Attendees at South by Southwest last week didn’t know that Elon Musk would make an surprise appearance and tell attendees at this festival of booze, BBQ, music and tech about his aspirations in starting a civilization on Mars, or how artificial intelligence is more dangerous than nuclear warheads. But Musk’s arrival, and the accompanying buzz that spread from Austin to Australia, was a homerun for SXSW. Organizers said roughly 422,000 people attended the conference between March 10 to March 19 last year. While this year’s numbers have yet to be finalized, organizers expect the tally to be at least that high (or higher) this year. The notion that SXSW is the conference where companies such as Twitter or Foursquare make their debut is long gone. The fun was balanced by weightier themes such as the lack of ethics in artificial intelligence and the need to hold tech companies accountable. And while larger-than-life spectacles, such as the Google Assistant Fun House (where you could make a car bounce by saying, “OK Google, bounce!”) were present, so were smaller, intimate events, which appeared to be part of a growing trend at this year’s festival. Continue reading at

Source: AdAge Digital Three Takeaways (And a Tip) From SXSW