SXSW: March 14 2023

Today was memorable for three reasons. First, during the NASA Keynote, Bill and I saw this never-before-seen image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. Later in the afternoon, we watched the moving documentary STILL: A Michael J. Fox Story. In the evening, we even ate a real meal for dinner instead of just snacking. It was a fine day.

The Metaverse Mindset for Web3, AI, and the Future of Business

Sandy Carter (formerly of IBM and Amazon and now Unstoppable) thinks about how organizations can use the Metaverse. Forever 21 has an online world of co-creators for their clothing. BMW uses the Metaverse to co-create cars. Relictickets uses blockchain to save digital ticket stubs. Accenture is onboarding all new employees using the Metaverse. 

Sandy defined the Metaverse as “a digital world where we can live, work, interact, play, & have a social presence – from anywhere and at any time.” She believes that digital identity is a human right. Here’s her analysis of the internet cycle:

  • Web1: Information Economy > You click on a device.
  • Web2: Platform Economy > You use phones for access.
  • Web3: Ownership Economy > You own your digital identity.

Music by Yogetsu Akasaka

Keynote: Unfold The Universe: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope 

This panel discussion of five female astrophysicists included Laura Beth, Knicole Colón, Macarena Garcia Marin, Stefanie Milan, and Amber Straughn. Engineers from 14 countries worked on the project. JWST was launched in December 2021. The first images were released to the public in July 2022. The panelists hope JWST will provide a look into space back over 13 billion years. Early galaxies are bigger and brighter than expected. The pictures are full of unimaginable details, providing new information on other galaxies and the birth of stars. JWST uses infrared so the images come in as black-and-white and subsequently colorized so we can see them. When asked if there is evidence of extra-terrestrials, Knicole quoted Carl Sagan: “There has to be, otherwise it’s just a waste of space.”

STILL: A Michael J. Fox Story

This was easily the best documentary of SXSW 2023. Current day interviews with Michael were interspersed with clips from his movies and TV shows. The screening was followed by a Q&A with Michael and director Davis Guggenheim who said, “We didn’t make a movie about Parkinson’s. We made a movie about life.” 

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