fbpixel SXSW 2023: The Future of New Technologies, Community and Inclusivity. - MG Empower
Written by - Andrea Cortes

SXSW 2023: The Future of New Technologies, Community and Inclusivity.


The South by Southwest (SXSW) festival is known for being an incubator of new ideas – a place where innovators and experts come together to discuss the future of technology. 

And as the innovation and growth manager at MG Empower, a marketing agency born from innovation, I was like a kid in a candy store at this year’s edition. From Joe Jonas to Nevada’s Secretary of State, I was inspired by so many uniquely brilliant speakers. But one session in particular keeps coming back to me in my late night thought spirals. 

The speakers who hosted it discussed how the future of new technologies will impact brand communities and the world at large, and in this blog I’ll walk you through what they had to say. 

Humanity in the Metaverse: What’s Design Got To Do With It?

In the session “Humanity in the Metaverse: What’s Design Got To Do With It?” speakers Cathy Hackl, Anu Puvvada, Ted Schilowitz, and Kay Sargent discussed how the metaverse can be made more inclusive – and what principles should be incorporated into it to ensure that happens. 

Using the World Health Organization’s definition of disability as a guide, it was agreed that virtual spaces should be inclusive from the start. Cathy Hackl shared an inspiring story on the subject, showing us all the wedding dress that was designed for her by a fashion designer with visual impairments, who couldn’t have designed the dress without the tools and technologies we’ve come to call Web 3.0. Think of the co-creation opportunities… That’s special. 

The whole talk made so much sense because the metaverse is still so new. We’re creating these spaces from scratch, so if we’ve got the right people and the best practices in place, then there’s no reason ANYONE shouldn’t be able to enjoy and experience every single part of it – on an even playing field. 

We talk a lot about impact at MG Empower, and while we usually mean business impact – conversions, connections and conversations – we never forget the impact that our creations might have on people’s lives. That’s why I love the metaverse so much. It’s a world of endless possibilities and ways to make people’s lives better. And it’s SO much better than the physical world where real change seems to be the hardest thing to accomplish.

Think about kids with hypersensitivity and the opportunities they miss out on in traditional gaming setups. When you can change a world in real-time simply by adapting the audio-visual settings, you can literally give them their childhood. In other words, in the metaverse, no one has to feel excluded. 

We all carry that responsibility. Especially when you think about the fact that, as Kay Sargent highlighted, one in six people is neurodiverse. Building a metaverse that is inclusive can facilitate and improve the experiences of one sixth of the world, so it should be an absolute no-brainer. 

I’ll leave you with a quote from Kay: “We should meet people where they want to be, not where they are meant to be.” Now that’s food for thought. 

Key takeaways:

  • Inclusivity, empathy, and trust are crucial for building a metaverse that is inclusive and that meets people where they want to be. 
  • As technology advances, it is important to keep these principles in mind and to be hopeful but also critical and realistic about what the future may hold.

Oh and here’s the sinker: I wrote this blog with Chat GPT. How’s that for embracing technology? As we always say in the Innovation department: test, learn and iterate. It’s the only way to move forward – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

If you’d like to speak about metaverse activations, or just find out more about what MG Empower can do for your brand, get in touch here. We’re always happy to chat.

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