"Read the room, people."

Resistance Is Futile

This year's South by Southwest (SXSW) is full of fraught ideologies, and its audiences have had enough.

As tweets from the annual festival show, folks were mighty unhappy when a sizzle reel promising that artificial intelligence is the best thing since sliced bread was screened before an unrelated rom-com.

"The incredibly pro-AI sizzle reel today at SXSW being loudly booed and told to fuck off by roughly a thousand people in the Paramount was heartwarming," RogerEbert.com editor Brian Tallerico tweeted. "Read the room, people."

Indeed, as one video shot by Marcelo Pico of the Talk Film Society blog and podcast demonstrates, people straight up heckled the unnecessary commentary as soon as the words "artificial intelligence" were uttered.

Hit Clips

As a post featuring the clip itself shows, the message being promoted at this year's SXSW is, essentially, telling people that resistance is futile.

In one bit, veteran tech journalist Kara Swisher — who as Gizmodo helpfully points out has also been promoting her new memoir with the help of  OpenAI CEO Sam Altman — is heard saying that "every company is gonna look at AI and figure out how it helps make their companies more efficient."

"Be one of those people that leverages AI," another speaker in the video says, "don’t be run over by it."


It's a deeply unpopular message for many on the hipper end of the tech spectrum — the same crowd that would likely have enjoyed sets by the dozens of artists who have dropped out of the festival after learning that the US military was sponsoring events at it.

As organizers for the Austin for Palestine Coalition boasted in an Instagram post, more than 80 artists have dropped out of the festival in boycott of the American military's participation in the continued siege of Gaza.

While AI boosting is, unfortunately, par for the course in the tech sector that the festival appeals to, the military aspect came as a surprise to many.

"When I found out they were going to have a massive presence at a music festival where creatives and young people get together to collaborate and connect, I couldn’t get behind that," tech CEO Ibrahim Batshon, who is Palestinian-American and a former sponsor of the event via his music licensing platform BeatStars, told the New York Times.

AI and the military may seem like strange bedfellows for the tech and music festival, but it just goes to show that some pre-pandemic traditions deserve to die. If only Coachella, which is still being run by a conservative homophobe, would follow suit.

More on AI weirdness: Kids Are Watching Brain Melting AI-Generated Videos on YouTube Without Parents Realizing

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