AI dominates South by Southwest
As South by Southwest heads into its final weekend, it's clear that AI has taken over this year's conference and festivals.
Catch up quick: AI — or artificial intelligence — has rapidly developed in recent years and has the power to transform everyday tasks.
- You've probably seen dozens of headlines on ChatGPT, a new generative AI system that lets users pose questions and give directions to a bot that can answer with conversation, sonnets, recipes and more.
- Yes, but: The rapid innovation of AI has raised concerns over how the technology could lead to greater discrimination or be used by malicious actors to stoke online misinformation or write code creating new dark-web marketplaces.
Driving the news: Thousands of techies in town have brought the AI buzz with them.
- The SXSW schedule features dozens of panels about AI, while brands have held meetups and shown off their AI technology at parties and events.
- Reddit COO Jen Wong told Axios' Kerry Flynn on stage Monday that ChatGPT could impact time spent with platforms like Reddit.
- Wong, responding to the question of whether Reddit's future is threatened by services like ChatGPT, said, "Where do you think they get their answers from?"
- Meanwhile, U.S. Justice Department antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter said in a SXSW panel that the department has hired data scientists to "make sure we have the ability to understand that technology."
The intrigue: Last year's SXSW was all about cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or unique digital assets — often works of art, game characters and other creative products — recorded on a blockchain.
- Flyers were littered around town and there were at least two dozen NFT-related events on the SXSW schedule, including meetups, workshops, panels and art galleries.
- At one 2022 panel, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg even announced that NFTs would be coming to Instagram.
- Reality check: One year later, Meta announced it would be "winding down" support for digital collectables, and NFTs seemingly vanished from SXSW.
What to watch: Whether AI could finally be the trend that sticks.
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