Mexico’s Congress Got Up Close and Personal with Alleged Alien Mummies. The alien corpses were supposedly recovered from the Andes in 2017. The desiccated, three-fingered creatures were dramatically unveiled by self-proclaimed UFO expert Jaime Maussan. As you can see, pictures of the mummified corpses, which resemble “E.T.” a little too much. NASA is taking UFOs seriously, and named a chief investigator whose identituy will be secret to protect them from harassment.
The US Senate’s AI Insight Forum this week featured some of the most powerful people in tech and, indeed, the world, including Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Sandar Pinchai, Jensen Huang of Nvidia, and Sam Altman of OpenAI. Apple was notably absent. CNBC noted the panelists have a combined net worth of $550 billion. A similar meeting took place at the White House six weeks ago, afrer which Tech Firms Promised To Be Good. President Biden announced voluntary commitments from seven U.S. companies who promised to ensure that their AI products are safe before release. Anthropic, Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI formed the Frontier Model Forum, an industry body that promotes the safe and responsible development of AI. The new organization will conduct internal and external security testing, share information, invest in cybersecurity, and prioritize research on AI’s societal risks.
Metaverse Pioneer Animoca invests $20M in the Mocaverse. A non-fungible token (NFT) collection designed to allow users to craft on-chain identities in order to participate in the Mocaverse ecosystem with Moca ID, a very web3 concept. The investment was led by CMCC Global and included contributions from Kingsway Capital, Liberty City Ventures and GameFi Ventures. Animoca co-founder Yat Siu also participated in a personal capacity.
Stability AI launches music generation tool – Stable Audio. With the paid version ($12/month) users can generate music up to 90 seconds in length. Unlike its popular free open-source text-to-image generator, Stable Audio will cost $12/month on the web. Stable Audio has been trained with over 800,000 licensed audio files containing music and sound effects from stock music licensing company AudioSparx. The dataset represents more than 19,500 hours of sounds.
Keiichi Matsuda debuts new short about AR, Agents. The five and a half minute short, financed by Niantic, is a decidedly more optimistic view of AR and AI than presented in Matsudu’s masterpiece, Hyper-Reality (2016) and his more recent Merger (2019), which shows a human working doing machine-like work. Niantic CEO John Hanke said in his 2022 AWE keynote that we should build a world we want to live in, not escape from.
Microsoft US Army contract lives to fight another day. Miraculously, and franking from our POV, surprisingly, Microsoft took the remaining $40M on their vastly conditional $20 B IVAS contract and, together with their DOD advocates, managed to get a good grade in a field test that had previously garnered toxic reviews. Safe to say without this contract, the HoloLens might follow Google Glass into the memory hole museum of anachronistic technology.
The Apple iPhone 15 has stereoscopic capture enabled by its dual offset cameras. The content can be played back on the Vision Pro XR headset. This makes much more sense than capturing it from the headset, which would be awkward. Like the new Vision Pro, this functionality won’t be available until 2024. Apple’s taking orders for the 15 starting today, with delivery commencing on the 22nd of September.
Roblox Introduces AI Assistant For Game Development and World Building. Roblox Assistant can generate environments, objects, and basic gameplay from text descriptions. Think “spawn near a campfire in ancient ruins,” or “Victorian haunted house.” The assistant is slated for a late 2023/early 2024 launch. On a semi-related note, developers attending RDC23 got a free Quest Pro. They are now going on eBay for $700 new.
ArborXR Launches XR Directory to Help Companies Find Trusted VR Developers. Developers are vetted and selected based on merit, with badges to indicate their specialization and experience. Companies can download dozens of demos, previewing firsthand the quality of the developer and assessing fit before reaching out. At launch, 60+ developers and a library of 20+ curated demo apps are available on the platform.
This Week in XR is also a podcast hosted by the author of this column, Ted Schilowitz, Futurist, Paramount Global, and Rony Abovitz, founder of Magic Leap. This week our guest is Anna Belova, founder and CEO, Devar. We can be found on Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube.
What We’re Reading
Uber CEO reiterates the ways in which his company sucks (Patrick Kulp/Emerging Tech Brew)
How virtual reality is being used to treat fears, phobias and anxiety (CBS News)