BIMA SXSW and Hair of the Dog

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the BIMA SXSW Hair of the Dog event at Essence in London.

There was a great panel of speakers, who all brought their own take on the key trends, and topics from the SXSW 2017 festival to the heart of London. The night started with drinks and networking and it was great to see a lot of familiar faces from the BIMA community. We then all sat down to hear from some pretty big hitters in the digital arena about their time at SXSW.

What I found really interesting was the amount of great things that were on offer at SXSW and how far ahead we are with AI, machine learning, and wearables etc.

One of the talks spoke about gene editing technology CRISPR, which can genetically alter a human’s DNA - from curing diseases to creating super soldiers. There was a quote in one of the presentations from Google’s Director of Engineering, Ray Kurzwell, who believes, ‘a technological singularity will turn some people into super humans by 2029’. I found this really fascinating, are we on the verge of becoming cyborgs or have we already become them?

Another talk spoke about the integration of the physical, digital and biological world and how it will define a 4th industrial revolution. Bio-electronic medicine is blurring the boundaries of healthcare, engineering and computer science.

Darpa is working on a piece of tech that will help us learn quicker by the neurostimulation device which activates the peripheral nerves; neuromodulators boost synaptic plasticity and the neuronal connections are then tuned to improve the cognitive skills. Now if you understand that, you clearly are a scientist.

We found out about how ultimately, whilst relatively new to us, VR worlds will be a part of everyday life for the next generation. .

The industrial revolution 4.0 was spoken about. 5 million jobs lost to robots by 2020 and the top 10 skills needed:

In 2020

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Coordinating with others
  6. Emotional intelligence
  7. Judgement and decision making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility

In 2015

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Coordinating others
  3. People management
  4. Critical thinking
  5. Negotiation
  6. Quality control
  7. Service orientation
  8. Judgement and decision making
  9. Active listening
  10. Creativity

We heard how Dr Mary Lou Jepsen is looking into using LCD technology to read brain activity to create natural language through brain signals. The growth of VR was a big topic and there was a lot of talk about its potential uses amongst the older generation - for relaxation, social connections, to help with dementia and for exercise motivation.

One of the presentations which really connected with me was a VR trial experience for residents at a Perth nursing home. The technology will allow them to see the world without leaving their seats. It’s hoped the trial will bring back lost memories in dementia patients. My Nana suffered with dementia and I know this type of technology would have helped massively.

There were so many more great examples of innovation in AI, wearables etc. that people had witnessed at SXSW, but to sum it up it was great to see people sharing their experiences and their take on SXSW and what it meant to them.

It was another great night organised by the BIMA crew and I am hoping next year I will finally pop my SXSW cherry. I want to witness firsthand what it has to offer and see how things have progressed from what I took away from this year’s event. 

If you are not part of the BIMA community, shame on you. You are missing out on these great meet-ups and knowledge sharing events.