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 emerging tech. Let’s dive in…

The Lede

Hollywood’s Sora freakout continues. And you can hardly blame them. Sora keeps conjuring videos that seem to have walked off a studio set. How many of the artists who make our entertainment are prepared to be prompt engineers? Tyler Perry says he’s suspending expansion of his Atlanta studio because of the threat Sora represents. Disruption is always threatening at first. In the end, artists will harness Sora, which will give them unprecedented access to the means of production previously monopolized by the studios. Our guess is that Sora will make 500 million TikTok videos, and not a single feature film. In the 90s, animators thought computer animation was the death knell of the industry. Instead, it led to a new golden age, with the same skilled animators, now with better tools, reaching larger audiences with bigger and bigger animated pictures. In the early teens, Apple predicted people would be making films with its advanced iPhone cameras. In the following ten years, there was one, Tangerine.

The AI Desk

Our T2 Remake is an AI fan film, parodying the Terminator franschise, was released yesterday. Spearheaded by Nem Perez and Sway Molina, the project brings together a diverse team of fifty cinematic AI artists who each contributed short segments, each crafted using AI tools like Midjourney, Runway, Pika Labs, and Kaiber, ensuring all content was original and not derived from the original movie’s assets. The resulting film is a mishmash of contrastic styles that nonetheless showcase the vast potential of AI to remake cinema production. The project was completed with a budget of $0, highlighting how accessibility to AI tools can democratize filmmaking and empower artists worldwide.

Follow the Money

Haiper emerges from stealth, plans to build AGI​ The new AI video startup has​ received $13.8 million in seed funding from Octopus Ventures.​ Founded by former researchers at Google’s Deepmind Yishu Miao (CEO) and Ziyu Wang, London-based Haiper generate​s high-quality videos from text prompts ​and can animate existing images. ​Taking on Pika Labs, Runway and now, story, Haiper is taking on better-funded and established Gen AI platforms.

Perplexity AI is finalizing a funding round that will elevate its valuation to around $1 billion, significantly up from $520 million two months prior. This round follows a $73.6 million Series B led by IVP, featuring notable participants like Nvidia and Jeff Bezos. Perplexity wants to disrupt Google’s web search dominance by offering an ad-free, straightforward query platform,

Jabali has successfully raised $5 million in a seed round led by BITKRAFT Ventures, with contributions from Sapphire Sport, Sony Innovation Fund, and Canonical Ventures. Jabali’s founding team, composed of seasoned executives from Amazon, Meta, Zynga, and Microsoft, as well as leading AI researchers. The company’s generative AI-powered game engine will let users create new types of games and interactive experiences without needing extensive game development knowledge. Jabali is creating a purpose-built, closed-loop feedback workflow and technology for video games and interactive experiences, utilizing the advances in multimodal generative AI.

Good Fun

AmazeVR, in collaboration with Warner Records and rock band Avenged Sevenfold, has released the ‘Avenged Sevenfold VR Concert: LOOKING INSIDE,’ a virtual reality concert experience. This follows their VR concert with Megan the Stallion two years ago. The 26-minute VR concert features hits from Avenged Sevenfold, including ‘Hail to the King’ and ‘Nightmare,’ along with new songs from their latest album.

Weekend Reading

Tony “Skarred Ghost” Vitillo’s XR Predictions for 2024

What Does TikTok Teach Us About Vision Pro App Design?

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 Lucas Martell, CEO of Mighty Coconut, creators of the hit VR title “Walkabout Mini Golf.”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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