Why do some people and companies seem to change easily, while others struggle for years? How do firms like Target, Apple and Proctor and Gamble anticipate (and manipulate) shoppers' habits? Why was the product Febreze a flop - until consumer psychologists figured out to target one specific cleaning habit, and it became a $1 billion hit? In the past decade, neurology, sociology and economic psychology have revolutionized our understanding of habits. Go into neurology laboratories where amnesiacs re-learn their most basic habits, and corporate boardrooms where shoppers' habits are turned on and off like flicking a switch. The author, Charles Duhigg, is an investigative reporter at the New York Times. His book on the science of habits will be Random House's major spring 2012 release.
Stephen Wolfram is a distinguished scientist and inventor who is most recently known for the launch of the computational knowledge engine Wolfram|Alpha. Along with the computational software system Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha has put into action some concepts Wolfram has been developing throughout his remarkable career, most notably documented in his book A New Kind of Science (NKS).
Wolfram uses his approach to tackle a remarkable array of fundamental problems in science and technology, and shows how computation offers a whole new way of looking at the operation of our universe. He believes that computation is the most important idea that has emerged in the past century and that it will have profound implications on our future.
Each one of Wolfram's accomplishments is representative of his vision of computation. Stephen's life work is based on the idea that computation empowers the individual to discover facts and concepts that have never been explored before, with emerging platforms making computation more accessible than ever. His goal at SXSW is to inspire attendees to explore new corners of the computational universe.
9th–13th March 2012