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Sony Wraps SXSW 2019 With Panels Headlined By Garry Kasparov, Jürgen Schmidhuber, Kate Darling Among Other Luminaries Under The Key Question "Will Technology Enrich Human Creativity?"
Attendees immersed themselves in interactive experiential exhibits at Sony booth "WOW Studio"

TOKYO, March 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Corporation ("Sony") wrapped its third year at SXSW (South by Southwest), the world's largest creative business festival in Austin, Texas. Sony hosted a variety of discussion sessions led by special guests Garry Kasparov, Jürgen Schmidhuber and Kate Darling among others. Discussions centered on the theme of technology enhancing human creativity and expanding human senses through technology. Attendees also immersed themselves in interactive experiential exhibits at the WOW Studio throughout its four-day showcase from March 9 through March 12. More than 13,000 people visited WOW Studio in four days.

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Below is a recap of the discussion sessions and key topics.

Can technology re-envision human creativity?

The discussion centered on how technological development will deepen understanding of human beings, and how it may expand our creativity. AI and technology can do more exhaustive research than humans, thus enhancing efficiency and freeing up time to encourage more creativity.

  • Dr. Jürgen Schmidhuber, father of modern AI
  • Hiroshi Ishiguro, the doyen of research on humanoid robots
  • Hiroaki Kitano, President and CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (Sony CSL)

Is it silly to care about a robot?

A conversation on the intersection of humanity and robotics and why humans develop an emotional connection to robots. When conducting a focus study, Dr. Kate Darling found humans have an extremely strong connection to robot animals.

  • Dr. Kate Darling, Research Specialist at the MIT Media Lab
  • Hiroshi Ishiguro, the doyen of research on humanoid robots

What is the future of musical creativity?

The speakers gave a presentation and demonstration on a new music project utilizing AI assist composition technique "Flow Machines (" by Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. and Sony CSL.

  • Toshihiro Konno, Chief Financial Officer, Corporate EVP, at Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
  • Tatsuya Yamori, Strategic Marketing Div. and Corporate Planning Strategy Div. at Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
  • Hiroaki Kitano, President and CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (Sony CSL)

Can AI re-envision human creativity?

The panel discussion focused on the expansion of human creativity through AI, a topic discussed all over the world. So many people are afraid that machines will become intelligent and take over our lives but the reality is, they have already taken over our lives, and the speakers discussed coexistence.

  • Garry Kasparov, Avast Security Ambassador
  • Peter Stone, Professor, UTexas at Austin researching AI/Robotics; President and COO of Cogitai, Inc.
  • Hiroaki Kitano, President and CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (Sony CSL)

Can AI × Robotics × Cooking drive a new food culture and gastronomic creativity?

The discussion focused on how AI could contribute to gastronomy and attendees experienced a food pairing based on the aroma pairing science at the end of the session. Using AI, we can come up with interesting food combinations we wouldn't think of otherwise.

  • François Chartier, Créateur d'Harmonies/Sommelier
  • Masahiro Fujita, Sony Corporation, Chief Technology Engineer
  • Michael Spranger, Sony CSL researcher

Is your body yours? Technology re-defines embodiment.

An in-depth look at how the human senses can be enhanced using technology. Technology such as by improving signals in your muscles, you're able to react more quickly, was introduced.

  • Olaf Blanke, Professor of Neuroscience, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)
  • Shunichi Kasahara, Sony CSL researcher

What experience can anyone enjoy?

Panelists discussed how technology can be inclusive for everyone. For example, the CAVE without a LIGHT Exhibit at the WOW Studio is all about heightening human's hearing and was created by a diverse set of experts. Based on this example, they talked about their own opinion of inclusive design.

  • Daniel Kish, Lead Founder | President of | World Access For The Blind
  • Brian Bushway, Senior Instructor Visioneer
  • Aya Nishikawa, Sony Quality & Environmental Dept, Human Centered Design Professional, senior manager
  • Takamoto Tsuda, Design Manager, Sony Creative Center, UI/UX designer

A new hero. A new story. How will technology create magic through storytelling?

Panelists discussed the possibilities of technology expanding entertainment and creating magic through storytelling. A sneak peek of the movie "Kingdom" was also previewed for guests.

  • Tetsuya Mizuguchi, a game creator who aims to expand synesthesia by using mixtures of videos, sounds and VR
  • Shinzo Matsuhashi, producer of the new movie "Kingdom" releasing in Japan on April 19
  • Glenn Gainor, movie producer, head of physical production for Sony Pictures Screen Gems and President of Innovation Studios, Sony Entertainment & Technology

What are next frontiers for creative entertainment? In partnership with Sony Innovation Fund.

It was an inspiring event showcasing how Sony Innovation Fund (SIF) fosters creativity by pushing the boundaries of technology and entertainment. 3 of Sony Innovation Fund's portfolio companies shared their take on disruptive content creation and distribution.

  • Verity Studios / Littlstar / ROLI

In addition to the panels, WOW Studio attendees also immersed themselves in Sony's interactive exhibits, which included:

  • CAVE without a LIGHT
    • It is an experiential exhibition of inclusive design* that can be enjoyed without vision developed by Quality & Environmental Dept., Creative Center, and R&D Center at Sony. You can experience playing music together with other attendees using Sony's sound and haptic technology in a dark cave like setting. This program demonstrates the possibility of technology that diverse people can enjoy themselves regardless of the presence of disability
      * Inclusive design: A method of designing together, acquiring new awareness by understanding diversity.
  • Flow Machines
    • AI-assisted music composition technology, a joint project of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. and Sony CSL. Flow Machines is a research and deployment project aimed at achieving augmented creativity of artists in music.
  • Superception
    • A research framework led by Sony CSL that uses computer technologies for expanding and transforming human perception. This is the third year Superception will be featured at SXSW. This year Sony will showcase "Fragment Shadow", one of the latest outcomes of the research, a system that enables you to experience changes in bodily sensations through visual changes in your own shadow.
  • Das Fremde
    • An installation based on the research of Sony CSL using robots and an autonomous agent program to show how language emerged, and how it has evolved and changed. Multiple robots, each possessing different traits and knowledge, create new words and communicate in new ways as they interact and are influenced by their surroundings and the people watching.

For more information, photos and to watch the discussion session live streams, please visit [] and [].

About SXSW

SXSW (South by Southwest) is an event featuring music, film and interactive media that has taken place in Austin, Texas, since 1987. The event attended by professions across the world has focused on helping creative people achieve their goals by providing networking opportunities through multiple sessions, exhibits and screenings. The diversity of topics discussed by people from many different backgrounds is known to allow for unexpected discoveries. SXSW 2019 was held from March 8 (Fri) to March 17 (Sun) and the Interactive Festival themed on new technologies and business ideas was held from March 8 (Fri) to March 12 (Tue).



For further information: Sony SXSW2019 Global PR Department, Ketchum, Liz Villafan,, 310.437.2539