A South by Southwest Recap

By : Miguel Caeiro


The future will be here sooner than we expect.

This year at SXSW, we experienced so much more than a reunion (which was also great). We had the rich opportunity to be at the side of VidMob’s customers as we looked toward the future together.

From NFTs to Real Estate Law in the Metaverse, from apparel to the avatars who will wear those clothes (as expensive and coveted as physical wardrobe pieces) to the general eccentrics of the luxury category as a whole. A new world is opening up with projections that go beyond our wildest imagination (as is proof of the luxury yacht that sold for $650K in the virtual game, Sandbox, a few months ago). It’s a universe full of surprises.

Early on, I came across Greg Daniels, creator of the Upload series on Prime Video, which takes place in 2034. He claims, “If you could digitize your memories, stay as yourself in a digital environment and create your own paradise, this world would have the same greed and foolishness that any man-made society has.” So even in this theoretically planned world, conflicts will arise and mirror the physical world.

Hugh Forrest, Director of programming at SXSW, said, “The need, power and value of inspiration has never been more urgent.” He interviewed Priva Parker, author of The Art of Gathering, who said, “We come together to make sense of world events.”  Tristan Harris, protagonist of the hit Netflix documentary, The Network Dilemma, says technology is getting as complicated as it gets. The purpose of the doc is to question the time people dedicate to social networks, which forcibly leads to polarized relationships, directly interfering with democratic environments and consequently, humanity. He explores wisdom as an answer to simple and complex equations, “What answers complex issues is nothing but wisdom.”  

As the week went on, I immersed myself in the automotive world to get a better understanding of what’s to come, what we at VidMob, yearn to be on the cutting edge of producing. For example, in the case of something like Augmented Reality, cars will change more in the next five years than they have in the last 100. We’ve reached a breaking point with the car model of the past. As for another vertical, I’ve watched limitless transformation take place in the Beauty e-commerce space in the metaverse. In this environment, AR is the icing on the cake that allows magical interactions with jewelry, makeup, clothing and a multitude of products. At the same time, artificial intelligence technology is transforming the way we shop on social media. A universe filled with  2.85 billion active people. 

How to perceive the turning point of the future.

Hugh Forrest went on to introduce Amy Webb’s talk by saying he wished she could say SXSW helped her build her brand and career, “but  the reality is the opposite. Her insightful observations with ideas about the future are what helped shape the SXSW brand.” Amy, a futurist, explored her tech’s topic report entitled, Re-perception She presented an image of a blur, which was a high-contrast picture of a cow on a white background. At first glance, it’s almost impossible to detect, but once seen, you can’t unsee it. She did an exercise with the public and started to use this image as a reference for the data that is out there. Even in the white area, you need to look at it differently. Re-perception is the essence of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. “You need to explore the blanks. You have to think about trends and really try to understand how they are going to shape the future.” Re-perception helps us to understand, it’s not about predicting the future, it’s about how we deal with ambiguities and uncertainties, so we can make better decisions in the present and eventually, influence and explore new territories as time goes on. 

Who is watching the Social Networks?

I watched Francis Haugen’s interview, the algorithm expert who denounced Facebook as she felt they were complicit in disinformation, exposing her concerns. Facebook is a social network I’ve always used, both personally and professionally. A genius project that in simplest terms, carries an intricate network of algorithms designed to make us navigate it as long as possible. And that generates wealth. One issue for example, is when a poorly placed sentence goes viral and generates a racial conflict. Regardless of your position, for or against, carefully observing what you say and how you say it is essential.

The future belongs to people Who believe in it more than others.

A day in advance Mark Zuckerberg confirmed his presence at the event in a rare public appearance. The founder and CEO of Meta was interviewed by Daymond John, known for the hit television show, Shark Tank. Unlike how he interacts with the aspiring entrepreneurs of promising startups looking for an investment, he seemed very gentle with the CEO. The day after, Haugen presented herself in the same room where the interview was taking place. Zuckerberg claims he is preparing his social network so it can be the biggest metaverse company in the world. “I think because of the work we’re doing in the metaverse, we’re the company that cares about helping people connect. While other companies are focused on designing technology to make this connection happen”. No matter what people say about him, it’s hard to deny the guy is a genius.