You might be operating under the assumption that the South By Southwest conference is largely a collection of self-obsessed futurists, CFOs and bloggers standing around in queues and talking at each other on stage about innovation, whatever that is.
You would, of course, be correct.
But this year it turns out the conference is also a place to talk about really amazing bionic legs, and really disgusting-sounding experiments involving pigs bathing in human blood.
First up, this report from Mashable caught our eye in which “extreme bionics” expert Dr Hugh Herr describes how his two amazingly advanced bionic legs have enabled him to live a different life.
“I think we will all be surprised at the speed at which bionics occurs in this century,” he told the conference. “When a part of your body is bionic, it’s not fixed in time. When there is more and more bionic intervention, identity is malleable and plastic.”
Here’s more from his talk:
Of course, it gets weirder. Much weirder:
what http://t.co/TzXN9I0v2x pic.twitter.com/RfC0qOKWwQ
— Christopher Mims (@mims) March 16, 2015
That quote comes from a report about the work of Martine Rothblatt, America’s highest paid woman and CEO of biotech firm United Therapeutics. She went on to describe how she had hired a team of scientists to create a “mind clone” of her wife. Read the full thing here.
Meanwhile some companies are going even further in the endless battle to gain mainstream attention for their app, or whatever it is they’re promoting. Take the company behind Ex Machina, the movie about a futuristic robot which was widely ignored on its UK release, but which is now in full-on promo mode in the US.
To showcase the movie the PR team set up a fake Tinder account for the star of the movie (an AI named Ava) and then sent potential matches links to a tie-in Instagram account. It might be the first time that many of the SXSW attendees actually attempted to date one of the products in attendance. Then again, knowing SXSW, probably not.