Welcome back to Spatial Beats. This was the slowest, least dramatic news week in XR since I started this column in October 2017. AI is sucking all the oxygen out of the room. I posted five Forbes stories this week, including this one, about AI. Not because I’m not interested in XR. It’s just right now, AI feels more urgent.

On the “This Week In XR” podcast Friday morning, co-host and Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz said, “AI is what XR has been waiting for.” Co-host Ted Schilowitz, Futurist at Paramount Global says, “The Apple Mixed Reality headset will change everyone’s thinking.”

It’s possible after AI Sucks the Air Out of the Metaverse, it will remake It. We will literally talk worlds into existence.

This new Snapchat Lens is a virtual try-on of an artist’s concept of Apple’s new Reality One XR headset.

When a restaurant or other establishment sends you a “we haven’t seen you in a while!” email message, you know they must be hunting for their customers. In this case, the product is a free social VR platform that offers many experiences that vary in quality. Social VR is tricky, and many platforms have failed. This particular VR and PC platform has no creator economy incentivizing builders and no obvious scalable enterprise application. They’re reportedly working on a mobile app, which has helped others. Their only revenue comes from a community of power users who pay a membership fee for enhanced features. This company raised a lot of money when they were hot, but I wonder how things are really going.

Fighting Climate Change With XR Tech And $100,000. AWE announced a contest that will award $100K to the best XR concept that fights climate change. The winner will be announced at the AWE Conference and Expo in Santa Clara, CA. May 30 – June 2nd. Over 150 teams have submitted projects. AWE is the XR event of the year, with over 5,000 people attending. The conference will certainly be focused on AI’s impact, and I hope to see demos and hear ideas about new capabilities AI is bringing to XR applications. How will this influence the developing metaverse? The big boys like Apple, Meta, Google, and Microsoft have their own conferences and don’t exhibit, but you’ll find a few of their execs on panels. As a result, sponsors Qualcomm, Unity, and Niantic have more visibility. Apple’s presumed unveiling of their XR device will be at their WWDC conference a week later, June 5th. That’s going to create an interesting dynamic at AWE.

Sandbox Location-based VR Launches Shard: Dragonfire. In a free-roam VR experience, users are physically present together in a large black box wearing VR headsets and body trackers. This is the only true full-body VR experience. You walk around freely. It’s warehouse scale. This can’t be done at home. There is nothing like it. Fellow players are perfectly mapped avatars. In this multiplayer game, players use weapons and magic to succeed. The game is different every time to enhance repeat play. Sandbox also features Star Trek and several other experiences at its 35 locations.

AI Weekly

AI Weekly: AI Leaders At White House, OpenAI Adds $300 Million, Empathetic Pi Chatbot Launches

Metaphysic Deep Fakes TED. My conversation with Tom Graham whose company Metaphysic created the fake video “Deep Tom Cruise.”

Is AI The History Eraser Button? My interview with Tom got me thinking about where we’re going with all this, which makes you question what it even means to be human.

AI-Powered Characters Changing The Game. This is not unrelated to the AI stories above. We may create AI characters to change our memories.


This Week in XR is also a podcast hosted by Paramount’s Futurist Ted Schilowitz, Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz, and Charlie Fink, the author of this weekly column. You can find it on podcasting platforms Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube. Watch the latest episode below.

Charlie Fink is an author and futurist focused on spatial computing. See his books here. Spatial Beats contains insights and inputs from Fink’s collaborators including Paramount Pictures futurist Ted Shilowitz.

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