South by Southwest 2016 Opens, Highlights Tech Innovation

Ahead of his keynote today for the kickoff of the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film and interactive conference running now through March 20 in Austin, President Barack Obama tweeted that he plans to "make the case that tech and innovation can make government work better for everyone."

Obama was scheduled to speak with The Texas Tribune's Evan Smith during an afternoon talk at The Long Center. Also scheduled for the opening day of the nine-day event were presentations by Chris Urmson, director of Google's Self-Driving Car Project, and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, co-founders of a new bitcoin exchange called Gemini.

SXSW will also feature numerous other presentations and special events, as well as exhibits by companies ranging from Appcentric Software and Consumer Reports to the Innovation Alliance, SAP and the social measurement platform xSocial. Now in its 30th year, SXSW includes a music festival with more than 2,200 acts, a film festival and an interactive series of events focused on new technologies and digital creativity.

Tech Accelerator, Innovation Awards & More

In a series of tweets prior to today's keynote, Obama offered several examples of how innovative technology can improve government: simplifying online forms to speed up the application process for student financial aid; online preparation tools for the citizenship civics test; online applications for senior Social Security benefits; and even a public-private sector program that provides bulk-purchase savings on diapers to low-income families.

The president ended his string of tweets with the message, "Looking forward to discussing more ways we can modernize government so it's as smart and dynamic as America itself. See you soon, Austin."

SXSW Interactive is also set to feature an accelerator and pitch competition -- now in its eighth year -- for emerging technologies; the 18th annual Interactive Innovation Awards; a health and...

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