So How Fucked Are We, Exactly?

SXSW Interactive’s Tech Under Trump panels investigate


Photo by Gary Miller


SXSW Interactive has never shied away from tackling the more controversial issues surrounding tech. But this year's "Tech Under Trump" program must be a first in terms of politics playing so central a part in the overall schedule.

Over two days (March 15-16), experts from numerous fields will discuss how a Trump presidency is likely to affect everything from emerging tech like AI, VR, and the blockchain, to the role of Silicon Valley, millennials, and the war-weary media in this new and frankly shitty political landscape.

With a total of 18 talks on the roster so far (and more to be announced), there's plenty of "post-post-truth" to pick from. Here are the Chronicle's Top Trumps not to be missed.

Trump Means Millennials Must Dive Into Politics

Wednesday, March 15, 2pm, JW Marriott Salon C
That's right, millennials, he's your problem now. While Generation X goes through an extended four-year midlife crisis, millennials will be picking up the slack, being the demographic most likely to be affected by policy changes made during the Trump Era. Do kids still "Rock the Vote"? Perhaps not, but 25-year-old activist and nonprofit founder Erin Schrode will offer a number of hipper ideas and strategies in her solo presentation, which explores new ways to increase political engagement among young people.

Head Fakes and Pivots: Trump Punks Silicon Valley

Wednesday, March 15, 3:30pm, JW Marriott Salon AB
Silicon Valley's best and brightest were taken down a peg or 10 after all the votes came in last November. Like many other groups, the tech sector underestimated Trump's appeal, coming to the stark realization – post-election – of just how disconnected it had become from the wider U.S. electorate. Expect a few laughs at this one, as futurist comedian Baratunde Thurston explains why geeks don't make good political analysts and, conversely, politicians and spin doctors don't make for good tech policy advisers.

Immigration and Innovation: The Future of H-1B

Thursday, March 16, 2pm, JW Marriott Salon C
The United States used to be proud to call itself a "nation of immigrants." However, apparently now immigrants only come from Mexico, practice the Muslim faith, and enjoy hobbies which include rape, murder, and drug dealing.

Oh, they also make up a sizable percentage of the nation's inventors, innovators, and engineers, keeping the wheels of progress turning for the entire tech sector. But will the new administration's tough stance on immigration deter the smartest international minds from continuing to want to come here? Well, duh.

The War at Home: Trump and the Mainstream Media

Thursday, March 16, 2pm, JW Marriott Salon AB
The mainstream media got served in this most recent election campaign. But it ain't the first time, and it certainly won't be the last. An all-star media panel – including Matthew Dowd, Dan Rather, Katy Tur, and Brian Stelter – will give the mother of all pep talks to journalists on how best to reapproach their craft in the post-truth age.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. For scheduling on the go, here's a SXSW Film Pocket Guide, which includes the handy Film Grid. Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters/ for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

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