Panels focus on future of technology, connections

Anjli Mehta

Considering the glamorous connotations of SXSW’s usually star-studded Music and Film festivals, many may question the significantly more expensive badge price ($950) for the Interactive festival. While the Interactive panelists may not have Oscars or Grammys, they’ve got brilliant insight into the future of technology that just might revolutionize, well, everything, and even better, they can’t wait to share it.

For panels on social media, the future of news and more, here are just a handful of those participating during Interactive.

Panel Name: Catch Me If You Can: Frank Abagnale 10 Years Later
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Austin Convention Center
Ballroom EF

From 16 to 21, Frank Abagnale was an airline pilot, an attorney, a college professor and a pediatrician; or at least, he was really good at pretending he was. He almost had everyone fooled until the FBI finally busted him for fraudulent checks more than 35 years ago. But now more than 14,000 financial institutions, corporations and law enforcement agencies use his fraud prevention programs. All of this was featured in 2002’s “Catch Me If You Can.” Sit in on this panel for sure-to-be fascinating tales of his past and painfully ironic details of his current association with the FBI. “Normally when I walk up to a podium to speak, it’s to talk about fraud, embezzlement, counterfeiting, identity theft and cyber crime,” Abagnale said. “For SXSW, I’ve been asked to simply talk about my life, how it started and where it has brought me today.” Attend this panel for tales of his past and painfully ironic details of his current association with the FBI.

Panel Name: The View from Inside Rainn Wilson’s Brainstem
5-6 p.m.
Austin Convention Center
Exhibit Hall 5

Rainn Wilson and his son Walter created the SoulPancake website to create an online community to work through some of philosophy’s most perplexing questions. The site features a “questions” tab where registered users can ask questions about life that include the heavy “When is it okay to kill?” and the lighthearted “If you were an action figure, what would you be called?” At this panel, Wilson will discuss the connection between art, creativity and philosophy.

Panel Name: The Rise of Brooklyn Food Scene
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Driskill Hotel

Momofoku Milk Bar mastermind Christina Tosi, who is behind the infamous cereal milk soft serve that can practically melt taste buds, will join other restaurant owners and New York Times food writer Peter Meehan to talk all things delicious. Foodies from Brooklyn will dish on their rise to the top of the food chain. Tosi said she expects the panel to touch on how to get creative with food. “Whether you’re making food, starting a business, growing a business or trying to get a book deal, I imagine we’ll all bond over the ever grueling, always rewarding journey of writing a cookbook,” she said of her fellow panelists.

Panel Name: The Future of The New York Times
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Austin Convention Center
Ballroom D

It seems that journalism hasn’t been able to escape being labeled as a “dying industry.” To understand how New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson plans to reverse that notion, be sure to stop by this panel. Abramson will share her views on the future of news with a lens that zooms in on her own New York Times. This discussion will be moderated by the editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, Evan Smith.

Panel Name: Sneakers & Technology: A True Love Story
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
AT&T Conference Hotel
Classroom 204

With representatives from Converse and Nice Kicks, this panel will make you think differently about what you put on your feet. Sneakers have created their own culture that flaunt status, creativity and now with the hopes of this panel’s presenters, the latest in technology as well.