SXSW 2022 and Austin Provide a Realistic Glimpse of the Future

From space exploration to psychedelics to blockchain, the innovation space in Austin had something to provoke thought and action in each attendee.


SXSW '22 was an intellectual journey for the books. The profound experience one can have on the streets of Austin surrounded by creative, forward-thinking minds from around the world, coming together to reflect on where we have been and how to get to where we need to go is enlightening.

The scene at SXSW and in downtown Austin is an environment rooted in traditional South Western culture, eroded (in the best way possible) by innovation and futurism. Austin is the place where cowboys and the Silicon Hills meet. The place where the past, present, and future collide to create a beacon for global innovation.

There is no better place to house the cerebral transcendence that is SXSW than the beautiful city of Austin, the capital of the ninth-largest economy in the world, the great state of Texas.

The Creative Future of Economies

On display during the initial days of SXSW was the future of creation, a sustainable and decentralized creator economy, and the direction the internet is heading. The foundation for the future of content creation is undoubtedly Web3, the next iteration of the World Wide Web, and more specifically, the adoption and integration of blockchain technology. As I have and will continue to point out, the innovations that come with blockchain and Web3 would not be possible without the creation of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the genesis of blockchain technology, a concept that opened a new world of possibilities through decentralized protocols.

The future is one where we can "code and let go" by leveraging the power of smart contracts. This feature allows for a variety of uses. In the case of creators, the ability to generate passive income through codable royalties, the value of immutable ownership of their creations directly reflected on the blockchain, and the ability to create in new ways without the limitations of traditional media and Web2.

The foundation of Web3 innovation is the power of ownership and consensus. Creators and fans no longer have to trust a third party to ensure that revenue is generated and allocated fairly, a phenomenon now left to the blockchain's code and functionality. Furthermore, the way creators build and interact with their community will change in various ways.

It is important to note that these developments are still early. Bitcoin launched only 13 years ago, and we are now just seeing a narrative exploration of the utility of blockchain technology within the mainstream. Initially, it was discussions about price and speculative banter; now, it is a genuine exploration of the potential of adopting this technology for real-world applications and alleviating pains derived from legacy systems.

The Future of Space

Another topic on display at SXSW was the future of space and the economies built around space exploration and humans as interplanetary species. If you thought Web3 and blockchain exploration were throwing you through a loop, add on the prospect of interplanetary travel and commerce.

What will our world and economy look like when we venture to the next frontier? Furthermore, how will the investments in space benefit us at home? These questions and more were answered in a variety of panels at SXSW. You can view any relevant panels with an SXSW After Pass for $149.

Here are some suggested panels:

Alienating Mars: Challenges of Space Colonization

The Commercial Space Age is Here

Earth & Space: Living our Interplanetary Future

The Space Economy for People, Planet, and Texas

The Future of Medicine

In a time of mainstream discussion of mental health, exploring alternatives to traditional treatments of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and various mental health disorders took the main stage at SXSW through "The State of Psychedelics" Summit.

The beauty of such a summit is the overlap of medicine's past, present, and future. Psychedelics have been intertwined with human culture for millennia and are now showing solid signs of adoption through various clinical studies and advocacy from powerhouse intellectuals.

Psychedelics exemplify the synergy between the human body and nature. From Silicon Valley to Main Street, the use cases for psychedelics in the treatment of mental health, life enhancement, and creativity are abundant.

These robust plants and compounds are on the path to reshaping how we think about medicine and our place in the world philosophically. We are on the verge of the "Great Reset of the Mind" through these compounds' clinical and spiritual benefits. I truly believe the power of psychedelics will aid our society's journey to getting to the "Original Position" allowing for our values to be aligned to promote productive dialogue, questioning how we do things and how we approach innovation.

The future is decentralized, trippy, communal, and literally out of this world.


Looking for more information?

View Cole's previous SXSW podcast and posts for more on blockchain, Web3, and the innovations shown in Austin.