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

In a major story in the New York Times, How Tech Giants Cut Corners to Harvest Data for A.I., a team of four journalists collaborated to explain how OpenAI, Google and Meta altered their own rules and discussed skirting copyright law. In other words, because it was on the Internet, even if it was behind a firewall, like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times itself, which is actively suing OpenAI. Because they breached those firewalls, it’s hard to argue that OpenAI thought the content was free. OpenAI makes the argument that the data in question is just one of ten billion parameters. Saying you stole from everyone equally is not a defense. This is why OpenAI is making deals with major publishers like Axel Springer. They know where this is going.

Reality Bites

Zappar Launches OpenBrush for Zapbox. The AR version of the venerated creative tool Tilt Brush is now available on the $100 Zapbox, a holder for your iPhone that enables 3D, spatial computing using head-mounted pass through AR. The effect is very similar to the Vision Pro. It comes with other free apps, including pool, chess, a 3D model viewer, and Spatial TV.

Meta and Eli Roth’s VR Series ‘The Faceless Lady’ Gets a Rave Review. Variety critic William Earl called it “a Fascinating, Flesh-Ripping Trip Into Fully Immersive Horror Storytelling.” “The Faceless Lady,” a collaboration between Meta and producer Eli Roth, is billed as “the first known scripted original VR live action, stereoscopic (3D) series ever produced of its size,” designed specifically for the Meta Quest.

Metaverse Alive And Well In 3D Games. With Crypto back in the news, interest in the Metaverse, ignored for the since OpenAI launched Chat-GPT, is again on the rise, but this time it’s more closely associated with games. We checked in on four companies involved in social games and virtual worlds: Spatial.io, which pivoted from enterprise XR, to NFT galleries to games; MeetKai, a platform for training and simulation; social game company Vulcan Forged; and Supersocial, which develops games and other experiences on Roblox.

Coachella Is Back – in Fortnite. The famous desert multi-day festival returns to Fortnite for a third year. Fans can play on virtual stages in Fortnite Festival, or visit Sahara Island, a new music and mini-game experience created using Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN), featuring music and visuals from Coachella 2024 artists Grimes and DJ Snake. On the Main Stage, players can step into the spotlight and perform Jam Tracks from featured artists performing at Coachella 2024 alongside show visuals inspired by Coachella stages. These tracks will be included in the featured rotation from April 11 at 8 PM ET to April 18 at 8 PM ET. View the full list of Coachella 2024 Jam Tracks on the Fortnite blog.

The AI Desk

Sora made this music video. “I feel like this piece of art is my absolute heart and soul,” composer August Kamp wrote in the description of this YouTube video of his Sora-generated music video. “I remember the way I felt when these notes tumbled through my hands and onto the keys of my synthesizer almost two years ago. I remember how it rained outside and how I felt so lucky to be able to pour these feelings into a song – something that could hold onto them so I didn’t have to anymore. I closed my eyes while I played – something rare for me as I don’t know my keys all too well – but I closed my eyes and I saw pictures in my mind. this is what Sora is best for – in my opinion. taking these pictures that I’ve held onto for two years and saying “August – we can share these with folks”. that’s what I think is special about this tool. I get to share what was once locked behind my shut eyes – all alone. which is to say – this is how the song has always “looked”, it’s just that now I get to show you.”

Filmmaker Dave Clark’s latest fake trailer honors the legacy of Gundam. “Growing up, Gundam wasn’t just a show for me – it was a universe I lived in, dreamed of, and believed in, yet we still haven’t seen it in live-action form.” Clark wrote on YouTube “So, I decided to do something about it. Collaborating with fellow AI filmmakers, Kavan the Kid and Artisdead_AI, we fused cutting-edge AI technology with a deep passion for storytelling to craft a groundbreaking live-action concept trailer. Our aim? To honor the legacy of Gundam while pushing creative boundaries, offering fans a glimpse into a visually stunning and emotionally resonant cinematic adaptation.” Tools used to create this video – RunwayML Gen2, Midjourney, Magnific, Photoshop, DaVinci, Topaz Labs Video AI, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Lensgo AI and HaiperAI.

Follow the Money

Udio AI Music Generator Launches. They raised $10M in seed funding from prominent investors and celebs including a16z, Instagram co-founder Mike Kreiger, and musicians will.i.am and Common. This is a hot, crowded space filled with competitors and copyright minefields. Suno is that it can create song lyrics to vocals and instrumentation from a simple prompt.

Spines, the world’s first comprehensive Sprines AI publishing platform raises $6.5M Seed Round. The Spines platform reduces publishing time from six months to two weeks while reducing costs by 30% and offering a suite of services for every stage of the publishing process. The round was led by Aleph with participation from previous investor M-Fund, best-selling “Startup Nation” Co-Author Dan Senor, and LionTree LLC.

Weekend Reading

The Washington Post Sticks a Shiv in Humane’s AI Pin.

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 Connell Gauld, CTO of Zappar. 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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