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SXSW 2014: The Robot Revolution is Coming and 3D Printing Is Leading the Way - VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.50.06 PM

Sxsw_2014_bugSXSW - Austin's annual tech, film, and music festival - is currently underway and has brought in thousands of film buffs, tech geeks, actors, and musicians from across the globe to meet, mingle, and enjoy the coolest city in Texas. And with the Interactive portion of the festival drawing to a close, what better time to look back on the things we've learned at SXSW 2014 so far.

The Robot Revolution is Coming and 3D Printing is Leading the Way!

The machines took over SXSW in a big way this year, with numerous panels throughout the week dedicated to emerging technologies and the impact they will undoubtedly have on our culture, economy, and well-being.

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 1.35.12 AMMultiple panelists stressed that as technology becomes exponentially more sophisticated and incorporated into our everyday lives (a la Google Glass, self-driving cars, and 3D printers), the question we ask will switch from “What will tech of the future be able to do?” to “What won’t tech be able to do (and do better than humans) in the future?”

The answer, most panelists agreed, will likely be “not much.”

Continue reading "SXSW 2014: The Robot Revolution is Coming and 3D Printing Is Leading the Way - VIDEO" AFTER THE JUMP...

Oreo 3d printerThe undisputed leader in this revolution, the 3D printer, was a big player at SXSW this year. Dubbed “the next Industrial Revolution,” 3D printing and its possibilities are mind blowing. There were panels all week on how 3D printing is going to revolutionize sports, fashion, STEM education in school, gun manufacturing and food production. There was even a booth at SXSW with 3D printed Oreos! Users could pick from 12 trending flavors, colors and names and watch as the printer created their cookies. I ended up making a delicious “Jennifer Lawrence” Oreo with spiraling sherbet, mint, and birthday cake icing.

Festival attendees also got the chance to see the premier of Print the Legend, which follows the industry leaders racing to become the next “Steve Jobs” of the 3D printing world

The film, from the producers of The King of Kong and Freakonomics, captures the 3D printing industry in the midst of its “Macintosh Moment”. It’s a compelling tale of competitive start-ups, personal aspirations, cunning corporate tactics, and betrayed friendships. Think The Social Network, but with 3D printers. 


IMG_1463Autodesk CEO Carl Bass (who was joined by R2D2) predicts that by 2050, machine technology will heavily outnumber humans and will have taken over most, if not all, human-centered repetitive tasks in every industry. Bass holds out hope though that creative jobs like fashion, painting, or writing poetry will still be areas that humans prevail. So just follow in the footsteps of Walt Whitman and Tim Gunn and you should be all right.

But rather than fear the “rise of the machines,” many panelists encouraged the public to embrace the evolution of technology. Google (which in January acquired artifical intelligence startup DeepMind) said that technology is evolving from asking questions to giving relevant, complex answers. Google chairman Eric Schmidt predicts that incomes will go up for people who work with computers and will go down for those who don’t embrace them. 

George John, CEO of Rocket Fuel, the leading artificial intelligence advertising tech company, echoed these sentiments and said that embracing this technology wave will ultimately enable us to live longer, work less, and spend more time doing the tasks we enjoy, like eating, sleeping, and sex. Sign me up.

ClintonWrapping up the tech-centered Interactive keynotes was Chelsea Clinton, who discussed the current impacts that technological innovation is having on the world. Clinton also issued a challenge to the tech community to improve technology's involvement in doing social good and pointed to some of her favorite examples including Kiva, which gives direct loans to low-income entrepreneurs and iCow, an agricultural app that helps dairy farmers in Kenya track the fertility of their cows.

[Clinton photo via CNN

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  1. Cylons - the beginning.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Mar 12, 2014 11:17:24 AM

  2. Matt27, I was just thinking that.

    The questions we need to ask are - will we be able to handle the negative aspects of new technology as well as the good, and will we be able to keep up with the pace at which new technology is created? Also at issue is the gap between those humans who possess the technology and those who do not, i.e., the poor and disadvantage.

    Posted by: Jack M | Mar 12, 2014 11:24:38 AM

  3. "502. That’s an error."

    Posted by: Randy | Mar 12, 2014 12:48:32 PM

  4. If 3D printing is leading the way, then the future is a nightmare of jammed and broken machines.

    Posted by: Merv | Mar 12, 2014 1:40:23 PM

  5. Sorry, but I'm not buying their Utopian vision. More machines taking over more jobs will lead to even greater inequality.

    Posted by: mattl | Mar 12, 2014 2:00:20 PM

  6. Fascinating, exciting, and even uplifting. As far as worrying and fearful concerns go, I say, "Same as it ever was, same as it ever was."

    Posted by: throwslikeagirl | Mar 12, 2014 2:06:59 PM

  7. Yes, as 94% of all jobs are lost, no more than 2% of the population will be able to afford the tech marvels the droids will produce.

    Posted by: Zlick | Mar 12, 2014 4:07:47 PM

  8. Before the robots and 3D printing take over the world, they might want to learn how to spell "PRINTING" in the headline of the bogus newspaper at the top of this story. Sheesh. Anything a stupid mistake like that happens in a "cutting edge" technology presentation, I automatically discount it by 50 percent.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 12, 2014 9:37:15 PM

  9. Q.: Have you ever seen anything printed by a 3D printer that wasn't the sample image that came with it? (Yoda, King Tut mask, pyramid, lace doily for a doll house, skull, or banana slug)?

    Yeah, didn't think so. People are buying these as toys, spitting out a Yoda every 45 minutes and when the supply of plastic string runs out they collect dust.

    These have very, very little use. There's a lot of unrealistic hype "Make replacement parts for your widget", "Make custom switch plates" "Make mugs for your friends", etc.

    None of it is realistic. The plastic won't hold up to use or stress, and it never will. You can't extrude fine strands of soft plastic and expect anything that lasts.

    There may be some medical research uses, and for some architectural modeling, the spray-and-powder works okay. But most of this is smoke and mirrors. Even the companies selling the printers can't come up with real uses for them.

    Posted by: Tatts | Mar 12, 2014 11:16:14 PM

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