South by Southwest (SXSW) may not be the most renowned festival from a European point of view. However, it continues to be THE major entertainment event for the U.S. (and internationally). Focused on culture, film and music, it is also “the place to be” to understand trends in new technologies and cutting-edge innovations. Innovation is at the heart of Vivendi’s strategy, so it was only natural that a delegation went to Austin for SXSW. Here are 5 trends they identified that you don’t want to miss!
1. YOU HAVEN’T HEARD THE LAST OF AI
First trend: unsurprisingly, the major trend this year was the widespread use of artificial intelligence through applications like Chat GPT or Open AI. The technology is not fully developed yet, but it’s already quite impressive. And although it’s already possible to generate fixed synthetic images, people are looking ahead to the near future: once it becomes possible to create an immersive universe with a few words (or with our thoughts via the use of neuroscience headsets), it will then be possible to draw personalised metaverses in a few moments.
2. DISCREET, WEB 3.0 REMAINS A TREND
Second trend: an anti-trend! Although the media claims that Web 3.0 is dead as the Gartner’s curve* has fallen and with it the era of buzzwords, never have industrialists taken so much interest in the Web 3.0. It’s true that the subject doesn’t make headlines (except from the perspective of the metaverse) because it has become quite technical: training, infrastructure development (Polygon** has one of the biggest booths at the conference), strategic partnerships, cash management tools… But it’s hard not to notice the presence of industry giants (Pepsico, KFC, Amazon, Samsung, Reddit, L’Oréal, Red Bull…) at meetups that used to be reserved for crypto asset enthusiasts.
*The Gartner Hype Cycle is a graphical representation of the lifecycle stages a technology goes through, the fallen curb represents the loss of enthusiasm for the new technology
**Polygon is a blockchain platform that enables blockchain networks to connect and scale.
3. AN INCREASINGLY CUSTOMER-CENTRIC APPROACH
Third trend: A shift back to the social, societal and political expectations of customers. With, for example, at the heart of business strategies, the acknowledgment that customers want to regain control over their data. It is no longer a question of consent; the era of empowerment has arrived. This explains two things: the renewed rise of Web 3.0 which, through decentralisation, puts customers at the heart of industrial strategies. But also, the growing importance given to content that serves as a foundation for community building.
4. THE TIME FOR ETHICS
Fourth trend: social sciences have never been so prevalent in tech conferences! People are no longer questioning the limits or possibilities of technology…but rather its ethical and political limits. The challenge has shifted from protecting democracy to, in the words of U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, protecting “freedom”. And it is clear that technology will have its role to play, regardless of whether it is about the citizens’ or the users’ freedom. Either negatively, through “deep fakes” for instance, or positively, through the promises of certifications offered by Web 3.0 or of false content analysis and detection promised by AI.
5. THE END OF CENTRALISED ECOSYSTEMS?
Fifth trend: the end of abundance! Despite the plethora of parties and soirées, the Silicon Valley Bank crash is on everyone’s mind. The analogy is obvious: tech giants are more or less absent from the event (except for Amazon through its services and in particular Prime Video). However, the States are also making a comeback. Many international Ministers were in Austin these past few days. And France certainly wasn’t left out with a ‘French Touch’ and a French Tech more present than ever.
Click here to watch a video of the SXSW highlights.