philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology

15Aug/19Off

Instagram Is Letting You Create Your Own Augmented Reality Filters

EB3m6g1UEAYVEsRInstagram wants you to take your Stories to the next level, as the social media app is now allowing users to create their own augmented reality filters. By utilizing Spark AR’s public beta — previously available to Facebook users — anyone can create and publish their own AR effects on Instagram.

Spark AR is available for Mac and PC, featuring tools to synch movements, import object sounds, and publish filters directly to Instagram. You can also take advantage of the Learning Center for tutorials on coding and how to animate 3D objects.

See the full story here: https://www.highsnobiety.com/p/instagram-augmented-reality-filters/

15Aug/19Off

Why Are Deepfakes So Effective? Its because we want them to be true.

C1294E2A-49D3-4B14-BF6E16F90B3D541B_sourceFueled by advances in AI and spread over the tentacles of social media, deep fakes may prove to be among the most destabilizing of forces humankind has faced in generations.

After showing over 3,000 adults fake images accompanied by fabricated text, a group of researchers reached two conclusions. First, the more online experience and familiarity with digital photography one had, the more skeptical the person evaluating the information was. Second, confirmation bias—the tendency to frame new information to support our pre-existing beliefs—was a big factor in how people judged the veracity of the fake information.

Deep fakes work so well because they have large audiences willing to believe and spread them. We often see what we want to be true—a desirability bias.

To understand how a well-executed deep fake could play into desirability bias, consider these vignettes. The first is a video of a high school student that went viral on Twitter in January. Many saw a smug young man mocking a tribal elder. Others saw a nervous teenager not knowing how to react in a strange situation. This was unaltered footage. What was missing was context—the truth was more complex.

Psychologists found that repeating the same message boosts the propaganda effect through a process called priming. The more you are exposed to a statement, the likelier you are to rate it as true.

One of the best works is Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, written by Richards Heuer, a longtime CIA officer.

Two of Heuer's key points are that being aware of cognitive biases is not enough. You also have to apply methods that foster higher levels of critical thinking, such as structuring information using decision trees and causal diagrams, and by challenging assumptions.

See the full story here: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/why-are-deepfakes-so-effective/?

15Aug/19Off

Interact with the WAX Blockchain in Terra Virtua’s Augmented Reality Mobile App

William-HeadshotOwners of Millions of WAX Collectibles Enjoy Their Skins In World's First Ever Fully-Immersive Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Blockchain Entertainment Platform

LONDON, and GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands, Aug. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Worldwide Asset eXchange™ (WAX) and Terra Virtua, the world's first fully immersive augmented reality and virtual reality (AR and VR) entertainment platform, today announced that customers can interact with the millions of digital collectibles trading on the WAX Blockchain in augmented reality.

Together, the companies are in a position to take full advantage of the rapidly expanding AR/VR consumer entertainment market, which is expected to grow from $3.2B to $19.9Bin the next three years. The integration of WAX into Terra Virtua combines the strength of the WAX Blockchain and its suite of microservices that are built for developers with Terra Virtua's platform to create a secure, streamlined and interactive social environment to view, buy, sell and trade virtual collectibles.

See the full story here: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/interact-wax-blockchain-terra-virtuas-161000706.html

15Aug/19Off

Google’s AI learns how actions in videos are connected

image3-1...scientists at Google propose Temporal Cycle-Consistency Learning (TCC), a self-supervised AI training technique that taps “correspondences” between examples of similar sequential processes (like weight-lifting repetitions or baseball pitches) to learn representations well-suited for temporal video understanding. The codebase is available in open source on GitHub.

As the researchers explain, footage that captures certain actions contains key common moments — or correspondences — that exist independent of factors like viewpoint changes, scale, container style, or the speed of the event. TCC attempts to find such correspondences across videos by leveraging cycle-consistency.

...Moreover, they say that it can transfer metadata (like temporal semantic labels, sound, or text) associated with any frame in one video to its matching frame in another video, and that each frame in a given video could be used to retrieve similar frames by looking up the nearest neighbors in the embedding space.

See the full story here: https://venturebeat.com/2019/08/08/googles-ai-learns-how-actions-in-videos-are-connected/

15Aug/19Off

Quantum system virtually cooled to half of its actual temperature

quantumsysteAs the researchers explained, the results are based on the idea that there is a strong connection between temperature and .

"A modern perspective in physics is that temperature is an emergent property of quantum entanglement," Cotler told Phys.org. "In other words, certain patterns of quantum entanglement give rise to the familiar notion of temperature. By purposefully manipulating the pattern of entanglement in a system, we can gain access to lower temperatures. While these remarkable ideas were previously understood theoretically, we figured out how to implement them experimentally."

"We may be able to use quantum virtual cooling to 'cross' what are called finite-temperature phase transitions," Cotler said. "This seems quite bizarre—it would be like taking two glasses of liquid water, and by making a quantum measurement, you learn about the properties of solid ice.

Due to their quantum properties, quantum simulators can perform certain tasks like this that are out of the reach of classical computers, which cannot leverage quantum entanglement and superposition.

See the full story here: https://phys.org/news/2019-08-quantum-virtually-cooled-actual-temperature.html

14Aug/19Off

AI used to test evolution’s oldest mathematical model

aiusedtotestThe researchers found that different butterfly species act both as model and as mimic, 'borrowing' features from each other and even generating new patterns.

"We can now apply AI in new fields to make discoveries which simply weren't possible before," said lead author Dr. Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill from Cambridge's Department of Earth Sciences. "We wanted to test Müller's theory in the real world: did these species converge on each other's wing patterns and if so how much? We haven't been able to test mimicry across this evolutionary system before because of the difficulty in quantifying how similar two butterflies are."

See the full story here: https://phys.org/news/2019-08-ai-evolution-oldest-mathematical.html

14Aug/19Off

Google Maps Now Offers Augmented Reality Directions

EBcjJ_nXsAAzgtQIn a nutshell, Live View displays virtual signs in the real world. So, you hold your phone in the air, and Google Maps will direct you to your destination using signs hanging in mid-air. This only works while walking for obvious reasons.

See the full story here: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/google-maps-augmented-reality-directions/

13Aug/19Off

Will Smith, Robert De Niro and the Rise of the All-Digital Actor

will_smith_aging_-_h_-_2019A believable, fully digital human is still considered among the most difficult tasks in visual effects. "Digital humans are still very hard, but it's not unachievable. You only see that level of success at the top-level companies," explains Chris Nichols, a director at Chaos Group Labs and key member of the Digital Human League, a research and development group. He adds that this approach can be "extraordinarily expensive. It involves teams of people and months of work, research and development and a lot of revisions. They can look excellent if you involve the right talent."

The VFX team must first create the "asset," effectively a movable model of the human. Darren Hendler, head of VFX house Digital Domain's digital human group, estimates that this could cost from $500,000 to $1 million to create. Then, he suggests, producers could expect to pay anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 per shot, depending on the individual requirements of the performance in the scene.

More often, filmmakers use what has been broadly described as "digital cosmetics," which could be thought of as a digital makeup applications — for instance, removing wrinkles for smoother skin. This means that age is becoming less of an issue when casting an actor. "It's safer and cheaper than plastic surgery," notes Nichols. Marvel's Avengers: Endgame involved the creation of roughly 200 such de-aging shots, with work on actors such as Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, to enable its time-traveling story.

AI and machine learning, and the related category known as generative adversarial networks (GANS), which involves neural networks, could advance this area even further. "I wouldn't be surprised if The Irishman and Gemini Man are the last fully digital human versions that don't use some sort of GANS as part of the process," Hendler says, adding that de-aging techniques and digital humans could start to appear in more films, and not just those with Marvel-size budgets. "I think we'll start to see some of this used on smaller-budget shows."

See the full story here: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/rise-all-digital-actor-1229783

13Aug/19Off

How Netflix Is Using Its Muscle to Push Filmmaking Technology Boundaries

arri_camera_embedIf you have used the "Netflix calibrated mode" on your Sony or Panasonic TV or seen the "Netflix Recommended TV" logo in a consumer electronics display, you've had a glimpse of how the streaming giant has exercised its clout to become the most influential entertainment company in the technology field, pushing boundaries (and occasionally ruffling feathers). Netflix's size has allowed it to touch and influence everything from hardware and software development to industry display standards.

"Netflix has hired some of the top industry engineers out of the top postproduction houses in Hollywood and beyond. I don't know any other company that has reached out more and demonstrated more respect for the post community than Netflix … It has had a profound influence on everything we do."

Case in point: Netflix wanted its original content to be delivered in 4K resolution with the Dolby Vision brand of high dynamic range (Netflix now offers about 1,000 hours of HDR across its catalog) and Dolby Atmos brand of immersive sound. Broadcasters are still entrenched in 2K, and many acknowledge that, if not for Netflix, adoption of the advanced formats might have stagnated.

To make sure its content is being produced how it wants, the streamer in September launched a Netflix Post Technology Alliance with MTI, Adobe, Sony and others.

Netflix also is involved in industry standardization and development efforts. For instance, it recently joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Academy Software Foundation, a forum for open source software developers.

See the full story here: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/how-netflix-is-using-muscle-push-filmmaking-technology-boundaries-1229620

13Aug/19Off

Dan Carlin’s WWI VR Experience ‘War Remains’ Opens in Austin

Fans of Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History” podcast can now explore the drama of World War I in a historic immersive reality experience narrated by the podcaster. “War Remains,” which has been produced by MWM Immersive with development by Flight School Studio and audio design by Skywalker Sound, opened its doors in Austin, Tx. Monday.

The experience allows participants to explore a set with physical cues, including rumbling floors and wind machines, that is tied to a story playing in VR. It transports viewers to the Western Front battlefield of World War I, complete with dark and scary trenches under fire from advancing enemy troops.

“War Remains” is just the latest location-based VR experience from MWM Immersive, which also produced “Chained: A Victorian Nightmare,” a piece that combined VR with immersive theater. MWM Immersive executive producer Ethan Stearns said that the company never once worried about the fact that “War Remains” was a lot darker than a lot of the other location-based VR experiences out there. “There are lots and lots of people who are trying to seek out deeper understanding of historical events,” he said. “To us, it made sense.”

See the full story here: https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/dan-carlin-war-remains-vr-austin-1203299547/