As the generative AI capabilities of Replika’s chatbots grew, its more adventurous users soon discovered the bots were willing to engage in explicit and sustained sexual conversations. The company began building products to respond to user interest in romantic relationships. By 2022, Replika was bringing in millions of dollars each month in subscription revenue (about a quarter of its users pay $70 for annual subscriptions to its premium features). Of its paying customers, 60% had a romantic element in their Replika relationship, according to the company. Roughly 40% of the users who claim romantic relationships are women, says Kuyda, Replika’s chief executive officer.https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-22/replika-ai-causes-reddit-panic-after-chatbots-shift-from-sex
Category Archives: virtual reality
Museums in the Future as Depicted in Popular Videogames: Looking Forward to Visit or Better Run-run Away?
This article relates to the role of museums in popular videogames as a possible indicator of how museums will be (or not) in the future. It aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion on the future of museums in the physical and the digital world. We focus on how the future of museum is represented in popular videogames. The spark of inspiration for this article was a presentation done by the authors for the “The Future Museum in the Future City” (authors, 2021) in Qatar, 2021. It is part of an ongoing research project on museums in popular videogames (MPVG), run by the Museology Research Laboratory of the Ionian University, Corfu, Greece.https://jfsdigital.org/articles-and-essays/2023-2/museums-in-the-future-as-depicted-in-popular-videogames-looking-forward-to-visit-or-better-run-run-away/
Remote workers are adopting a new practice called ‘body doubling,’ in which they watch strangers work online
It’s not the most novel concept, but one that is “blowing up” because it’s become more accessible and innovative thanks to technology, says Dr. David Sitt, licensed psychologist and professor at Baruch College. He noted that many people who advise those with ADHD have said that working while someone else is around is easier. Plus, he added, streaming work sessions allows you to connect with people worldwide, which is helpful when it’s difficult to get people to actually commit to working with you IRL.https://fortune-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/fortune.com/2023/03/05/body-doubling-parallel-working-tiktok-trend/amp/
This is Meta’s AR/VR hardware roadmap for the next four years
During an internal presentation, Meta execs laid out plans for three new Quest headsets, AR glasses in 2027, and a ‘neural interface’ smartwatch.https://www.theverge.com/2023/2/28/23619730/meta-vr-oculus-ar-glasses-smartwatch-plans
Crochet enthusiasts asked ChatGPT for patterns. The results are ‘cursed’
A number of TikTok users have deployed ChatGPT to write patterns for crochet creations, yielding “cursed” results that are testing the boundaries of nascent artificial intelligence capabilities.https://amp-theguardian-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.theguardian.com/technology/2023/feb/26/chatgpt-generated-crochet-pattern-results
URL To IRL And Back Again: How Digital Fabric Twins Are Defining Fashion’s New Trajectories
For fashion to work, creative design and product development have always required a steady flow of both new ideas and new fabrics to execute them in. So for digital fashion to work, it should come as no surprise that digital ideation, design and development – as practised in popular solutions like CLO3D – will demand a constant source of digital fabrics.https://www-theinterline-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.theinterline.com/2023/02/28/url-to-irl-and-back-again-how-digital-fabrics-twins-are-defining-fashions-new-trajectories/amp/
The signifiers of books and reading (Ray Bradbury)
Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No. 203
The Imminent Danger of A.I. Is One We’re Not Talking About (Ezra Klein)
“I tend to think that most fears about A.I. are best understood as fears about capitalism,” Chiang told me. “And I think that this is actually true of most fears of technology, too. Most of our fears or anxieties about technology are best understood as fears or anxiety about how capitalism will use technology against us. And technology and capitalism have been so closely intertwined that it’s hard to distinguish the two.”https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/26/opinion/microsoft-bing-sydney-artificial-intelligence.html
“Far Away” as a luxury signifier keeps evolving
The ideological framework of “far away” has been used as a luxury signifier over the last few decades as externalities around it have changed. Its meaning has implied a sense of “global access” and “entitlement”. The water category is a prime example to see how these signifiers have evolved over the decades and face new challenges today as the idea of “far away” creates new cultural dissonance. Changes began to take hold after the recession in 2008 as a shift to guilt and localism began to replace global as having a more potent social currency for luxury.
From the 1980s when sushi became a signifier of that global access. The history of sushi’s rise in the United States has a lot to do with making the supply chain meet that desire. How can I eat raw fish “far away” from its source? You can if you are willing to pay for it. It becomes the signifier of 1980s aspirational luxury.
Today that idea of global access and entitlement has more complicated problems. Growing inequality and the pandemic have made the idea of “far away” more complicated. We see luxury signifiers shifting to a more “escape pod” ideological framework. From space tourism to luxury bunkers and the metaverse as well.
A student in Analyzing Trends pointed to the Space Perspective package being sold, so you can be a passenger on a balloon-borne pressurized capsule scheduled to make its first test flights early next year. A $125,000 temporary escape pod.
Douglas Rushkoff wrote about tech billionaires who are buying up luxurious bunkers and hiring military security to survive a societal collapse they helped create. And there is an article in The Atlantic that points out how we are already living in the metaverse.
Dystopias often share a common feature: Amusement, in their skewed worlds, becomes a means of captivity rather than escape. George Orwell’s 1984 had the telescreen, a Ring-like device that surveilled and broadcast at the same time. The totalitarian regime of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 burned books, yet encouraged the watching of television. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World described the “feelies”—movies that, embracing the tactile as well as the visual, were “far more real than reality.” In 1992, Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel Snow Crash imagined a form of virtual entertainment so immersive that it would allow people, essentially, to live within it. He named it the metaverse.https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2023/03/tv-politics-entertainment-metaverse/672773/
Pro-Gamers Tackle Virtual Clothing Waste with Vanish ‘ReSkin’ Challenge
Vanish, the Reckitt garment care brand committed to encouraging consumers to re-wear their clothes and raising awareness of clothing waste, has partnered with some of Europe’s biggest gamers and streamers to expand its #ReWear message into the world of gaming – hacking the virtual ‘fast fashion’ trend to drive awareness of the real-life clothing crisis in new and super-engaged audiences.
#ReSkinChallenge sees high-profile gamers including CaptainPuffy, ShivFPS, FreyzPlayz and fifakillvizualz – who combined boast more than 4.4m Twitch subscribers and are known for their frenzied consumption of the latest skins and in-game clothes – uncharacteristically revert to a basic, default skin for a whole week. If this didn’t raise enough questions from their communities – and it did – they also wore the same physical outfit on their streams for the duration of the challenge, starting conversations among their fans.https://www.lbbonline.com/news/pro-gamers-tackle-virtual-clothing-waste-with-vanish-reskin-challenge