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"In 5 years, a computer system could know what you like to eat better than you do. A machine that experiences flavor will determine the precise chemical structure of food and why people like it. Not only will it get you to eat healthier, but it will also surprise us with unusual pairings of foods that are designed to maximize our experience of taste and flavor. Digital taste buds will help you to eat smarter." - How Creative Can Computers Be?

"In 5 years, a computer system could know what you like to eat better than you do. A machine that experiences flavor will determine the precise chemical structure of food and why people like it. Not only will it get you to eat healthier, but it will also surprise us with unusual pairings of foods that are designed to maximize our experience of taste and flavor. Digital taste buds will help you to eat smarter." - How Creative Can Computers Be?

At first, the Cloud Lamp seems like a mirage: It looks like a real cloud and even emits claps of thunder. But then it flashes green, red, and blue, plays music—and is hanging in your living room. An interactive night-light, the cloud reacts to motion around it and flickers in time with music.

At first, the Cloud Lamp seems like a mirage: It looks like a real cloud and even emits claps of thunder. But then it flashes green, red, and blue, plays music—and is hanging in your living room. An interactive night-light, the cloud reacts to motion around it and flickers in time with music.

"In most any other city in the country at that time, if you tried to put a company together that included a couple of sport-coat-and-tie-wearing yuppies, some pocket-protector, can’t-give-you-a-good-handshake computer nerds, as well as some hippie-freak rock-and-roll poster artists, those three walks of life would not get along and respect one another. When you come to Austin, those three walks of life are intermingled throughout the city. At SXSW, my group of nerds was embraced by the rock-and-roll hippie freaks, and the business suits were welcomed into the community.” —RichardGarriott, founder, Origin Systems; creator, online game Ultima (now creative director, Portalarium; astronaut, Space Adventures)

An extensive oral history of SXSW Interactive, from 1994 - 2014

"Plants are just another object we take for granted. We think of them as a thing that sits in the corner that we water once a week. But really, they can be so much more than that. They can be a remote. They can be a musical instrument. They can be anything interactive that takes you away from plastic and glass and into the whole world that’s touchable around you. 

Watch: Two Fast Company interns hacked houseplants to make them play music when they’re touched

"Plants became more than just a plant. They became actual objects that we have an incentive to water." 

Launching today in the iTunes App Store: Beats Music

Hoping to replicate its headphones success in the streaming market, Beats is positioning its service—which will take on the likes of Spotify, Google, Apple, and others—as the one that understands users’ emotions, offering the best of human curation and computer algorithm. 


Troy Carter couldn’t get Gaga’s first single “Just Dance” on pop radio, so in 2008 he put his new act on a rigorous schedule—sometimes four shows a night, playing to gay clubs or arty fashion crowds. Gaga and Carter began experimenting with Twitter and Facebook, engaging fans and pumping out homespun content on YouTube. At the time, these channels were seen as enemies to the music business, but Carter saw them as inexpensive ways to reach the masses.
As he did this, he became fascinated with how tech companies approach industries outside of their core—whether it was Amazon with data storage or Google with YouTube. “These are businesses that you can’t quite define and mean something different to different people,” he says. "I said, ‘We’re doing it totally wrong down here [in Hollywood].’" 

Fired by Lady Gaga (and loving it)

Troy Carter couldn’t get Gaga’s first single “Just Dance” on pop radio, so in 2008 he put his new act on a rigorous schedule—sometimes four shows a night, playing to gay clubs or arty fashion crowds. Gaga and Carter began experimenting with Twitter and Facebook, engaging fans and pumping out homespun content on YouTube. At the time, these channels were seen as enemies to the music business, but Carter saw them as inexpensive ways to reach the masses.

As he did this, he became fascinated with how tech companies approach industries outside of their core—whether it was Amazon with data storage or Google with YouTube. “These are businesses that you can’t quite define and mean something different to different people,” he says. "I said, ‘We’re doing it totally wrong down here [in Hollywood].’" 

Fired by Lady Gaga (and loving it)

Chris Hadfield is a hero. A boss. The real deal. Not simply because he was Commander of the International Space Station, but for what he did while up there. Not content with being just “an astronaut,” he assumed the role of rock-star spaceman, conducting regular science-experiment videos from space, answering questions like, “What happens to tears in space?” Then, he gave us this: the first video from space. Watching Hadfield’s rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” while orbiting the Earth is nothing short of sublime. Mr. Hadfield, you win 2013.

It’s Almost Impossible To Make Bad Music With This App


I find a lot of “interactive music apps” intimidating, because while they may have clever interfaces, the limiting factor on their output is always my own complete lack of musical intuition. I wouldn’t expect that jangling on the keys of a piano would sound decent if I didn’t know what I was doing; why should a music app be any different? That’s what makes Scott Snibbe’s latest app, Synthetica (made in collaboration with the independent rock and roll band Metric), so delightfully surprising. It really is pretty hard to make sucky music with this thing.

It’s Almost Impossible To Make Bad Music With This App

I find a lot of “interactive music apps” intimidating, because while they may have clever interfaces, the limiting factor on their output is always my own complete lack of musical intuition. I wouldn’t expect that jangling on the keys of a piano would sound decent if I didn’t know what I was doing; why should a music app be any different? That’s what makes Scott Snibbe’s latest app, Synthetica (made in collaboration with the independent rock and roll band Metric), so delightfully surprising. It really is pretty hard to make sucky music with this thing.