Artificial Intelligence to be a major focus of the 2024 Conference
SXSW 2024 - Conference Community Newsletter

Hello Community,

So much has changed in the tech world over the last 12 months since the release of ChatGPT in late November 2022. Artificial intelligence has also already significantly impacted our approach to and understanding of music and the many other creative industries covered at SXSW.

This week, we polled a handful of 2024 SXSW Conference speakers about their feelings on the recently-released AI-enhanced Beatles single "Now and Then.”

Anthony Gellert / SXSW 2024 Mentor: Great use of AI. As long as the original artists get credit and license fees, AI should be used for more and more art.

Beth Hartman / Investing in Our Oceans: Navigating Uncharted Waters: I think it's not so great and honestly a bit creepy. And yes, it  further legitimizes even more AI-enhanced art and other types of content to come. With the whole OpenAI situation recently, it already feels like the situation is starting to spin out of control.

Curtis Matzke / Understanding Artist Residencies & Retreats for Filmmakers: I think this is actually a really good, practical implementation of AI that's more in line with preservation than creating "original" work. It's a slippery slope but there's clear human artistry behind this project, which is exciting.

Dave A. Liu / Changing Faces: Media Representation and the Path to Positive Portrayals of Facial Differences: Great, because technology has always been part of the creative process and I see this as the natural progression of the creative process. Just make sure the creators get paid!

David Quarles IV / In Living Color: Designing the Home & Life of Your Dreams: Although I feel there are many benefits to AI in moving along business operations, I personally feel that artificial intelligence should not be involved with the arts. Art comes from how someone experiences the world, and how that vision filters through their mind and heart; making how we experience it a beautiful occurrence. However, AI creating art seems to perpetuate the false, but new, reality being created.

Deanna Brown / Fundraising in a Down Market: How to Keep Your Startup Alive: Not so great.

Gabo Arora / Building Futures In Emerging Tech For Everyone: John Lennon’s voice in any form conjures up a spirit so true and revolutionary. I’ve appreciated it and its melancholy nature makes it feel like a last goodbye.

Heather Malenshek / The Rural-Urban Divide and How Brands Can Make a Difference: I wish they had left it alone.

Dr Lara Ramdin / From Garbage to Gold: Transforming Food Waste into Profits: I am definitely an "acceptor" of AI and appreciate the positives (if well regulated and with the correct guard-rails in place) that it can bring to humanity. What a delight to be able to bring The Beatles (in all their glory) to people who were not around the first time (including myself) to experience them.

Mark Miller / Song Stock Exchanges Are Coming - Should You Buy In?: I had a music professor that always said if it sounds right it is right. It doesn't matter how you got it. I think “Now and Then” is a fantastic track. AI music is here and advancing. I believe it will be a continual tool in much of what is produced for years to come. There will still always be music 100% organically created, but both worlds can and will exist together. Trying to shut out AI is a fool's errand like plugging a hole in a dam with your finger. Instead we need to figure out how to build the new irrigation system.

Matthew Carlson / Using Drawing to Collaborate, Innovate & Learn: I’d rather go back and listen to their classics, or listen to new artists. I’m all for remixes, covers, and reinterpretations but using AI to spin a simulacrum of bands is mildly entertaining but not as powerful as their originals, or the incredible wealth of new music out right now.

Shain Shapiro / This Must Be The Place: How Music Is Making Cities Better: I think so long as AI attributes, and the content created remunerates the human creator who originated the content or wrote the code, then let's experiment with music.

Sue Black / Empowering Women in Tech from Bletchley to Burundi: It’s a bit boring. One of my first memories is dancing to The Beatles’ “She Loves You” when I was little and how exciting it was as music.

Tara Vander Dussen / Is Your Favorite Food Influencer Fearmongering You?: I do think we are entering unknown territory with AI. Seeing the rise of podcasts using AI technology to emulate people’s voices from online comments and captions. We need to proceed with caution as we are still figuring this space out.

Will Glazener / SXSW 2024 Mentor Session Program: I love it. It's obvious that care was taken, and that's legitimate.

Want more insights on AI? Attend the new Artificial Intelligence track (March 11-15) at SXSW 2024, as well as the AI-focused content woven into several of the other 23 tracks of conference programming.

Explore what our 2024 speakers think about Merriam-Webster's choice of "authentic" as the word of the year, and more at the SX Speaker Series blog at

Register to attend now to save before prices increase in January. Special discounts available for students and groups. Use the PayPal function at checkout to buy now, pay later, and don’t forget to book your downtown hotel while rooms are still available.

I want you to be there for me,

Hugh Forrest
Co-President / Chief Programming Officer