Welcome back to Spatial Beats. The US Copyright Office has ruled Théâtre D’opéra Spatial, created with text-to-image GenAI app Midjourney, is not eligible for copyright protection. The piece, which was created by Matthew Allen, won an award at the Colorado State Fair last year. I wonder if this applies to a film created using AI-generated images and animation. It is unclear when, and in what context, AI-generated content can be copyrighted. If a human is writing the script, crafting prompts, recording or prompting voices, and editing the AI-generated shots, should the human at the center of this process not own the material? If a band trains its own model with its own recorded music, and that model generates new songs at the band’s prompting, is the work not eligible to copyright? Experts think this issue is going to be determined by the US Supreme Court.
Apple’s Ajax AI Reportedly Better Than ChatGPT. Apple is reportedly spending millions of dollars a day training its most advanced language model. Those involved in its development told The Information that Apple’s most advanced LLM, known internally as Ajax GPT, has been trained on over 200 billion parameters and is more powerful than OpenAI’s GPT-3.5. This model was initially created for internal use, according to previous reporting from Bloomberg. The team that is rebuilding Siri for the past five years is also involved. Nice to hear they exist.
‘Seven Ravens’ Mixed Reality Masterpiece Premieres At Venice Film Festival. Award-winning immersive entertainment company Felix and Paul Studios premiered Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: The Seven Ravens, its first mixed reality experience, at the 80th Venice Film Festival on August 30th. Once again, the venerated production company is on the cutting edge of immersive art and entertainment. The story jumps off the page. Literally. The mixed reality experience may be the ten-year-old Montreal studio’s best work.
Venice Film Festival 2023 Is Cinematic AI’s Coming Out Party. Hollywood has been, to say the least, hesitant about AI in the last year. Indeed, the largest strike in sixty years has at its core a fear and loathing of artificial intelligence. Yet a world away, at the 80th Venice Film Festival, a more hopeful, optimistic view of AI’s cinematic potential is being endorsed by some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including Tom Hanks, Robert Zemeckis, Joe Russo, and Darren Aronofsky.
Time’s Top 100 Most Influential People in AI. The 2023 TIME100 AI list features 43 CEOs, founders, and co-founders: Elon Musk of xAI, Sam Altman of OpenAI, Andrew Hopkins of Exscientia, Nancy Xu of Moonhub, Kate Kallot of Amini, Pelonomi Moiloa of Lelapa AI, Jack Clark of Anthropic, Raquel Urtasan of Waabi, Aidan Gomez of Cohere and more.
Google’s Generative AI Tools Now Turn Text Into Online Worlds. Hiber3D has integrated Google’s AI tools to give creators the ability to type what they want to see—and generate an immersive world. At Google Cloud Next in San Francisco last week the startup Hiber announced the integration of Google’s generative AI technology in its Hiber3D development platform, which aims to simplify the process of creating in-game content.
Nintendo is rumored to be working with Google on a VR headset. File this under “I’ll believe it when I see it.” According to Nash Weedle, who previously provided accurate leaks about Nintendo, a prototype VR headset already exists. Nintendo is said to be testing micro-LED displays from Raxium, a company Google acquired last year. The rumored prototype features mixed reality capabilities and cost-effective, energy-efficient micro-LED displays. It will be a standalone device that doesn’t require a console connection.
Meta reportedly working with LG on a new Quest Pro. Here’s a slightly more credible rumor about a new headset LG and Meta are supposedly developing together to compete with the Apple Vision Pro. A Korean news report suggests Meta is partnering with LG to release a successor to its high-end Quest Pro virtual reality headset in 2025. The resulting headset is rumored to be priced at around $2,000 and will use LG’s own displays.
Is Famed VR Blogger and Evangelist Tony “Skarred Ghost” Vitillo Losing His religion? Tony says it may be the autumn of VR. As early as this time last year it was clear Meta pushed the Quest ecosystem in the wrong direction, which has caused utilization to drop dramatically. Most Quests are now in a drawer. According to devs, sales in the Quest store are down 65%. As it turns out, VR is not so good for games. Meta bet the farm it would be, now they’re scrambling to figure out what people will want beyond Beat Saber and Walkabout Mini-Golf (both of which should also be solid in Mixed Reality). Bottom line: Since the majority of first adopters are gamers, Meta focused on games first. This strategy was an historic whiff, although almost anyone would have made the same mistake. Gamers prefer game consoles. Innovations like MR are not likely to bring them back. The only thing that would do that is a large-scale hit like Game of Thrones. The next wave of devices expected from Samsung, Apple, Meta/LG, Google/Nintendo, won’t be accessible to the mass market until 2025. Autumn is a good way to look at the moment in XR, but we know what comes after Autumn.
Walkabout Mini Golf (WMG) just released its 21st course, Alfheim – Land of Elves. Based on Norse mythology, Alfheim features the awesome art and accurate putting physics that characterize the WMG Mini Golf worlds, many based on famous IP like Journey to the Center of the Earth, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In a new twist, in Alfheim users can turn into an elf imbued with magic powers.
The Disney Secession Mess (CNBC)
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.