Oliver Burkeman went to Texas to the South by Southwest festival of film, music and technology, in search of the next big idea. After three days he found it: the boundary between 'real life' and 'online' has disappeared.
If my grandchildren ever ask me where I was when I realised the internet was over – they won’t, of course, because they’ll be too busy playing with the teleportation console – I’ll be able to be quite specific: I was in a Mexican restaurant opposite a cemetery in Austin, Texas, halfway through eating a taco. It was the end of day two of South by Southwest Interactive, the world’s highest-profile gathering of geeks and the venture capitalists who love them, and I’d been pursuing a policy of asking those I met, perhaps a little too aggressively, what it was exactly that they did. What is “user experience”, really? What the hell is “the gamification of healthcare”? Or “geofencing”? Or “design thinking”? Or “open source government”? What is “content strategy”? No, I mean, like, specifically?