A Tech Director’s SXSW: Adam Serota's Key Areas of Interest for 2018

Over the course of this week, we’ll be sharing our thoughts about the much-debated South by Southwest Festival. Many agencies have scaled down their presence to the event, some even stopped going. As for us? More than ever, we see it as an amazing moment to energise our teams, find inspiration and connect people who don’t usually meet face to face. Over the next few days, we’ll be sharing some of the team’s point of view on the event, from our CMO’s vision on why we’re prioritizing such a festival to our CEO’s strategy for making the most of the event – and don’t forget our Sales Manager’s classic How to Win at SXSW!
Today in this series is our Technical Director Adam Serota’s key areas of interest this year. Enjoy!
Hi, I’m Adam and I’m a SXSW virgin 🙂 At this time last year, I was not in Austin, no. At this time last year, I was halfway up Mount Everest. So it’s fair to say that SXSW has some great heights to live up to this year!
As The Social Element’s Director of Technical Solutions, I am constantly keeping tabs on the latest tech and tools within the social realm. This year, instead of being in Nepal, I’ll be searching for new heights in Texas, looking at new tools, emerging technologies and partnerships within the social field. I am especially excited to see what’s on offer to help brands better communicate with consumers via artificial intelligence, virtual assistants, automation and any innovative approaches to social insight monitoring.
Four sessions I’m super excited to attend are:
Developing for the Age of Digital Assistants
MAR 9, 2018 | 3:30PM – 4:30PM
I have a keen interested in digital assistants and their use to support and potentially even replace human customer care. This session looks to give an overview of the evolution of digital assistants with a focus towards current trends. If you’re interested in developing a Messenger bot then this would be an essential session to attend!
Watch Your Language. The Future of AI Depends on It – MAR 10, 2018 | 9:30AM – 10:30AM
NLP (natural language processing) is a technology still in its infancy and I believe is misunderstood by a huge amount of the general public. This session explores what happens when AI is combined with language; looking at the future of NLP and the challenges that entail. I’m particularly excited to learn more about the technological challenges of building more conversational communications between AI and humans.
Humanizing Autonomy – MAR 10, 2018 | 3:30PM – 4:30PM
I find the concept of humanizing technology fascinating! Whether you’re driving a cutting-edge autonomous electric vehicle or you’re interacting with a Messenger chatbot; should it try to be human? This session looks to explore our trust in technology and if it can create a safer future for us. Tesla watch out; your deepest secrets could be revealed!
AI and Its Impact on Our Workforce – MAR 13, 2018 | 3:30PM – 4:30PM
Having spent 3 years working in agriculture across the UK and now living in rural Ireland this session is a must see! Advances in AI and innovation are threatening whole industries rather than small workforces – so what impact could this have to our future of work? Policy making may not be my general area of interest, but in this scenario who wouldn’t be interested!
Oh and a bonus session to boot!
Andrew Applepie – MAR 13, 201810:00pm — 10:40pm
I’ll admit it; I’m a Casey Neistat superfan! I also have a keen interest in music production and a love for electronic music too. Breaking away from AI and emerging technologies, this session from Andrew Applepie looks to be an absolute cracker. Why not drop in for some uplifting beats and a little shuffle on the dancefloor.
I’ll also be making an active effort to network with others by dropping into a few meet up sessions. Come say hello at one of the two meetups below:

Event Tech Meet Up – MAR 11, 2018 | 2:00PM – 3:00PM
Digital Strategists Meet Up – MAR 12, 2018 | 12:30PM – 1:30PM
So, if you fancy a chat about new technologies in social then feel free to pop over for a babble!! You’ll also find me on Instagram @serotaramble if you want to check out my recent movements and snippets of inspirations at #sxsw2018!

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