The SXSWi Power Ranking Singularity Is Here

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We're into the Monday doldrums at SXSW. Three straight days of walking and talking and drinking, yet somehow people still feel compelled to go outside and keep talking and walking and drinking. On a weekday! The nerve of this town.

Meanwhile, Skype has paid this "town crier" to read Tweets out loud on the street, making the concept of shouting into the void all too literal. It's almost enough to make us think these SXSWi Power Rankings are being treated like a serious analytical breakdown of cultural as it stands. Your loss....


1. Ray Kurzweil: There was hardly an empty seat available to watch Ray Kurzweil's keynote talk today. Not pictured: Ray Kurzweil. Because he was in a totally different room that was also filed to the brim with his adoring fans. This was taken in the room to watch him on TV. I have not read The Singularity Is Near, but I assume this is what it's about.

2. Homeless Hotspots: Ok, let's talk about this for a minute. We know it seems like a ridiculous prank meant to embarass gullible techies who might defend the idea of turning homeless people in hardware for the rich kids, but it appears they really are out there, they really are homeless, and you really can PayPal them money so that you can go online and Tweet about how some homeless guy just sold you internet access. Of course, it's still the brainchild of one those savvy "marketing" genius companies so it still feels like someone is getting played. Or maybe not! It's a sensitive subject, you guys! 

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3. Pedi-cabs:  Real taxi cabs are elusive and ineffective and the shuttle bus system is an existentialist nightmare, so the most popular form of short-term transportation is the pedi-cab, where a strapping young lad or lass pulls you around town on a bicycle built for three, if only one of them is doing all the work. The only the problem is that these not quite bikes, not quite pedestrians, not quit wide-bodied vehicles can't decide if they belong in the street or on the sidewalk, so they kind of just end up on both. Your death may be slow and painful, but at least it's green.

4. Mashable. EXIT STRATEGY! Hope they're having another party tonight cause its sure to be a rager! ($200 million buys a lot sliders and Sam Adams.) As for actual acquisitions like Twitter buying Posterous? Wake us when you've got a ginormous number to report.

5. People who walk with their heads down. This is a common complaint in most cities, but given the smartphone heavy nature of the current Austin populace and their concentration in the crowded walkways of the Convention Center I'd say about 85% of the people here at any given time are not looking where they are going. However, I'm starting to realize that this isn't an issue. Accidents are almost not existent and people display a remarkable ability to not run into things despite looking down at their hands while walking. We may all go blind from looking at tiny handheld screens, but humanity may compensate by developing a sixth sense that allows them to "feel" everything around them before they smack into at walking speed. Wish I could have got close to Ray Kurzweil to ask him about that.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.