform will play in the next world war’s decisive battles. With unique perspectives informed by the highest levels of defense policy, journalism and entertainment, the panel will go inside the battlefield tech of tomorrow.