Welcome back to Spatial Beats. The Simulation (formerly Fable Studio) has introduced Showrunner, a new text-to-episode AI application that can create fan and parody episodes of popular TV shows. To demonstrate the power of Showrunner, The Simulation released a 22-minute TV episode of South Park today, “Westland Chronicles,” which centers on the ongoing WGA (Writers Guild of America) strike and a Hollywood studio, Bizney, that uses AI with disastrous results. The episode, and Showrunner’s technology, confirm the threat of AI is a real, not existential, problem. Indeed, Showrunner’s creators say it’s too dangerous to release to the public.
Meta’s New, Improved open-source LLaMA2 AI program. Unlike its predecessor, LLaMA2 is available for commercial license from major providers like AWS, Azure Cloud, and Hugging Face. It’s still free for non-commercial use. In February, Meta’s LLaMA was released to credentialed academics and was promptly leaked to torrent sites. OpenAI used to do that, until backtracking because it was ‘just not wise’. What could go wrong? Bol’shoy Spasibo!
Apple GPT To Be Released Next Year. Say several credible sources quoted by Reuters. Apple was the earliest into voice assistants with Siri, and has probably had the least success with it. The new project, known internally as “Ajax”, is tasked with creating large language models to power a unique chatbot that pundits are calling “Apple GPT.”
Futureverse, an AI and metaverse technology and content company raised $54M to marry AI and Metaverse. The Auckland, NZ-based company, is a roll-up of eight companies seeking to create infrastructure and content for an open metaverse. Futureverse is comprised of Altered State Machine (AI), Non-Fungible Labs (creative engineering), Centrapay (digital asset payments), DOT (3D asset creation), Sylo (decentralized communications), SDK (Web3 payments), Centrapass (digital identity), Immersve (payments), Shadows Interactive (animation studio), and Altered Phoenix (games). The company has more than 300 full-time employees in 16 countries. 10T Holdings led the round and included participation from Ripple.
Stable Diffusion Releases Sketch-to-Image Generative AI. Stable Doodle uses the Stable Diffusion model to analyze the outline of a sketch and generate a more complete artistic version of it. Anyone with basic drawing skills can now generate high-quality original images in seconds. Stability AI envisions Stable Doodle serving as a tool for designers, illustrators, and other professionals. It’s available starting today through ClipDrop, a platform Stability acquired in March.
A Make or Break Moment for the Army’s AR wearable based on the HoloLens. The budget has been stripped down to $40M leaving just enough budget to show the modified Microsoft HoloLens, or IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) can be useful, dependable, and doesn’t make soldiers nauseous like last time. Is it possible the Army is using too much technology? See-through spatial computing is hard and exacting. Ruggedized flip-down microdisplays, used in mines and other heavy industries, also have GPS, mapping, cameras, thermal imaging, and night vision. This might be equally effective for many tasks. Cheaper, too.
Google and Taito’s New AR Space Invaders: World Defense game. This reminds me of Pokemon Go because it’s based on a classic IP, and it must be played outside. Niantic, the company behind Pokemon Go, has not been able to recapture the magic of Pokemon with Harry Potter or the NBA. Can Google’s AR team succeed where they have failed? The game is free. Let’s see if that helps catch lightning in a bottle.
Walkabout Mini Golf (WMG) Launches New Story-based Course, Laser Lair. The best-rated multiplayer game on the Quest features 720 themed holes on 20 courses, each with perfect mini-golf physics, no matter how outlandish the settings. The base course is $14.99. DLCs are $3.99. The new course takes place in an archvillain’s palatial hideout headquarters. WMG hosts hundreds of thousands of players from around the world every month, and player-organized tournaments attract thousands of players.
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.