7 SXSW Interactive Panels You Should Attend This Year

SXSW Interactive 2016 is right around the corner, with the event offering a wide range of panels and exhibitions that cover practically every facet of the tech world, from wearables through to virtual reality and self-driving cars. 

Though there are plenty of panels that are well worth your time this year, with the plethora of exciting advancements in the tech industry leading to perhaps the most interesting schedule in the event’s history, here are 7 that we are most excited for:


Google Self-Driving Car Project

Date: Friday, March 11

Time: 3.45PM – 4.45PM

Where: Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D

Depending on who you ask autonomous vehicles are either indicative of a more eco-friendly, safer future for public transportation, or they’re going to herald in a Skynet-esque apocalypse for our race, with Google’s cars ramming us into walls when they’ve had enough of our petulance. Regardless, it’s an inevitability that self-driving cars will officially become “a thing” outside of their closed tests in select areas of the US, and at SXSW Interactive, the director of Google’s self-driving car program will explain how the company is looking to make this a reality.


VR Porn: Future is Upon Us, What Next?

Date: Friday, March 18

Time: 2.00PM – 3.00PM

Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon B

One of the bigger talking points of SXSW Interactive 2016 is inevitably going to be virtual and augmented reality, with the event’s VR/AR Track featuring a whole host of panels discussing the technology, along with a VR Experience exhibition allowing attendees to try out the headsets for themselves. One of the panels that should stand to generate the most discussion is the talk regarding VR porn, which features the likes of VRTube.xxx and adult actress Ela Darling, alongside Fabian Grey, Dinorah Hernandez and Alec Helmy, discussing the impact virtual reality will have on the future of adult entertainment.


Live 360° Video and VR: The Immersive Revolution

Date: Monday, March 14

Time: 5:00PM – 6:00PM

Where: Austin Convention Center, Room 12AB

Continuing with the virtual reality theme, Immersive Media CEO Myles McGovern and Digital Media CEO Rich Flier discuss how live 360-degree video can potentially change the future of how we consume entertainment, and how a number of key industries are looking towards immersive content in order to bring VR to the masses.


Next for NASA: The Journey to Mars

Date: Tuesday, March 15

Time: 12:30PM – 1:30PM

Where: Austin Convention Center, Room 6AB

With NASA’s journey to Mars officially underway, SXSW Interactive 2016 will see the organization’s Spacecraft/Payload Integration & Evolution manager Chris Crumbly, among others, discussing the Space Launch System, the world’s most powerful rocket, and the ambitious steps NASA is taking towards us one day stepping foot on the Red Planet.


Date: Sunday, March 13

Time: 12:30PM – 1:30PM

Where: Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG

If you watched USA Network’s fantastic drama Mr. Robot, then you know that it was one of very few shows that managed to bury itself knee-deep in the world of hacking without coming across like a TV exec’s interpretation of what hacking is. Simultaneously presenting coding in a way that was both understandable and authentic, the show’s creator Sam Esmail and writer Kevin Sullivan will join stars Christian Slater and Rami Malek in order to discuss how they managed to achieve this, and how the portrayal of technology in entertainment is changing.


Five Ways AR Will Change the World

Date: Wednesday, March 16

Time: 12:30PM – 1:30PM

Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, SX Create Stage

Though the tech world is abuzz with talk of virtual reality, augmented reality is still an important and, in many ways, more manageable foray into the world of immersive entertainment, with this panel discussing how AR will “change the world” in the following five categories: Museums, Entertainment, Travel, Education, and Gaming. The panel will feature Troed Sangberg, Head of Partner Outreach at the Sony Developer Program, meaning he could offer an indication of the tech giant’s plans for this particular market.


Making the Internet of Things

Date: Saturday, March 12

Time: 11:00AM – 12:00PM

Where: Palmer Events Center, SX Create Stage

As the Internet of Things continues to rise in prominence, this panel will focus on the Makers, those tirelessly toiling away in order to help shape this online ecosystem, exploring the challenges and opportunities that arise from their hard work and determination. Led by Silicon Labs’ VP of Engineering Peter Vancorenland, if you have an interest in seeing who is shaping the future of the ‘net and how they’re doing it, this panel’s for you.