Welcome back to Spatial Beats. where we round up all the top news and happenings from around the spatial computing spectrum, including its escalating infusions with AI and other letters. Let’s dive in…

The Lede

New York Times Sues Microsoft and OpenAI for Copyright Infringement. This lawsuit alleges that Microsoft Copilot, which is built on ChatGPT, infringes on the copyrights of the New York Times, by using its vast library to train its model, which apparently can be prompted into outright plagiarism. The suit follows unsuccessful negotiations between the companies. If you recall, two weeks ago in this column we discussed a deal between Germany’s largest publisher, Axel Springer, and OpenAI.

Follow the Money

Anthropic Projects At Least $850 Million in Annualized Revenue Rate Next Year. The Google and Amazon-backed company now projects it will generate more than $850 M in revenue by the end of 2024, according to a report from The Information, which cited two people with knowledge of the company’s finances. This is almost double the amount stated in a previous report. Backed by Amazon.com and Alphabet’s Google, Anthropic is one of many companies building generative AI systems that can create human-like responses and content. Anthropic reportedly is about to close a $750 M investment led by Menlo Ventures.

The AI Desk

AI Risks To 2024 Election. The big fears are deep fakes, disinformation, and cyber attacks. The mere fear of AI may cause people to wonder if what they’re seeing is real – even when it is. “2024 will be an AI election, much the way that 2016 or 2020 was a social media election.” Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, interim dean at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, told The Hill. “We will all be learning as a society about how this is changing our politics.” I shudder when I think about what social media has done to the body politic. What happens when we can’t tell what’s real anymore?

Misha Penievskyi is a Cinematic AI filmmaker based in Kyiv. I was delighted to discover his “Star Wars directed by Quentin Tarantino” video (below). I asked Misha to share the tools he used, and his perspective on how the tools have changed since he made this video several months ago. “I make my videos using MJ, Midjourney, for most of the images, as well as Runway, LeiaPix, Pika, and ElevenLabs. Couldn’t be happier with all the latest updates, like Pika 1.0, and Runway brush tool, which are game changers for animating 2D images. A year ago I couldn’t have imagined that these technologies would evolve in such an amazing and fast way. Now there’s no excuse for video content creators – nothing is impossible, you can express yourself in such a unique way. Speaking of MJ 6, I’m discovering it now, and have a lot of fun. My next video, “Toy Story by Quentin Tarantino,” will include some V6 imagery. However, in my vids I use a lot of Pan, Zoom, and Vary (region) features from previous MJ versions and I got used to them and can’t imagine my creative process without that. So I guess I’ll be using V6 more for my content creation as these features will be added there.”

Son uses AI to ‘resurrect’ late father for a moving Christmas gift. For Christmas this year, a St. Louis man decided to use artificial intelligence to recreate his late father’s voice for a unique present for his mother. Phillip “The Content Guy” Willett, shared a TikTok video video, viewed over three million times this week.

Curious Refuge Holiday AI Film Festival Award Winners. Curious Refuge, an online community for Cinematic AI, partnered with Epidemic Sound to sponsor a $7,500 contest for the best short holiday theme made with AI tools. The first-place winner ($5000) is Dragged Holidays by Rafael Arinelli, Beto Padreca, and Paula Fernandes.

The second-place winner ($1500) is Mistletoes by Kurt Knight.


Hardware is Hard

ZDNet names Quest 3 “Product of the Year.” No one should be surprised by the surge of news around the critically acclaimed Quest 3 this Christmas season. It brings joy to developers and critics alike as this is when we see which titles are really gaining traction. Road to VR recommends these titles. Tech Radar’s Hamish Hector shared his “Ultimate Quest 3 Guide.” Lots of crossovers, naturally, and a surprising number of titles of which I was unaware.

The Race to Put Brain Implants in People is Heating Up (Wired)

Good Fun

VR Blogger Tony “Scarred Ghost” Vitillo’s Christmas Wish List. Topping his list: all of Mark Zuckerberg’s personal information, and another that he has no chance of getting: The only investor still interested in the metaverse. “All investors are now into AI, and look at us XR people like hobos looking for money at traffic lights. But I’m sure there is still one investor out there who still believes in XR… Santa bring this guy or this girl to me!”

Listen & Learn

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.

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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