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The Speakeasy at SXSW, sponsored by adidas

The Difference Engine

Monday, March 12, 2012 from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM (CDT)

Ticket Information

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Guest Ended Free  
Provocateur Ended Free  

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Event Details


The Speakeasy is a day-long series of small sessions amongst makers, doers, innovators, artists, philosophers, futurist, hackers, nerds - people who love to speculate on technology, art, humanity, the future, and who don't mind whiteboards, post-it notes, sharpies, and drawing/jotting/posting.  It’s a combination of smart people and the future facing technologies, and tech theories or quandaries they’re dealing with.


We’ll start the day much like an unconference - posting the session topics and inviting participants to suggest additional ideas to be explored during the day.  Each session will be about 45 minutes in length - and we’ll run up to three simultaneously depending on the turnout.


Each session will feature a provocation - a person or group of people initiating the session with a big idea.  The groups can decide whether to handle their session as an ideation & white-boarding session, a “fishbowl” in which participants “tag in” to the conversation, hack sessions for light prototyping, a hands-on peer learning ‘class’, or a debate. The only requirement is that sessions not be structured as “panels/presenters with audience” - we believe everyone has big questions to ask, good ideas to share and useful concepts or skills to teach.



SXSW has grown - and with that growth the initial allure of technologists (hackers, coders, makers, theorists, futurists, artists, philosophers, etc.) sharing ideas with other technologists has been diluted amidst the parties, product launches, networking and brand promotion.


The Speakeasy will provide a space for technologists to speculate, explore, predict, hack, make, and invent.  We’ll play with ideas, riff on themes, debate the possibilities - in other words, we’ll engage in ‘intellectual jazz’.


Farrah Bostic of The Difference Engine

Tim Malbon of Made by Many

Katie Dreke of Adidas

Joanne McNeil of

< Speakers TBC >


Possible Provocations

> Hacking the body: How will tracking physio data help us 'level up' our fitness, while still embracing the concept of play?

> The Internet of Clothing: How will internet-connected, tech-embedded apparel influence the way we interact with each other and environment around us?

> The New Pattern: How will 3D printing, downloadable patterns, and customizable design-meets-individual manufacturing change the way we design and wear apparel? 

> The Way We Work Now: How will we make things in the future as technologies improve and evolve for virtual collaboration, sharing and prototyping?

> What Happens on the Internet Stays on the Internet: What kind of new regime of privacy and intellectual privacy should emerge to deal with the competing needs for permanence v. temporality, or the right to be found v. the right to be forgotten, or the need to share and spread ideas v. the desire for ownership?

> Singularity Remorse: How ‘human’ should or could technology become?  Will our phones learn to console us, tell us jokes, scold us, be our friends? And as we expect our tech to seem more human, more like us, will we begin to see ourselves as hardware whose software can be continuously upgraded? 

> Nostalgia for the Future: What do we miss about the way we once saw the future - full of space exploration, federations of planets, alien races, sentient robots, lasers and gamma rays, phasers and warp drives, light speed and Death Stars?  What utopias or dystopias do we expect or long for today?

> And much, much more!

Have questions about The Speakeasy at SXSW, sponsored by adidas? Contact The Difference Engine
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When & Where

The Gypsy Lounge
1504 East 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702

Monday, March 12, 2012 from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM (CDT)

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The Difference Engine

The Difference Engine is a responsive strategy & design company based in Brooklyn. We believe good ideas come from a heady combination of theory and proof.

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The Speakeasy at SXSW, sponsored by adidas
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