Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

SXSW 2012: TED, The Raid, disruption and Al Gore

It was very interesting to see the venerable TED organisation hosting two nights at SXSWi and proof that even a brand leader like TED needs to jump on the Austin bandwagon. For those at the back, TED is a brilliant …

Tue, Mar 13, 2012, 08:49

   

It was very interesting to see the venerable TED organisation hosting two nights at SXSWi and proof that even a brand leader like TED needs to jump on the Austin bandwagon. For those at the back, TED is a brilliant series of talks and conferences about ideas and has been running in various forms since 1984. You can access tons of TED talks for free on their website – meanwhile, if you actually want to be at one of their two annual confabs, you’re looking at spending a lot of money (from $2,500 to $7,500), hence the huge interest in this. Sunday’s session featured eight minute presentations from speakers like DJ Spooky, Ayah Bdeir (who was spreading the Lego-like gospel of Little Bits), JP Rangaswami, Nandu Madhava and others.

The Raid: Redemption is the flick which picked up the nods for best film from the audience and from the critics at the recent Dublin International Film Festival for director Gareth Evans and co. The tale of a police squad attempting to take out a drug lord in situ at the top of a Jakarta tower block (with every manner of ne’er-do-wells on every other floor), it’s a violent, action-packed, thrilling kick-ass action flick with incredible martial arts scenes and choreography throughout. The crowd at the Paramount roared along with every knife attack and every improvised explosive device. Not a film for all the family, unless all the family dig superbly bloody and unbowed uber-action.

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The word of the week so far? That would be disruption. Coming soon to an industry or sector near you.

“Democracy has been hacked…it’s time for Occupy Democracy”. The rallying cry of Al Gore, the former US Vice-President (and president for a few minutes until those darn chads got in the way) who was in town for a keynote conversation with Napster and Facebook disruptor Sean Parker, who talked about his work with campaigning sites Votizen and NationBuilder. Gore applauded the recent efforts Stateside to stop SOPA, urged people to also campaign against efforts by governments worldwide to censor the internet and talked passionately about the coroding effects on US politicians of the efforts to keep collecting money from special interests to pay for TV campaign ads. Parker, for his part, talked about his belief that new online tools will reduce the need for such cash-calls and ensure campaigning is less dominated by TV coverage. But it was the former VP who was the real star of this gathering and provided a reminder that some politicians can be rock stars.

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