philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Facebook’s AR/VR Head Calls for “Big Shift” in How It Deals with User Privacy

Facebook Reality Labs head Andrew Bosworth released an internal memo, entitled “The Big Shift,” which underlines why the company needs to start building products now that better balance user privacy and user experience.

Virtual and augmented reality opens new, more intimate windows into user behavior though, with biometrical data obtained from VR/AR devices offering important vectors for understanding what makes each individual tick. It’s a treasure trove of user data which has largely gone untapped (and unleaked, as far as we know), but it won’t always be that way.

Now, Andrew Bosworth, the head of Facebook’s AR/VR Reality Labs team, is calling on his colleagues to put user privacy at the core of its products. 

“Starting in January we are changing the way we approach product development in FRL. Instead of imagining a product and trimming it down to fit modern standards of data privacy and security we are going to invert our process. We will start with the assumption that we can’t collect, use, or store any data. The burden is on us to demonstrate why certain data is truly required for the product to work. Even then I want us to scope it as aggressively as we can, holding a higher bar for sending data to the server than we do for processing it locally. I have no problem with us giving users options to share more if they choose (opt-in) but by default we shouldn’t expect it.”

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Infographics dot the interior of Not Another Second, an exhibition dedicated to the tales of 12 LGBTQ+ seniors, centered around riveting portraits shot by German photographer Karsten Thormaehlen. Among the images and information at the ticketed and socially distanced installation, visitors will find the statistic that roughly three million seniors identify as LGBTQ+. This number is expected to double by 2030. And yet, we rarely hear such stories from the mouths of seniors themselves. Through the use of augmented reality, powered by Kaleida Studio, Thormaehlen’s images come to life and the subjects speak of their years of tragedy, triumph and pride. Open now within The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights (a senior community), the exhibition informs, entertains and uplifts. ...

None of the seniors featured shy away from the depths of their tribulations. But heartbreaking stories of isolation, secrecy and fear do yield to empowering experiences of freedom, romance and longterm love. Ultimately, resilience is the defining note—and it’s one of respect.

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Panasonic will help create immersive entertainment spectacles in Illuminariums

VentureBeat reports that the experiential entertainment in its “reprogrammable immersive theaters surround visitors in a sensory space with 360 degrees of sight, sound, and scale” with the target of delivering “out-of-reach places, people, and experiences to make our planet a more inspired, empathetic, and connected place.”

The first three 3,000-square foot Illuminariums will open in Atlanta, Miami and Las Vegas. The company “expects to have 25 to 30 Illuminarium venues open in the world’s megacities and mega tourism locations within the next five years.”

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TikTok’s new Q&A feature lets creators respond to fan questions using text or video

TikTok is testing a new video Q&A feature that allows creators to more directly respond to their audience’s questions with either text or video answers, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. The feature works across both video and livestreams (TikTok LIVE), but is currently only available to select creators who have opted into the test, we understand.

This photo taken on November 21, 2019, shows the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (Photo by LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images)

Q&As have become a top way creators engage fans on social media, and have proven to be particularly popular in places like Instagram Stories and in other social apps like Snapchat-integrated YOLO, or even in smaller startups.

On TikTok, however, Q&As are now a big part of the commenting experience, as many creators respond to individual comments by publishing a new video that explains their answer in more detail than a short, text comment could. Sometimes these answers are meant to clarify or add context, while other times creators will take on their bullies and trolls with their video responses. As a result, the TikTok comment section has grown to play a larger role in shaping TikTok trends and culture.

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Highschool Start-Up Launches Virtual Reality System to Help Mitigate Autistic Meltdowns

Three high schoolers made a first-of-its-kind virtual reality platform that helps individuals with autism calm down during meltdowns. Cognality is currently in the beta-testing phase and has received very promising feedback.

Cognality allows people to access these safe spaces anywhere and at any time. Their users can access the semi-personalized virtual reality scenes through their phone and a complimentary portable virtual reality headset. Some of the scenes include a bedroom, bathroom, car, train, and nature experiences. 

The founders have partnered with Dr. LouAnne Boyd, a professor at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Engineering with expertise in human-computer interaction, assistive technology, and augmented and virtual reality, to research the effectiveness of their product. 

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Superintelligent AI May Be Impossible to Control; That’s the Good News

It may be theoretically impossible for humans to control a superintelligent AI, a new study finds. Worse still, the research also quashes any hope for detecting such an unstoppable AI when it’s on the verge of being created. 

Slightly less grim is the timetable. By at least one estimate, many decades lie ahead before any such existential computational reckoning could be in the cards for humanity. 

Now Alfonseca and his colleagues suggest it may be impossible to control a superintelligent AI, due to fundamental limits inherent to computing itself. They detailed their findings this month in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research.

The researchers suggested that any algorithm that sought to ensure a superintelligent AI cannot harm people had to first simulate the machine’s behavior to predict the potential consequences of its actions. This containment algorithm then would need to halt the supersmart machine if it might indeed do harm.

However, the scientists said it was impossible for any containment algorithm to simulate the AI’s behavior and predict with absolute certainty whether its actions might lead to harm. The algorithm could fail to correctly simulate the AI’s behavior or accurately predict the consequences of the AI’s actions and not recognize such failures.

“Asimov’s first law of robotics has been proved to be incomputable,” Alfonseca says, “and therefore unfeasible.” 

We may not even know if we have created a superintelligent machine, the researchers say. This is a consequence of Rice’s theorem, which essentially states that one cannot in general figure anything out about what a computer program might output just by looking at the program, Alfonseca explains.

...Last, Alfonseca says, “We have not proved that superintelligences can never be controlled—only that they can’t always be controlled.”

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Wallace and Gromit Embark on an Augmented Reality Adventure in Inventive New Game

The team used gaming developer platform Unity Technology’s Mixed and Augmented Reality Studio product and the AR Foundation toolkit to create the immersive world in which the experience is set. They also collaborated with Sugar Creative and Tiny Rebel Games and received research support from the University of South Wales.

Ewings said the team also developed software that will determine how the game plays out in real-time based on user interactions with the story.

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Kevin Reilly Joins Advisory Board Of Israeli Tech Startup DeepDub In First Move Since WarnerMedia Exit

Kevin Reilly, who ended a six-year run at WarnerMedia last summer amid waves of restructuring at the media company, has resurfaced as an advisory board member of a tech startup called DeepDub.

In an interview with Deadline, Reilly described what he sees as a compelling opportunity for the emerging outfit, and said he expects his next professional chapter will not involve a return to the TV executive ranks.

Israel-based DeepDub, which launched in 2019 and debuted its main product just last month, uses artificial intelligence tools to provide localized entertainment programming. As a flood of streamingservices come to market with global ambitions, the company is aiming to help make the process of dubbing more seamless and efficient and potentially more appealing to A-list talent. The breakthrough of French-language Netflix original Lupin in the U.S. is just the latest sign of the cross-pollination to come.

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Deloitte – 9 predictions for 2021

  1. Edge computing will increase
  2. Cloud computing will increase
  3. 5G and conspiracy theories – concerns about 5G health risks are widespread. Education needs to be consistent and it needs to start now
  4. OpenRAN – next gen radio access network will gain wide adoption
  5. The gender gap in sports revenue is closing fast. Look for record-breaking attendance and revenue
  6. The hyper-quantified athlete – look for questions about how best to use the data ethically
  7. 8K TVs adoption – entertainment, gaming, work, business cases
  8. AR/VR headset sales will double over 2019 levels in 2021 – covid provided an opportunity to prove their usefulness in enterprise and education
  9. Video doctors’ visits will become the new normal in the long-term

Visit to see the full report

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Five highlights from FDA’s new AI device regulation Action Plan

On January 12, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) Digital Health Center of Excellence released its new five-part “Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML)-Based Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) Action Plan,” which describes the agency’s efforts to regulate products that incorporate AI. It is a direct response to stakeholder feedback to the April 2019 discussion paper, “Proposed Regulatory Framework for Modifications to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning-Based Software as a Medical Device.” Although the Action Plan is light on details for AI regulation, it pledges specific actions that show FDA is moving forward with its “Predetermined Change Control Plan” regulatory framework for machine learning devices. The docket for comments on the plan remains open, and device manufacturers may be interested in providing feedback to FDA on its AI policy proposals, before the agency finalizes its regulatory framework.

1. Tailored regulatory framework for AI/ML-based SaMD – Draft guidance to come

2. Good Machine Learning Process (GMLP)

3. Patient-centered approach incorporating transparency to users – Public workshop to come

4. Regulatory science methods related to algorithm bias & robustness

5. Real-world performance (RWP) – Pilot program to come

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