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SXSW is coming and attendees are making their way to Austin, Texas in droves. This year’s event is jam packed with hundreds of conferences, parties, and concerts. There is so much to do and see at SXSW that we here at Oniracom decided to look through this year’s schedule to pick out the panels and conferences we find to be the most interesting. Here are some of our top picks:

Mainstream But Muted: How to Market Legal Cannabis

With several states recently legalizing cannabis and several more slated to do the same next election season, the cannabis industry is imminent. Colorado already has a thriving cannabis market with several brands emerging as the cannabis power vacuum expands. This is a great talk, not just for cannabis enthusiasts and businessmen, but for anyone interested in the future of marketing within the emerging and growing cannabis industry. Tensions are quickly growing between state and federal lawmakers regarding cannabis, so knowing how to market it without getting into trouble with the law is valuable. Anyone either in the cannabis industry or looking to enter should not skip this panel.

Virtual Psychedelics: How VR Affects Your Brain

Virtual Reality is here and has a lot of potential. It has the ability to transport anyone anywhere imaginable. If this technology is going to be widely used, it would be a good idea to figure out exactly how it affects us as thinking biological beings. Some suppose that a VR experience could produce similar phenomenon to psychedelics in the brain. This implies that you could use VR as a way to broaden perspective and produce empathy. It could potentially be used to make the world a better place by giving people a broader life experience. People will be able to experience another person’s struggles and joys in another part of the world without leaving their house. With this in mind, it will be very important to know how this technology affects the human brain moving forward so that technology can be developed with effective results. Anyone looking to do any work inside the rapidly growing VR industry should mark this panel on their calendar.

Beyond Driverless Cars: Our Transportation Future:

Driverless cars are here… well sort of. Since Google and Tesla threw their hats into the ring driverless cars have become a hot topic. Driverless cars promise a future of safer, less congested roads and lower pollution. They were once the musings of sci-fi nerds but, now they are closer to reality than ever before. This panel seeks to clarify the potential problems this new technology will face and what its inclusion means for us as a society and individuals. 

B2A Marketing: Selling to the New AI Consumer:

Every day Artificial Intelligence becomes more and more a part of our lives. From product recommendations to driving our cars for us, we seem to be on a path that lends itself to delegating much of our decision making to AI. Amazon’s “Dash Button” is only the beginning, as shopping bots that will make your purchases for you are currently being developed. The utilization of shopping bots brings a new list of challenges for marketers. They will no longer have to market directly to the consumer, but to the shopping bots who make their purchases for them. This panel seeks to clarify what marketers will have to do in order to effectively sell to AI consumers and what it means for businesses going forward.

#FoodPorn or Bust: The Socialization of Food:

Even with social media now a part of our daily lives we still crave connection offline. As people have always done, we bond over meals. Now that we have the ability to share pictures of our food, it has become a driving force for offline social interaction. Someone sees a picture of an amazing dish their friend ate at a local restaurant and now they want to gather their friends and try the same dish. This panel is ultimately a discussion of how online interaction fuels our offline behavior and how food has become a bastion for influencing social interactions.

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