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

Amazon invests $2.75 billion in Anthropic. This brings Amazon’s investment to $4 billion, as it follows its previous investment of $1.25 billion, which gave the company the option to invest the additional funds. This comes as Anthropic’s new Claude-3 chatbot outperforms ChatGPT- 4 in recent tests. Amazon has unique insight into Anthropic’s performance as it is one of the suite of AI models offered by AWS, which include most of Claude’s competitors.

Reality Bites

This live football experience was built by Immersiv.io to showcase how AR can transform the live sports broadcast and fan experience using the Apple Vision Pro. Immersiv.io worked with the Bundesliga (the German Football League) on the production. In a post on X, the company said. “This is a 3D reproduction of the live game integrating TRACAB Gen 6 live skeletal data of all players and the ball, complemented with real-time insights, offering the ultimate live tactical perspective of the game.”

SXSW 2024: XR That Makes You Go Wow. The XR competition was won by an AI experience, The Golden Key. This is the second year in a row that an XR experience did not take the immersive festival’s grand prize.

Neuralink Shows Paralyzed Patient Playing Chess on a PC. Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface company shared a video of its first human patient, Noland Arbaugh, playing chess and Civilization VI using their brain implant. Arbaugh, who is paralyzed below the shoulders, described the experience as “just stare somewhere on the screen” to move the cursor. While some experts see this as a promising step, others emphasize that it’s still early days and the technology has limitations. Arbaugh acknowledged that there’s still work to be done, but the implant has already changed his life.

The AI Desk

Sora Goes To Hollywood. Everyone is reacting to a Bloomberg report that OpenAI will soon be meeting with studios and other Hollywood stakeholders to demonstrate the capabilities of the text-to-video generator and explore partnerships. OpenAI says unnamed “A list” directors are already using it.

Based in Toronto, Shy Kids is a multimedia production company that utilized Sora for the above short film about a man “who is literally filled with hot air.” His head, as you can see, is a yellow balloon. “We now have the ability to expand on stories we once thought impossible,” shares the trio made up of Walter Woodman, Sidney Leeder and Patrick Cederberg. Walter, who directed Air Head, said “as great as Sora is at generating things that appear real, what excites us is its ability to make things that are totally surreal.”

Databricks’ DBRX claims the crown as best open-source LLM. It’s a list that includes Meta’s Llama 2 and Mistral’s Mixtral. Leading companies like OpenAI, Google, and Anthropic sell, or rent, their proprietary private models to enterprises and subscribers. DBRX was produced for just $10 million, orders of magnitude less than its competitors. On Monday, Wired reported that the company showed data proving its AI model’s reading comprehension, answers to general knowledge questions, and coding is superior to other open-source models that can be downloaded from Hugging Face and modified by users.

The second annual AI Film Festival is coming to Los Angeles on May 1, and New York May 9.

Follow the Money

Illuvium Labs Raises an additional $12 million for NFT Gaming Universe. Following an extensive three-and-a-half-year development journey and $60 million in funding, Illuvium Labs is on the cusp of unveiling its interoperable gaming universe. It will feature three interconnected titles designed to utilize the same NFTs seamlessly across all games, promising a first-of-its-kind experience. The influx of $12 million in Series A funding from esteemed firms like King River Capital, Arrington and Animoca will be allocated to developing new gaming titles within the Illuvium ecosystem.

Weekend Reading

Where Will Virtual Reality Take Us? (Jaron Lanier/New Yorker)

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 Liz Hyman, CEO of the XR Association. 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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