Everything That Rises Must Converge

SXSW 2000 Interactive Festival

Power Convergence: The New Medium

Mod: Bill Kurtis (A&E)

Panelists: Matt Hulett (Atom Films), Richard Garriott (Origin Systems), Gregg Hale (producer, The Blair Witch Project, Lynda Obst (producer, The Fisher King), Quincy Yu (US Creative).

The power panel on power convergence at a power Webcast by US Creative was about as sexy as these technology things come -- too bad the sputtering mikes and nearby trade show chattering seemed beyond anyone's power. Technology, it seemed, was not only the hero of this discussion, but its occasional enemy as well, although panelists waded through the distractions to offer opinions on topics ranging from the AOL/Time Warner merger to the increase of women in Hollywood to Richard Garriott's bizarre 25,000 square-foot wired castle. There was the predictable call for media responsibility and education, as well as forecasts about the effect of convergence on popular culture. "Ultimately, I don't think the Web is going to substitute anything," said Blair Witch producer Gregg Hale. "It's a complement." Matt Hulett of Atom Films, the short film site that receives almost a million and a half hits a day, seemed to think that the Internet would serve as a way to sate our society's growing appetite for news and celebrity and distraction. "I think there's a new environment where entertainment is everywhere," he said. Yes, everyone acknowledged, Things as We Know Them are changing, but don't toss your idiot boxes just yet. "Broadband as it is right now is still not that broad," said Garriott, who was so confident in our bloated sense of technology evolution that he bet US Creative's Quincy Yu a hundred bucks that in 10 years, his online games would still not require broadband ("Your games don't run well without broadband now," she jibed, and eagerly shook on the bet.) The panel's warmest response, however, came when producer Lynda Obst made an impassioned plea for our convenience culture to remember -- of all neglected things -- the human touch. "The Internet needs to connect people," she claimed. "This needs to serve de-isolation. People need to fall in love face to face."


Power Convergence will be Webcast on Electrocast.com

More SXSW Interactive reviews are available online at http://www.auschron.com/sxsw/

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