At tech conference’s first day, politics took center stage. Tomorrow, the robot rules. | Miami Herald

Baby Sebastian was turning blue — until its caretaker, nursing student Casey Pierce, hit its “off” switch.

Sebastian wasn’t a live baby, but part of the technology used by the University of Miami’s multi-million-dollar Simulation Hospital that opened this fall as part its School of Nursing and Health studies.

A plastic newborn. Virtual reality learning goggles. A remote-controlled car that can inspect the inside of nuclear reactors.

It was all part of Day 1 of the two-day eMerge Americas conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The homegrown conference founded by local serial entrepreneur Manny Medina to be the meeting place for tech and startupsfrom around the Americas is now in its fifth year.

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The conference continues Tuesday, when the keynoter will be Sophia the Robot. About 15,000 attendees are expected over the two days, according to organizers. Many are guests of corporate sponsors.

Like most conferences these days, eMerge offers content for different types of attendees — in this case, entrepreneurs, advisory companies and even women in tech.

But it was political news that dominated Monday, with presentations by former Mexican President Vicente Fox, local city and county leaders, and a surprise press conference by several Miami Republicans.

At an invitation-only lunch, U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami, declared that immigration reform is still alive, despite public pronouncements by President Donald Trump that a deal was dead. But “that’s not what he told me,” Curbelo said when he and the president spoke during a visit last week to the Florida Keys.

Another of the day’s surprises was an impromptu press conference called by Miami Republican House members denouncing this…

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