South by Southwest (SXSW) Panel Picker season is approaching, and with that, it’s got me feeling nostalgic about Acquia’s panel at SXSW this past March. One aspect of my role at Acquia is to submit ideas to events and conferences.
Blockchain, the Decentralized Web & SXSW
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For SXSW 2018, we landed on a really cool theme -- Starting the Internet All Over Again -- with some really cool panelists -- Acquia’s own Preston So (director of research and innovation), Muneeb Ali (co-founder, Blockstack), Andrei Sambra (technical lead, Qwant), and Sara Watson (writer and technology critic, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society).
The purpose of bringing these future-focused thinkers and doers together was to dig deeper on the movement to build a secondary portal to the web. Because unless you’ve been living under a rock (more power to you), the centralization of the web into the hands of “big tech” has exploded and is challenging how we think about our democracy, our privacy, and even our very identities.
So when envisioning this talk, we thought what better way to confront the centralization of the web than to assemble a panel of folks who are actually leading the charge to protect personal data and build a more decentralized web within their own organizations and the broader community.
There’s a huge Blockchain component here, but the talk also explores beyond that to the promise and reality of a decentralized web. You’ll hear insights how we got to where we are now, where the web is headed if we don’t do anything, and what we can collectively do to create real change and regain freedom over our personal user data.
I won’t give it all away, you’ll have to watch the full video for that. But here are a couple of my favorite soundbites from the discussion:
Watch the full talk here: