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

We Landed on the Moon. Note, it is not in the headline above. Everything in tech is about AI now but let’s take a quick beat to raise a glass to the Odysseus lunar lander, the first US-made spacecraft to touch down on the moon in 50 years.

The AI Desk

Google pauses image generation capability of Gemini AI. The widely praised new model from the search giant was having some trouble following directions, confusing racial guardrails when generating images. “We’re already working to address recent issues with Gemini’s image generation feature,” Google said in a post on X Thursday. “While we do this, we’re going to pause the image generation of people and will re-release an improved version soon.”

OpenAI’s Sora Is Sinking In. The new text-to-video generative AI model from Dall-E’s creator was shared by the company in a blog post last week. Sora can generate sixty-second videos from a simple text prompt. People are freaking out. Both in a good way – imagine the creative possibilities – and a bad way. What happens when we can’t tell what’s real anymore?

OpenAI forum. If you say the right things on this form, OpenAI will invite you to join a secret club of trusted users who get the cool stuff first.

Musk Says Neuralink Patient Moving Mouse With Mind. The Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) company recruited their first patient with much fanfare last year, although we don’t know who they are. All the information is coming from Musk posts on X Twitter. “The first @Neuralink product is called Telepathy,” Musk posted. “Enables control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking. Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs. Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer. That is the goal.”

Digs Puts AI In The Center Of Building A Home. Bringing AI to the home construction industry, Digs is a technology company with roots in home construction. The handoff process from builder to homeowner was broken, manual, and too often flawed. Now, there’s an app for them, and it will know your house and everything that goes in it. The company also scored a strategic partnership with building industry celebrity, host of TV’s Dirty Jobs, Jeff Rowe.

Reanimating Programmer Ada Lovelace with Magic of AI. Magician Marco Tempest uses AI, live performance, and other tricks to tell the largely forgotten story of the first programmer, an English aristocrat and mathemetician – and a woman – Ada Lovelace, who wrote the operating system for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine which, like the Difference Engine before it, was never made.

Dor Brothers Rock Cinematic AI. Director Yonatan Dor explains how he made these animated films with tools like Midjourney and Runway.

Follow the Money

Nvidia Beats Expectations on the rising tide of AI. Of which it is, presently, the chief beneficiary. Their market value grew $273 Billion in one day.

Roblox stock is up 26% after its fourth-quarter earnings report beats estimates. Roblox reports 68.4 million daily active users across 190 countries, of whom 852K are paying users Roblox has 3,500 experiences that generated at least 1 million hours of engagement.

Microsoft and Intel strike a custom chip deal that could be worth billions. With the Microsoft deal, Intel notches a big partnership as it seeks to regain its former position at the top of chip manufacturing.

Flower Labs Raises $20 million. Flower’s technology makes it easier for people to use an AI training method called “federated learning,” which allows an AI model to be trained without having all the training data transferred to a central server, which is a security concern. Felicis Ventures led the round.

AI firm Lambda Raises $320 million. Billionaire movie producer and sports team owner Thomas Tull’s US Innovative Technology venture fund led the round. The cash will be used to expand the company’s AI cloud business. Founded in 2012, Lambda’s hardware and private cloud business serves over 5,000 customers, which include the U.S. government. B Capital, SK Telecom, funds, and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Crescent Cove, and Mercato Partners participated in the round.

Yuga Labs Acquires PROOF. The creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Otherside, TwelveFold, and owners of Meebits, CryptoPunks, and 10KTF has acquired Kevin Rose’s PROOF, the digital art platform and art collector community, and includes the PROOF Collective, Moonbirds, Oddities, Mythics, and Grails exhibition series. Yuga will immediately bring Moonbirds into Otherside, the place where it says “content creators, communities, and brands will come together to participate in the social fabric of web3.”

Reality Bites

Stranger Things in VR. Road to VR’s review of the collaboration of Tender Claws (The Under Presents) and Netflix’s hit show is a mixed one. Fans of the show will find plenty to love, but, says Ben Lang, “forget it if you haven’t seen the show at all, as you’ll have absolutely zero idea of who’s who and what’s going on, as the entire game is presented in a way that heavily relies on the user’s familiarity with major events and characters from the show.”

The End of Hubs. At the time of its launch in 2018, the idea of a free WebXR multi-user social and business platform was a fresh approach, but Mozilla (maker of Firefox) dithered and stopped actively developing it in 2020. Having failed to develop it into anything more, they’ve finally put poor neglected Hubs out of its misery.

Smarter Than A Fox, Or Stupider Than a Box of Rocks. Forbes announced it has launched a permanent presence in Sandbox, the formerly high-flying Metaverse company promoted by Snoop Dog and Paris Hilton. The pandemic-era virtual world was busted last year for reporting impossibly high traffic numbers. The place is a ghost town, especially compared to Roblox and Fortnite. Sandbox is approximately 1% of their size. “This strategic move not only marks Forbes’ deeper dive into the Web3 space but also solidifies its belief in the transformative potential of the metaverse,” said the company’s blog. “Forbes aims to go beyond traditional boundaries of engagement by offering a variety of interactive experiences, workshops, and events. These initiatives are crafted to bring together minds from various sectors, facilitating meaningful conversations and networking opportunities in a vibrant, immersive environment.” I hope Forbes got a good deal.

Weekend Reading

Inside the Vegas Sphere: Dawn of a New Media Format (Jesse Orrall/Cnet)

Listen & Learn

For more spatial commentary & insights, check out This Week in XR, hosted by the author of this column, along with Paramount’s Futurist Ted Schilowitz, and Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz. This week our guest is Katie Conrad, Professor of English at the University of Kansas, who’s going to be speaking with us about AI and education. You can find it on podcasting platforms SpotifyiTunes, 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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