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

Meta’s Reality Labs Celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Oculus VR acquisition. At the time, it cost them three billion dollars and everyone thought they were crazy. Of course, people also said that about the Instagram acquisition, among the most prescient of the era. Meta now spends over ten billion dollars a year on its XR efforts. At this point, it’s safe to say it’s cost them over $100 Billion. CNet’s XR editor took a trip back in time with CTO Andrew Bosworth, who oversees Reality Labs. Bos says displays in regular glasses are still a challenge, but adding AI to wearables like smartglasses will open up new ways of thinking about XR.

Reality Bites

Apple’s Spatial Personas for Vision Pro. Technically, Personas have been available since the headset launched on February 2, but they were like badly animated Memojis. They received a significant upgrade this week that everyone is talking about. Your persona is created with a real-time scan of your face and expressions. Previously it existed inside a frame, but now it is in space. A Persona consists only of a head, shoulders, and hands. No body yet, but face and proximity tracking create a palpable sense of presence.

The AI Desk

Chat GPT’s Voice Cloning AI App Is Too Dangerous to Release. OpenAI’s Voice Engine is an AI model that generates speech mimicking a speaker’s voice from a 15-second audio sample. It can be used in applications like educational aids, translation, and support for non-verbal individuals. What could go wrong? OpenAI is employing a cautious approach to deployment due to potential misuse, allowing only a small number of businesses to test the new tool. Why are they testing this if it’s too dangerous to release? What really worries me: if Open AI can do this, others can. And they won’t issue a press release. At Schwab, my voice is my password. Seriously. I hope they know about this.

Higgsfield AI launches Diffuse. The company is led by the former head of AI at Snap, Alex Mashrabov, who sold his previous startup, AI Factory, to Snap for $166 million in 2020. The Diffuse mobile app generates videos from text prompts and can use selfies to generate clips featuring that person. Users can sign up for a soon-to-be-launched free beta on the website. Ultimately Diffuse will charge social media content creators and marketers for the app. Sora is being tested by media professionals, too, but it is much more computationally expensive. Sora will almost certainly be priced for media companies, not individuals. Funding for Higgfield comes from an $8 million seed round led by Menlo Ventures.

Follow the Money

Bitkraft Ventures Raises $275 Million For Third Interactive Fund. Venture Fund 3 will invest in studios, platforms, and technology in gaming and interactive media. Bitkraft is focused on seed and Series A stage startups. Bitkraft operates six venture funds with 130 portfolio companies, including Frost Giant, Anzu, Carry1st, InWorld, Voicemod, Immutable, and Karate Combat.

Weekend Reading

How AI May Actually End The World. (Shelly Palmer Blog)

Seven Best Sora Videos (Tom’s Guide)

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 Maureen Fan, CEO of Baobab Studios. 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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