Disney executives from a variety of fields held a panel at the 2017 South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, and discussed how emerging technologies will help the company to innovate and break new ground in storytelling.
Disney Imagineering R&D executive Jon Snoddy, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media senior vice president Mike White, and Disney Interactive vice president of Engineering Kathy de Paolo led the panel in talks about how both artificial intelligence and machine learning are changing the way future Audio-Animatronics are being implemented.
During the panel, attendees got to see Audio-Animatronic versions of Jake (a droid once featured at Star Wars Launch Bay in Disneyland) and a pocket-sized Pascal (the chameleon sidekick from Tangled). Both were used to show how Disney is looking for new ways to bring characters to life in more natural ways. As White put it, “We are constantly evaluating emerging technologies, and we use the ones that make our products and experiences better.” He went on to stress the importance of emerging technologies, “Disney is committed to technology that enhances our stories. It’s not merely a science project.”
Snoddy reinforced Disney’s desire to inspire and move guests by always daring to delve deeper into the world’s most advanced technologies:
“Every new technology that has come along for the past 60 years has been adopted into a storytelling medium. It won’t be different now. [Guests] really come to be moved emotionally, and that will not change.”