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Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2012 about Information

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Saturday 10th March 2012

  • Rethinking How to Communicate Science

    by Laura Hermann

    It's been 30 years since Edward Tufte convinced designers that the visual display of quantitative information mattered. We illustrate evidence to promote understanding, but our choices to express science have changed. The pervasiveness of technology in our lives generates volumes of data. Increasingly, scientists and researchers make extensible versions of their datasets available. Crowdsourcing projects generate additional data sources. The result is a new diction to distinguish fact from fiction.We used to rely on science writers and designers to translate impenetrable academic and scientific studies. Today, citizens and academics alike have accessible ways to visualize information. Is that enough? Communicating about science requires balancing competing interests with conflicting evidence. The craft of science communication will evolve with new technology and the ways we decipher the political, social and economic context of available evidence will be increasingly critical.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Capitol E-H, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

    Coverage audio clip

  • Why Small Is the New Big and Big Is the New Small

    by Jason Stoddard and Kat Mandelstein

    Economic angst has taught us one thing: Size doesn’t matter. The over-riding lesson we are learning worldwide is that a business that gets ahead of the curve is a smart one, not necessarily a big one. The rapid development and adoption of information communication technologies (ICT) over the last ten years is driving this change. As consequence, businesses are leveraging these new web, mobile and social technologies to interact with customers and prospects in a whole new way. A role reversal between SMB and Large Enterprise is taking place: SMB is becoming more ubiquitous and quantitative while Enterprise is becoming more personalized and qualitative. This session explores the causes, corrections, and outcomes of the changing dynamics within the marketplace that now allow SMB and Large Enterprise companies to compete for the same customers. Attendees will experience these dynamics first-hand in an #eggcellent real-time market simulation.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Rio Grande, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown

    Coverage audio clip

  • Fighting for Your Users Without Becoming a Target

    by Corynne McSherry, Randy Cadenhead, Christopher Mooney and Ethan Oberman

    The Internet is a fantastic resource for sharing and storing ideas, information, and creative works. But users -- individuals and companies -- can't take advantage of that bounty without help from a network of large and small service providers, from social media services like Facebook to storage services such as DropBox and SpiderOak. Too often, these providers are cowed by legal threats into taking down perfectly legal material (like the Facebook page you use to network for your business) or revealing private information about their users. How can you earn your users' loyalty by doing better, and how can you help ensure that the services on which you rely do right by you and your customers? What legal risks do you need to watch out for, and how can you make them go away? A group of experienced lawyers and business owners will help you answer these questions from a legal and practical perspective.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Capital Ballroom, Omni Downtown

    Coverage audio clip

Sunday 11th March 2012

  • Open Art, Open Audiences: The Edinburgh Festivals

    by Andrew Coulton and Kath M Mainland

    Arts festivals are all about bringing people together, creating shared experiences and introducing them to cultural gems that they might not otherwise have found. How can festivals make best use of new technology to develop their audiences, enhance the impact of their content and remain relevant in the Information Age? What role can festival data play in the semantic web, and does it have more to offer than just what's on where? How might social platforms, ticketing innovations and mobile applications help audiences to navigate and explore the content available at a major arts festivals? In 2011 we opened our data to the developer community through www.culturehackscotland.com . Culture Hack Scotland was an outstanding event and was one of the strongest ever demonstrations of the value of open data in the arts. Hear how Edinburgh's Festivals Innovation Lab is beginning to answer some of these questions and explore what value the Edinburgh Festivals, a significant test bed environment, can add to the SXSW community.

    The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world, and works with the other 11 major festivals in the city through Festivals Edinburgh.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Salon E, AT&T Conference Center

  • Right to Be Forgotten: Forgiveness or Censorship?

    by Meg Ambrose and Jill Van Matre

    The digital age has eternalized information that was once fleeting, and the Right to be Forgotten has gained traction in the EU. A controversial aspect of these rights is that truthful, newsworthy information residing online may be removed after a certain amount of time in an attempt to make the information private again.

    Two compelling camps have arisen: Preservationists and Deletionists. Preservationists believe the web offers the most comprehensive history of humanity ever collected and feel a duty to protect digital legacies without censorship. Deletionists argue that the web must learn to forget in order to preserve vital societal values and that threats to the dignity and privacy of individuals will create an oppressive networked space.

    The US, the land of opportunity, has not embraced the Right to be Forgotten, but should it? The First Amendment raises significant issues, but how does the value of protected information changes over time. Could privacy ever outweigh expression?

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 8A, Austin Convention Center

  • Beautiful Data? No, That Data is a Sex Machine

    by Stew Langille and Raymond Mooney

    Yes data is beautiful–but SEXY?! That’s right. It’s powerful, self-sufficient; it can write its own ticket. Data doesn’t need you anymore...or does it?We’re all looking for ways to pull useful information from the overwhelming amount of data flooding the Internet. Two solutions have surfaced–dataviz and semantic web. Both are taking on a life of their own but they’re tackling the problem in very different ways.Data visualizations give us the means to understand the multitude of data out there. But what’s next? Ever heard of XBRL? RDF? These and other semantic web technologies are changing the way we understand data. They give data context. Without context, data is meaningless, and data can’t organize itself.Back end semantic web & front end visualizations both make data more usable but require a human catalyst. Are we entering a time that data will make itself more usable by organizing itself contextually and representing itself visually?Moderator: Greg Ebert, Rivet Software

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 616AB, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Digital Immortals: Preserving Life Beyond Death

    by Airdrie Miller, Richard Banks, Evan Carroll, Bill LeFurgy and Adam Ostrow

    When you kick the bucket, you'll leave behind a vast amount of digital information: a lifetime's worth of Tweets, emails, blogs, photos, videos and more. They're the product of a creative life well lived.

    In fact, this information forms a rich archive of who we are and what we think. But in a world of passing technology, will our digital selves simply fade away as the victim of neglect? Or will they live on in perpetuity like the Great Pyramids to be remembered and celebrated?

    Libraries frequently preserve the collections of the significant and famous, but what about the rest of us? Does technology hold the key to widespread digital preservation? Or should we just die and be dead?

    As we think about the future of experiencing the past, how should we prepare? What technology will we need? And what will that mean for society? Join our group of archivists, technologists and interaction designers who are going to discuss the challenges and opportunities of a digitally preserved world.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 9ABC, Austin Convention Center

Monday 12th March 2012

  • Sex, Lies and Cookies: Web Privacy EXPOSED!

    by Lorrie Cranor, Berin Szoka, Lydia Parnes, Andy Kahl and Christopher Soghoian

    During "Sex, Lies, and Cookies: Web Privacy EXPOSED!", panelists look into the world of data collection and privacy on the internet, asking tough questions about what “tracking” really entails. The discussion focuses on how data collection is integrated into the current structure of the web, and what (if anything) people can do to make informed choices about how they allow their information to be used. Moderated by Andy Kahl, Ghostery’s product manager, the panel includes Lydia Parnes (former director, Bureau of Consumer Protection at FTC), Christopher Soghoian (graduate fellow at Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research), Lorrie Cranor (associate professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Carnegie Mellon), and Berin Szoka (founder, TechFreedom).

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Monday 12th March

    In Salon B, AT&T Conference Center

    Coverage audio clip