Ireland has always had a large presence at the SXSW festival and conference, both in the form of musical talent and emerging entrepreneurs.

Major participants such as Apple, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok pull out

Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks to reporters in Salt Lake City, Utah, US. Photograph:  Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Debates over whether innovation could thrive under Bernie Sanders presidency are a distraction

We wouldn’t deny a farmer’s right to use a plough on the grounds that the tool is replacing workers. Artificial intelligence is simply a more sophisticated plough.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The ‘end is nigh’ brigade underestimate just how extraordinarily adaptable humans are

Medically inclined mathematicians are few and far between. Of those that are around, however, quite a few have been trying to crack the code on the Big C. Photograph: iStock

Maths and physics could provide more answers for cancer than we realise

GDPR will be remembered as one of the most laudable actions the EU has ever taken on behalf of its citizens. File photograph: Getty

Any kind of regulation that limits a variety of human activity will likely stifle innovation

Steam escaping from a fumarole in a geothermal area  in Iceland. File photograph: Adrian Studer/Getty Images

Geothermal heat could help ensure a greener future for us all. But there is a catch

The border wall  in  Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Homemade, lightweight ladders are being made from the very same rebar rods supposedly reinforcing the integrity of the  wall  itself. Photograph: Alyssa Schukar/the New York Times

A book written 50 years ago may contain many of the solutions to getting past the barrier between Mexico and the US

John Goodenough  has never stopped trying to innovate and improve upon the battery prototype he invented and the world is still using

Geniuses of all kinds surround me at a select dinner in John Goodenough’s Texas home

Slowly but surely autonomous vehicles advocates will get their way

Texas is already accelerating into the autonomous driving future

US president Donald Trump claimed on Twitter that Ford wanted “to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn’t work as well”. Photograph: Doug Mills/New York Times

President and major manufacturers in stand-off over exhaust emission standards

We could be so much more advanced in Stem research if we could overcome the archaic patriarchal legacies dominating so many fields of expertise. Photograph: Getty Images

Could girls’ superior reading skills really be what’s holding back gender diversity in Stem?

Houston, we have a problem. Technology has advanced so much since the 1969 moon landing there’s no need for astronauts such as Buzz Aldrin, above, any more. Photograph: Jim Bennett/Getty Images

As the 50th anniversary looms, we need to find new ways to excite aspiring astronauts

“The #FridaysForFuture movement may force parents to fork out a lot more money on sitters or skip work themselves on Fridays.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Movement is now supported by army of millennials alert to dangers of climate crisis

Lets be clear: the companies in the gig economy may have their problems, but that doesn’t change the fact that they provide the means for people in a number of marginalised positions to generate extra income where there was no income before.

The gig economy is ultimately a force for good that empowers vulnerable people

 Bill Gates at Trump Tower in New York. It  was during a  meeting between Gates and Trump in March of 2018 that the billionaire  claims he changed the president’s opinion on vaccinations.   Photograph:  Getty Images

The US administration has presumably been getting its scientific and medical advice from Dr Seuss, the TV show Scrubs and the back(...)

Cannabis plants being cultivated legally in a greenhouse in Switzerland. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Excreted byproducts of cannabis are increasing as territories legalise the drug

From angel investors to blockchain advocates, politics to tech polemicists, Austin played host to them all

Apple chief executive Tim Cook is openly gay and also on great terms with one of the most conservative US presidents the country has elected in decades. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Efforts are being made to engender an all-embracing culture, but it’s an uphill struggle

‘Listen before talking,’ urged Rohit Bhargava at SXSW

Top takeaways from Rohit Bhargava’s talk on opening day of SXSW Interactive 2019

SXSW expects about 300,000 to attend the conference.

SXSW: Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook on the agenda

A new mission hopes  to one day form the basis for a contingency plan to save humanity from the fate of the dinosaurs.  File photograph: Getty Images

John Holden: Nasa-led expedition is seeking to protect Earth against future destruction

Demonstrators take part in the March for Science in Washington, DC in April              2018.  Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

US scientists are realising they can no longer be passive on climate change and health

 Eight border wall prototypes on display in California, US. File photograph: Josh Haner/The New York Times

The truth about migration from Mexico does not matter for those pitching for the project

Texas, the state synonymous with oil and gas, has become the leading supplier of wind energy in the United States.

Now that wind and solar are becoming cheaper than fossil fuels in many parts of the country, coal, oil and gas have lost the one t(...)

He Jiankui guides a laboratory staff member at the Direct Genomics lab in Shenzhen,  China. The scientist has claimed to have  created the world’s first gene-edited twin baby girls, ‘Lulu’ and ‘Nana’, whose genetic alterations could make them immune to HIV. Photograph: VCG via Getty Images

Chinese scientist accused of breaching guidelines on using CRISPR genome technology

A self-driving Volvo which Uber was testing crashed in Arizona last year.

Study shows 19 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds would prefer to drive autonomous vehicle

Irish fare: it could take decades for a country only now being recognised for the quality of its ingredients  to get a piece of the pie, especially when so many other nations – China, Italy, France and Thailand – have been well-established for so long.

Why are there so many Thai restaurants in the US? And so many terrible ‘Irish’ pubs?

An Amazon fulfilment centre in Baltimore. These centres are where the majority of Amazon’s 500,000 employees work. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

Firm’s marketplace is really a marketing tool – most profits come from cloud computing

Donald Trump’s tweets condemning so-called ‘fake news’ media usually only reach most Americans through those same news outlets. Photograph: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The US president has the big tech players in his sights – will they ignore him or fight back?

Female participation in the US army accounts for 15 per cent of those in active duty and 19 per cent of their reserve forces. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

John Holden: For all liberal fears of the US military industrial complex, the massive funding it receives also supports research i(...)

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla. Right now the world’s attention has shifted away from his plans to get to Mars and back to Tesla.  Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Entrepreneur may have to ruthlessly push the labour chain to its limits to achieve production goals

Pope Francis, who is soon to visit Ireland. For entreprensurs, to be able to see every situation as an opportunity is an incredible gift. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

Britain’s exit from EU opens up many doors for resourceful tech entrepreneurs

The Stanford robot was able to correctly classify gay and straight men 81 per cent of the time, and gay and straight women 71 per cent of the time when provided with just one image of the subject.

Photograph-analysing algorithm likely to be used as tool for intolerance of LGBTQ people

It is nearly impossible to know what’s really going on up in space

Nation states are no longer the driving force behind the next space race. Money is

Birr Castle: A decade later and I-Lofar is up and running now for almost one entire earth year, testament to the unwavering determination its supporters.  Photograph: Liam Burke/Press 22

Dragging up the late Irish laureate’s name can overshadow successes in other areas

President Richard Nixon, a firm advocate for greater environmental protections, was 57 when he signed the US Clean Air Act into law in December 1970. Photograph: AP Photo

Average age of founders of functioning US companies is 42, researchers say

Flying ahead: A model of Uber’s urban flying taxi on display at the Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles, California.  Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Discussing the sex drives of successful entrepreneurs seems a little, well, masturbatory

Would robots that can think for themselves choose to be altruistic, compassionate and fair?

Do we overrate human thought when we presume AI would lack compassion?

An engineer works on robot at a lab of a doll factory of EXDOLL. With China facing a massive gender gap and a greying population, a company wants to hook up lonely men and retirees with “smart” sex dolls that can talk, play music and turn on dishwashers.

Promising innovations rarely begin as philanthropic tools to improve people’s lives

Crown prince Haakon Magnus of Norway speaks on stage during the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Photograph: Rick Kern/WireImage

Crown prince tells SXSW festival how to ‘innovate the Nordic way’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is interviewed by Evan Smith, CEO of Texas Tribune at the SXSW festival in Austin on Sunday. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Enterprise Ireland stand demonstrates potential of our country’s growing tech sector

“It is getting pretty old to condemn Gen Z for being ‘addicted’ to their smartphones or other devices. They are products of the digital age. That should not be something we hold against them.”

Today’s teenagers differ from millennials on issues from individualism to careers

 Tesla CEO and SapceX founder Elon Musk.

SXSW 2018: The Tesla and SpaceX founder also talks Mars bars and tunnels

Trump that: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets Arnold Schwarzenegger in Austin, Texas, while in the city for the South by Southwest festival as part of his visit to the United States. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Austin festival focuses on tech and innovation – with Leo Varadkar one of few politicians

Blurred lines: augmented reality seamlessly blends reality and virtual, taking us even deeper into a world where the lines between reality and the artificial continue to blur

Trends are as common in tech as they are in fashion, but which are the ones most likely to last?

Digital suicide (through the deletion of social media accounts, unsubscribing from mailing lists, etc) is rampant

WWW has shifted away from opportunities of World Wide Web into the World Wild West

As Amazon currently scouts the United States in search of a location for its new HQ2 city mayors from several major cities have been using their best chat-up lines to woo the retail giant. Photograph: David Ryder/Getty Images

We have turned corporate and political courtship into an art form

While many firms in Ireland are still playing catch-up, innovative legal apps have been in use for some time

A look at some of the newest and most widely adopted products and services being offered for the law firms of tomorrow

Innovation in Law

While robots will never be able to replace lawyers entirely, many firms are investing in AI as a way of automating junior tasks

On average, ‘HQ Trivia’ attracts about 400,000 viewers in the afternoon and more than 600,000 during prime time in the US.

Developers of quiz show-based app face challenges posed by exponential growth

‘Weather balloons are the only technology we have to get a sample of what’s actually happening inside a storm.’ Image: iStock

In the age of satellites and drones, the old-fashioned weather balloon is making a comeback, as meteorologists realise it is still(...)

Many charities continue to target potential new donors through direct, public fundraising despite the negative press. Why? Because it works

‘People still want to give, and leveraging new technologies responsibly is the way to get to new donors’

Much of the change currently happening in the modern workplace is being driven less by millennials than it is by their parents, or even their grandparents

John Holden: There is a growing cohort of older workers joining the new economic space

It never rains but it pours: Ireland is facing the double whammy of Brexit and the impending overhaul of US tax policy. Photograph: iStock

We look ahead to 2018 and our future relationship with our two key trading partners

Master of all s/he surveys?

John Holden: Tech and organised religion may seem world’s apart but they have one thing in common: both are taken way too seriousl(...)

Eight out of the 10 largest medical device companies in the world – including Pfizer, Boston Scientific, Bayer and Medtronic – have substantial Irish operations

Four decades of continuous investment has made Ireland the location of choice for international life sciences companies

‘The culture of Ireland is amenable to team success rather than individual glory’

Singapore, The Netherlands and Switzerland are other countries that have also succeeded in creating synergy between science and in(...)

Most of the wind and solar energy powering Georgetown in Texas is travelling halfway across a state on a par with France in terms of physical size.

Georgetown’s change to wind and solar prompted by lower cost of green energy

Salesforce are one of the few major tech companies which has addressed the gender pay gap and, while it requires constant surveillance to ensure pay rises are spread evenly across male and female staff, it’s working. Photograph: Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Comparably is helping to tackle this issue by informing firms if they are underpaying staff

While AI has been around for decades in various guises, the technology has come on leaps and bounds in the past 10 years.

Knowing how to apply machine learning confounds many business owners

The United States now offers the greatest opportunity for Ireland to thrive in a post-Brexit global economy. Photograph: iStock

Ireland’s continued economic success, post-Brexit, will come from maintaining and strengthening ties with the US, chief creative officer of 3d Systems Corp, speaking at Dreamforce. Photograph: Michael Short/Bloomberg

The customer relations management giant’s recent conference looked a bit like a cult

“Salesforce reimagined AI, bringing it out of the lab and into the hands of business users with Salesforce Einstein, which now generates more than 475 million predictions every day,” said John Ball, general manager and senior vice president, Salesforce Einstein

New Salesforce AI platform promises to ‘empower’ developers

Lyft’s tenacity in pursuing Uber’s market share has paid off, with Alphabet injecting $1 billion of fresh investment into the ride-sharing service. Photograph: Lane Turner/Boston Globe via Getty Images

Alphabet decision welcome for sector in need of more even-handed competition

Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive officer of,  delivers the keynote speech during the DreamForce Conference in San Francisco.

Business customers wii have access to their combined customer intelligence data

In 2009, having still been no more than a glint in chief executive and founder Gavan Walsh’s eye, the concept for iCabbi was born.

Can Irish tech firm born ‘in the cloud’ save regular taxi industry from extinction?

Adrian Newey, the chief technical officer of Red Bull Racing: he among the speakers at The Future festival. Photograph:   Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Event has the potential to fill more than the tech/start-up gap left by the Web Summit

Amazon is becoming less of an open marketplace where various brands and manufacturers compete for consumers

Online commercial giant is quietly taking over the retail sector and nobody seems to mind

Oracle’s “old-school” reputation isn’t helped by chief executive Mark Hurd (40), who is of the traditional “suit and tie” generation of company heads. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The enterprise services giant is striding ahead in cloud technology, the next frontier in data storage

Larry Ellison, chairman and co-founder of Oracle speaks during the Oracle OpenWorld 2017 conference in San Francisco, California.

Larry Ellison targets Amazon in keynote speech

Know the code: a whole new tongue – the language of computers – will be what separates the educated from the ignorant masses of tomorrow.

Here are eight reasons why being able to write code for computers is so highly prized

The 50th and final dare of the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’, sadly, has been completed by approximately 200 players worldwide: suicide.

The ‘Blue Whale’ project exhibits a deeply sinister side effect of life in the digital age

People walk down a flooded street as they evacuate their homes after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Locals come out for my ill-advised gig in a diverse city growing used to severe flooding

A Deliveroo worker goes about his business. As the law tries to catch up with the technology, a couple of companies dig their heels in – Air BnB, Uber, Lyft, Deliveroo, TaskRabbit, Deliveroo. Photograph:  Mikael Buck/Deliveroo

Lawmakers scramble to enforcing regulations on burgeoning economic model

Daybreak at Gale Crater

Colonising Mars requires overcoming significant challenges but human entrepreneurship knows no bounds

We all see the internet through Google-tinted glasses. Photograph: Getty

But the ways users search for and retrieve information online are changing dramatically

Most workers in the gig economy can’t believe their luck.

Politically motivated complaints about workers’ rights ignores laissez faire earning choices made by many

Prof Guihua Yu He has created an all-stretchable battery for wearables using sugar cubes as a platform for designing the battery materials. Photograph: David Crockett/Getty Images

Sugar is the surprise ingredient in a stretchable battery for wearable technology

“Data has the power to shape a company’s fortunes if utilised correctly.”

Data is the new digital frontier and companies who fail to embrace it will be left behind, warn experts

“Even though we can still only read approximately 260 words per minute, we get to read only the newest and most relevant information gathered on our behalf.”

What happens when human bias finds its way into User Interface Design?

John Goodenough: the electric car is his  focus  in terms of application of his  new battery

Goodenough says the scientist is doing his best to keep man from destroying the planet

Iron Man 3: still some way from becoming reality

Big money is being spent on exoskeleton research but serious problems persist

Microsoft Build: the annual conference for software engineers and web developers using any of the firm’s growing products and services list took place last week in Seattle, Washington

Software conference offers snapshot of tech giant’s handle on emerging trends

John Holden: “Now pushing 40, I’m still as defiant as ever when it comes to joining the rat race.”

An insight into jobs whose reward is not security but the freedom to choose hours

Bullet proof: New research doesn’t take into account the immediate impact of playing violent games such as Grand Theft Auto 6 (above).

We make negative assumptions about videogames, they have benefits, a study claims

The US military test fires an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile  at Vandenberg Air Force Base,  California.  Photograph: Ringo Chiu/AFP/Getty

The US military’s research arm is interested in far more than simply combat 

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella opens the US technology titan’s annual Build Conference in Seattle on May 10th, 2017. The focus is on artificial intelligence that follows people from device to device. Photograph: Glenn Chapman/AFP/Getty Images

Microsoft looks to position itself at leading edge of global cloud storage market

The KingramRed report on the state of digital transformation in Ireland 2017 found a majority of the participants  still believed responsibility for going digital lay below CEO level with IT departments. Photograph: iStockphoto

KingramRed Digital Transformation report finds businesses lack vision for digital future

An Uber driver during a strike against withdrawal of driver incentives in New Delhi, India, earlier this year. Photograph: Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The ride-sharing service uses psychological tricks and data to stack the odds in its favour

Drop by drop: water molecules are made up of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. Isolated hydrogen is known for its highly flammable properties, which make it a perfect fuel.

Scientists are making strides in the discovery of potentially viable solar fuel materials

Ignorance of the law can bring crippling fines which frequently put a painful dent into a business’s finances and reputation. Photograph: iStock

Many businesses are in breach of laws they aren’t even aware exist

Prof John Goodenough (95): ‘I’m old enough to know you can’t close your mind to new ideas’

A new battery cell prototype may be the best chance tech has at creating faster, safer and longer-lasting rechargeable battery pow(...)

Fleetwood Mac in 1968.  From left: Peter Green, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood and Jeremy Spencer

Fleetwood Mac are celebrating 50 years of making music. Mick Fleetwood discusses the line-up changes, the turbulent times, and the(...)

Crystal engineering refers to the design and synthesis of molecular solid-state structures with intended properties.

Materials developed here have commercial potential worldwide

Attendees wear cardboard “faceboxes” at the SXSW interactive festival in Austin. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Austin’s mayor to lead trade group to Ireland in July to help forge new links

Actor Michael Fassbender takes part in the Made in Austin: A Look Into “Song To Song” panel discussion during  the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Photograph:  Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Benefits to business links ‘work both ways’ for US and Irish economy

Chris Sacca, founder of Lowercase Capital, speaks to Alex Konrad at the 2017 South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. Photograph: David Paul Morris

This year’s SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, is not shying away from politics

Tinder’s decision to let users define their own gender identity has proved ‘hugely popular’

Hugh Forrest: “One of the big reasons why people like coming to SXSW is the city itself.” Photograph: Heather Kennedy/Getty Images

The Interactive director talks Trump, Web Summit and keeping sane over two decades

French president François Hollande shakes hands with Cybedroid robot Leenby at the Élysée Palace in Paris during the Viva Technology conference. Photograph: Michel Euler/AFP/Getty Images

Futurologists use computer modelling to analyse trends and predict likely outcomes

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