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Issues, not apps, are the focus at tech fest

MAE ANDERSON
The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Big-picture issues and futuristic ideas — rather than the usual hot app or startup launch — have taken the spotlight at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive tech jamboree.

President Barack Obama’s opening keynote on Friday referenced the current fight between Apple and the FBI and set an issue-driven tone for the conference.

And a daylong online harassment summit put the spotlight on the troubling topic of online harassment .

Meanwhile, panels focused on

futuristic ideas such as robots for the elderly and supersonic public transportation.

So far, though, there’s no sign of breakout apps like Twitter in 2007 or Foursquare in 2009.

More than 30,000 attendees flooded the streets of downtown Austin over the weekend, soaking up live music and marketing stunts including a life-size Ferris wheel provided by the USA Network show “Mr. Robot.”