Bruce Sterling's 2018 SXSW keynote: Disrupting Dystopia, or what the tech arts scene could and should be

Since the first days of SXSW Interactive, Bruce Sterling has closed the festivities with a haranguing, funny, provocative keynote and nearly every year (2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012 etc) we link to it.

Bruce's 2018 keynote was called Disrupting Dystopia, and after some funny and scary stuff about the relationships between cities and their governments (pro-net neutrality, climate-concerned) vs nation-states (and their denialist policies) it settles down into its main theme: the need to cultivate a genuine, endemic tech arts scene.

Sterling proposes that tech has matured. Moore's Law is dead, the scrappy startups are now colossi, and it's time to settle down into the role of monied elders, cultivating and patronizing the arts.

Sterling has many years of work in the electronic arts, curating festivals and judging competitions, and he devotes some time to describing how art works, in the nuts-and-bolts level of building gadgets that interact with people during a week-long show without breaking down, and how this relates to the playfulness of children and the willingness of dutiful grandparents to splurge in the gift-shop on the way out.

As ever, it's quite a romp.

Disrupting Dystopia [Bruce Sterling/SXSW]

(via Beyond the Beyond)

(Image: inUse Experience , CC-BY)

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