Welcome back to Spatial Beats. Tech Firms Promise To Be Good. President Biden announced voluntary commitments from seven U.S. companies who promised to ensure that their AI products are safe before release. Anthropic, Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI have formed the Frontier Model Forum, an industry body that promotes the safe and responsible development of AI. The new organization will conduct internal and external security testing, share information, invest in cybersecurity, and prioritize research on AI’s societal risks. In a NY Times op-ed this morning, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) proposed an independent, bipartisan regulator be charged with licensing and policing the nation’s biggest tech companies. This is so unfair. They promised to be good.
Every major news outlet led with Meta’s earnings last week. The company’s quarterly revenue of $32 B, was 11% higher than last year, exceeding Wall Street’s expectation of $31.1 B, per Bloomberg. Taking into account the masterful launch of Threads, it was quite a performance for the slimmed-down social media juggernaut. Shares were up over 6% in after-hours trading. Nonetheless, most of the news focus seemed to be on the dismal performance of Meta Reality Labs, which has lost $21 B, and counting, to date The company’s XR division had a miserable quarter as sales plummeted in anticipation of the Quest 3 launch. Meta VR schadenfreude may be back, but Zuck’s time in the penalty box is over. Investors seem to have accepted his outsize spending on the Metaverse. For now. The company is predicting robust sales of the Quest 3 in the fall.
Meta cancels Quest Pro, stops development of Quest Pro 2 it was reported on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the company vehemently denied this. Either way, Meta is not selling many of them.
Meta’s Engagement Problems Are Real. Though more headsets sit unused than Meta will ever admit, there are still reasons to be optimistic. In addition to the pending Quest 3 launch, Roblox just launched on the Quest. Meta has also added actual Quests to Horizon Worlds. The $500 Quest 3 will be focused on mixed reality, much like the coming Apple Vision Pro, but priced for regular people.
The New York Times Joins Performers and Artists Suing OpenAI For Using Its Content to Train Its AI. Some companies, like Adobe, are way ahead of this, as they’ve licensed the images used to train its AI models. Clearly going forward publishers on the web will need to tag content that should not be crawled, or can be crawled with a royalty mechanism, an excellent use case for tokenization.
OpenAI Founder Sam Altman AI Wants to Scan Your Eyeballs to make sure you’re a human, similar to the way an eye scans identified replicants in the 1982 movie Blade Runner. Worldcoin is a tokenized digital ID project to verify users’ identity by scanning their eyes to confirm the user is human, not an algorithm. They’re touring an “Orb” and distributing tokens valued at $55 to those who stare into it for human certification.
Meta, Microsoft and Amazon team up on maps project to crack the Apple-Google duopoly. A group formed by Meta, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and TomTom is releasing data that could enable companies to build maps that rival products from Google and Apple. 59 million “points of interest” were collected and donated by Meta and Microsoft.
Hyper-Reality, The Art Of Designing Impossible Experiences. As Chief Creative Officer at The VOID, Curtis Hickman made more free roam VR experiences than anyone on the planet. Now he’s written the book on experience design.
Air Race X uses Styly’s location-based mobile AR application to fly virtual planes around real buildings. Here’s the real trick, this is a real race in other locations with real planes flying courses that simulate the geography of Tokyo. This astonishing technical achievement can only be seen live on location in Japan, but expect to see thousands of videos of the race on social media.
Barbie Outfits Now On Sale In Rec Room for 1,000 to 6,000 game tokens (6,000 = $10). Meta started selling virtual threads from designers like Balenciaga and Prada in Horizon Worlds last year. Fortnite makes several billion dollars a year selling “skins.”
TikTok is Adding Text Posts. (Mia Sato/The Verge)
Threads adds a chronological feed as Twitter burns to the ground (Kris Holt/Engadget)
What the viral AI-generated ‘Barbenheimer’ trailer says about generative AI hype (Sharon Goldman/VentureBeat)
Futureverse is a metaverse company that might actually get it (Rebecca Szkatak/Techcrunch)
This Week in Schadenfreude
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.