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Here's what happened at:
Top Tech Trends for 2017 (and Beyond)'. 

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Thank you to Hugh Forrest of SXSW, Jay Williams of Cerebri, and to Jay Boisseau of Vizias for sharing their expertise and the upcoming trends in technology. 
The 3 speakers covered the technology trends that many expect to change business, government, finance, lifestyle, and society overall in 2017 and beyond. Hugh Forrest, SXSW Chief of Programing, began the discussion by sharing trends—both technological and cultural—that have emerged in the content and programming for the 2017 SXSW festival. These trends include new health & medical technologies, ‘Transportation 2.0,’ 'artificial smartness', diversity, journalism (combatting fake news), new issues in foreign affairs (including dealing with Russia), and Trump's cyber agenda. Attendees of SXSW have a lot to look forward to in terms of discovery and learning about these topics from experts in their fields and other conference attendees. Stay tuned for a big programming announcement on January 11th! 
Jay Boisseau, CEO of Vizias and director of the Austin Forum, discussed the nature of predicting technology trends—who makes these predictions, why, and for whom. He shared the technology trends lists of some tech media, analysts, and consultants, which covered over 20 total technology trends and technology applications. Boisseau then identified five core technologies that are (almost) universal in these lists, and will play crucial roles in emerging applications such as precision medicine and autonomous vehicles: the Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. The Austin Forum recently covered virtual reality (in an excellent presentation by Patrick Curry), so Boisseau and Jay Williams, Executive VP and CTO of Cerebri AI, provided a quick overview of the other four.  Dedicated Austin Forum events on these topics will follow in the next few months.
Boisseau then presented his overview of the Internet of Things(IoT), and why it is important (and perhaps inevitable) for everything from smart homes and buildings to autonomous vehicles and smart cities, but also presents major security challenges. Williams immediately followed with an overview of cybersecurity, and showed a great/scary video illustrating the anatomy and potential impact of a cyberattacks.  Williams also covered artificial intelligence, and how it is permeating almost every aspect of our lives from our phones and our homes to our business communications (e.g. chatbots) and transportation. He discussed the ethical dilemmas that will arise as artificial intelligence becomes pervasive-- how a car makes decisions when all options could results in fatalities, the ramifications for job losses to smart robots, and more. Williams concluded with a discussion of blockchain, a secure, distributed ledger that is beginning to find users beyond bitcoin (which, incidentally, has hit a three year high of over $1000 per bitcoin!). Again, all of these topics will be covered in greater detail in upcoming Austin Forum on Technology and Society events.

View presentation slides.
Internet of Things (IoT)

From smart locks to light bulbs, the Internet of Things is transforming many aspects of daily life: the home, the office, city streets and more. By connecting us to the systems and environments that shape our daily routines, IoT products allow users greater control over door locks, lights, and appliances and offer fine grained control of those systems. The devices offer insights into the data of consumption habits which can help to optimize energy savings, time, and effort of personal and business routines. 

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Security: ducks, hacks, and drones
Smart toys with apps:
Edwin, the Duck and other smart toys for children offer interactive apps that not only educate, but allow parents to control nightlight, bath temperature monitoring, songs, and games. 

View video

From package delivery to precision farming, drones have the potential to be very beneficial in the coming years. Deliveries are made easy wth drones and can alleviate traffic, but there are concerns about security and safety. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Self Driving Cars: 
The first commercial delivery by a self-driving truck was completed in 2016-- a Budweiser beer delivery! "Otto", the truck, shipped 45,000 Budweisers 120 miles from a weigh station in Fort Collins, CO to Colorado Springs. AI could enable a safer and more efficient transportation network, but there are still safety and regulation concerns. 

Amazon Echo:  
Over 5.2M Echos were sold in 2016. Through the use of skills, the personal home uses are vast from ordering pizza to getting the latest traffic and weather updates. But the uses in commercial and military sectors are interesting. In healthcare, Echo can extend how surgeons and medical personal interact in an operating room. Soldiers can use the conversational interface to interact with relevant data during military operations using voice models when their hands are literally full and time is a matter of life or death. 

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A blockchain is a public ledger ledger for recording the history of transactions. Cryptography is used to protect the data from fraud or hackers. The benefits are extensive-- decentralisation, reliability, simplification, transparency, ability to trace transactions, cost saving, reduced room for error, faster transactions and improved data quality. Hailed as “the new internet,” blockchain may be transforming the financial services industry with hundreds of institutions and companies, both financial and commercial, rapidly joining in. 

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Join us in February at Galvanize for
Got a great technology idea that you want to turn into an innovation? Interested in creating a tech startup but not sure what that entails? Have questions about development, IP, funding, marketing, finances, etc? How do you start with a great idea and build a great tech company?

It is easy to get excited about the possibility of starting a successful tech company—especially in Austin—and to dream about possibilities of becoming a household name or being acquired by the Googles or Apples of the tech world. However, turning a great tech idea into a viable tech company with impact and success requires more than an idea and hard work. It also requires a comprehensive business plan, sufficient funding, an effective development team, great marketing and sales staff, intellectual property protection, effective management, careful accounting, and of course, customers. So, while most tech company founders’ success stories start with an idea, a community need, or a pivot from another venture, these success stories depend on much more than that initial idea/need.

Join us for a special Austin Forum event to learn it takes to build on a great tech idea and launch a great tech company. We will have experienced speakers and panelists from incubators, venture capital funding firms, IP firms, accounting firms, and more, all sharing their expertise and lessons learned, and answering your questions.

WEDNESDAY, February 1, 2017
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Downtown Austin
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