Should Children Form Emotional Attachments to AI?

Facebook, fake news, and our troubled relationship with social media is just the prequel to our evolving relationship with technology. This great read from the Atlantic starts to frame some of the bigger issues we’ll need to face as a society of humans….

Should Children Form Emotional Attachments to AI?

Mindshow Nuze hits its stride!

Mindshow Nuze is an original short form comedy show, produced and created in virtual reality using Mindshow. I’ve made a lot short from content from Warner Bros Records, to Disney, but this one was a true first!

When you use Mindshow with an HTC vive, you become the characters…but writing about it is like describing “Dark Side of the Moon” to someone who never heard it. With Mindshow you feel it!

Because anyone can use Mindshow to make short animated content, producing our own show wasn’t enough. The goal was to build a show around the community of Alpha users who have access to the Mindshow today. (Get your alpha code here)

The idea was to build a connected world with everything our users are creating, and work with the community to define what’s possible. Midnshow Nuze takes clips made by users, and contextulaizs them in our weekly news format. It’s fun, it real, and it’s starting catch on. It took a few episodes to really figure our the rules of the game with our users. From the beginning it was a hit on Facebook, and as of a few weeks ago, it’s found it’s organic audience on Youtube. We’re getting about 60k views an episode across both platforms and were getting more clips from our users every week. Take look at some of my favorite episodes, or watch them all below!

MINDSHOW NUZE – Ep 3: FLYING CHICKEN GHOSTS

MINDSHOW NUZE – Ep 5: PINANA SURGERY GONE WRONG

WATCH THEM ALL!

Passive and Proactive Virtual reality: Learning from social media immersion

The 2016 election cycle highlighted a deep division in our country’s psyche. From fake news to the idea of a personal information bubble, social media played a role in altering our reality, fueling our collective ability to move beyond facts into a sort of real time chaos.

Reality is in not what it used to be!

This piece from Jacqueline Schneider uses music as a lense to explore something much deeper, something that’s been building over time into an alternative perception driven by our mobile social habits.

“How Social Media Normalized Mediocrity: Through the Lens of Music”

“The fact that a message or image penetrates your very eyeballs, means it’s getting into your brain which means it’s affecting you whether you realize it or not”

We unintentionally create a new reality around us everyday.

“Social media has disconnected us so much from reality that we digest things about people and organizations before even having a first-hand experience or thinking critically about the information we are being fed”

If virtual reality is supposed to be the next big thing, what is the role of these ecosystems being built by Facebook and Google if we already entering a virtual space everyday?

Are we using virtual reality for empathy or as a response and escape from a “social media reality”?

“After interacting with digital and social media for a large portion of the day, we create our own version of reality which is highly influenced by our feeds.”

Our current state of reality seems to have happened to us. Social media = a sort of passive virtual reality. We innocently check our phones without acknowledging we’re leaving one reality and entering another. We enter the space before we’ve examined the effects. Images in real time feeds can distort the facts and validate views that are shifting faster then our ability to find solid ground.

On the other hand, headset enabled virtual reality is something we’re creating from scratch right now, in a post “social virtual world”. This new wave of VR seems like a more deliberate choice, the promise of the future we choose with bulky headsets and complete immersion, we should know what were getting into? Or is this “choice” yet another illusion?

I believe part of the intent Jacqueline’s article is to convince us to unplug, but the course of humanity so far seems to indicate we will only integrate it more and more.

Is it strange to suggest we need more technology to bring us closer to reality?

What would fake news look like in a fully immersive virtual environment? How about abuse in a virtual environment? We should be cautious not to just bring our existing social media patterns and problems into these new VR ecosystems. To build a new VR ecosystem will require an honest assessment of our current relationship with reality.

This next wave of technology promising a virtual reality is currently in development and under our control, so we do have a chance to reset some ground rules based on what we’ve learned from what I’ve called “social virtual reality”. VR wont be the next big thing without learning from the current virtual world we’ve found ourselves in, and baking in some preventative measures. Maybe we can dial it back, use VR to escape from what we’ve built before. For those that call it an empathy machine, rememebr that was once the promise of the internet itself.

It’s the beginning of a new journey! Store No8, Walmart and Virtual Reality

I’m excited to work with Walmart on their virtual reality strategy. The project is within Walmart’s incubator called Store No. 8. The Store No. 8 reference comes from the name of Sam Walton’s early store, where he experimented with new and bold ideas for retail.

I was impressed with the Store No. 8 team from the first meeting. Creating a culture that plans for change that is 3-4 years out is hard, many say it cant be done within large traditional organizations. I’m up for the challenge!

Were building the ground floor for V-COMMERCE and planning a major VR event in October.

Stay tuned as a new adventure begins and I will share more details as our projects progress!

Background on Store No. 8

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-20/wal-mart-unveils-store-no-8-tech-incubator-in-silicon-valley

Walmart VR Focus:

http://www.roadtovr.com/wal-mart-zeros-future-vrar-new-silicon-valley-tech-incubator/

IT IS THE END OF AN AMAZING ERA AND PERSONAL JOURNEY AS MAKER FOLDS INTO DISNEY

Being at Maker at the beginning was a special experience. There were no “digtial stars” before Youtubers and this new medium began to scale just as we started building Maker. The original founders, Lisa, Ben and Danny, figured out the most important thing. This new generation of talent was on to something and it would be huge.

I met so many amazing people who identified talent in this new wave of creation. The network dev team at Maker were culturally light years ahead of everyone, understading how special these creators were, believeing in them when others just saw wacky videos. The whole idea of video game content on Youtube was so new, and The Game Station team was so dialed into that culture.

As Maker grew, it was hard dealing with all the startup growth issues and what quickly became incredible competition to sign talent. But whatever you read about MCN’s going away, or Maker missing the mark, in this first era of MCN growth, Maker dominated and seperated from the pack.

As we became a huge company, we were at the forefront of bringing this new world into the traditional media and brand world at scale. We changed alot and it was hard, but I secretly loved working with the sales team to grow the business, perfecting the balance of infleuncers, brands and authenticty. Working side by side with the amazing executives who knew how to navigate this phase was special, packaging the company for growth, and eventually tapping into my own epxertise and becoming key man in the Disney aquisition.

MCN’s may not be the final paradigm, but to call Maker or MCN’s a failure is only possible if you didnt live it. We put our heart and soul into our creators before anyone else. Youtube and digital video platforms are huge now, but MCN’s birthed it, and it’s simply evoled into much more.

We got out on top, and it wasnt an accident, I learned it is a skill and I had the fortune to watch and learn from some of the smartest executives in the world who got us there. Not easy to do but easy to criticise 🙂

A few of my favorite pics from the good old days!

Disney’s Latest Maker Move Punctuates End Of Multi-Channel Network Era

TREEHUGGER : WAWONA WINS TRIBECA STORYSCAPES AWARD

I spent time last year working with Marshmallow Laser Feast Treehugger. I cant take any credit for the really cool stuff, but i did help out on several of capture trips and helped think out the strategy for how we brought this experience to the world.

For the fifth year, Tribeca awarded innovation in storytelling through its Storyscapes Award for immersive storytelling, went to TREEHUGGER : WAWONA!

Congrats to Barnay, Ersin, Robin, Nell Mike and the whole MLF crew, couldnt be more deserved to a better crew!

Tribeca Storyscape winner annoucement

Time.com: Most Mesmerizing: Treehugger Wawona

Mashable raves on Treehugger

Forbes on Trees in VR?

Mindshow Official Trailer!

It’s time for VRLA and I’m excited to be there this year working for Mindshow. We’ve been learning how to do some amazing things with Mindshow, creating new types of content from within VR!

Check out the new trailer for VRLA, featuring some the best we’ve made and seen yet! Everything you see here is acted out by a real person as the character in VR!

On the road to the future of MUSIC and VR

I recently read a great summary of what the major labels are doing in “VR” (link below). The initiatives mentioned are cool, and moving things forward. But I dont think any of these video based initiatives really are “VR”. 360 video and live concerts in a headset feel more an incremental new video format than a disruptive new medium.

Take a read and think about what it takes to create real disruption!

http://www.vrroom.buzz/vr-news/entertainment/can-vr-be-real-hit-music-biz

Charge your brain for 2017!

Over the holidays I always get a chance to catch up on my reading and thinking.

Here are a few stories that frame the future.- Some scary, some Hopeful, but all ring true. Lets make sure we know where we are going!

The end of adolescence

https://aeon.co/essays/adolescence-is-no-longer-a-bridge-between-childhood-and-adult-life

When every moment of childhood can be recorded and shared, what happens to childhood?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/style/2016/12/07/when-every-moment-of-childhood-can-be-recorded-and-shared-what-happens-to-childhood/

How video games unwittingly train the brain to justify killing

https://aeon.co/ideas/how-video-games-unwittingly-train-the-brain-to-justify-killing

People will still power an AI workforce

http://www.theverge.com/a/verge-2021/stacy-brown-philpot-taskrabbit-ceo-interview-ai-gig-economy

The top artificial intelligence stories of 2016

https://techcrunch.com/timeline/the-top-artificial-intelligence-stories-of-2016/slide/6/

The Case Against Reality
http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/04/the-illusion-of-reality/479559/

Welcome to Mindshow!

I am excited to share I am working with Mindshow, a Virtual Reality app that lets you make your own VR cartoons using your body and voice, acting out your own parts, and then filming them in VR to create a clip you can share on all social platforms.

That’s a mouthful because talking about VR is always tough – so lets just say Mindshow has that “thing” that’s been missing from VR and I was hooked the first time I tried it!

Virtual reality does provide a platform to consume content in a new way, but what about creating content? Do I need to learn a programming language and visual effects tools to be in the game? How will VR meet the “everyone is a creator” ethos that YouTube helped solidify? How will VR disrupt creation in the same way Youtubers re-defined what’s “watchable” for an entire generation?

Mindshow takes advantage of immersive VR to create and share stories of your own. When your senses tell you you’re an alien or space captain – something NEW happens to your creative brain. But acting inside the characters is just half the fun, stepping out of the characters and then filming your performance in a virtual 360 space lets you express yourself in new ways. And when it’s done, you have a video you can share on all social platforms. Even if your friends don’t have VR they can be a part of it today!

I cant wait to see what a new generation of creators use it for! Working at maker convinced me that VR needs more then just content, we need to build an ecosystem that builds a deep connection between users and creators, getting everyone involved. Creating content = play for kids today, and Mindshow found a way to use VR to make a whole new way to play!w

So weather or not you have VR, wth Mindshow, I can share my VR experience with you in a way that makes it fun for everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m thankful to be with family friends in Michigan!

“It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”

—Isaac asimov

 

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New York Media Week 2016

I enjoyed speaking on the Investments in VR panel, part of New York Media Week 2016! I also met some cool folks at the digital influencer dinner. A few snapshots and a link to more info!

PANELISTS
T. Hale Boggs, Partner, Corporate/Finance, Capital Markets and Venture Capital, Manatt
Tim Chang, Managing Director, Mayfield Fund
Matthew Wang, Managing Director, Evercore
Bryan Biniak, Entrepreneur-In-Residence, Nokia Growth Partners
Jeremy Welt, President, Invisible Robot
Moderator: Joost van Dreunen, Co-Founder & CEO, SuperData Research

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More info NYMW 2016

Wired Magazine Feature: The Future of Music is VR

Take a deep dive into the process and creative driving the combination of VR and Music today with Wired. From a business perspective, Wired’s article also does a god job at drawing attention there may be something here people wood pay for! I agree, and believe that VR, when combined with music, is impactful enough to make Music a primary activity again, and increase monetization direct with fans.

Music’s Salvation Might Be Selling Not Songs, But VR

VideoInk founder Jocelyn Johnson and Creatv Media’s Peter Csathy debate whether the Maker Studios acquisition by Disney was worth it…

Peter’s Intro

Jocelyn’s Intro

Peter Understands how Disney and earnouts work and it takes time…

Jocelyn shares Video Inks coverage of the merger…

Full interview here, starts at about 7 minutes in…good insight to how difficult mergers can be, upside and challenges they both make great points!

SPLASH – 360 MOBILE VIDEO AND VR COMMUNITY WORTH TRYING AND SHARING!

For the last few months I’ve been advising the mobile VR company SPLASH. They are a crucial part of the emerging Mobile/Social VR ecosystem.

Splash lets you create fully immersive 360 videos with just your phone. Even better, you can watch them in a entry level VR headset like Google cardboard, again with nothing more than your phone. The app also allows you to share native 360 on most social platforms, so no reason not to explore!

On Friday, Splash announced a 2.5 Million raise, led by Greycroft Partners, other participation from Advancit, Felix Capital, BDMI, Seedcamp, DeNA, Kevin Wall, and e.ventures. The Splash team just completed a great run at Vidicon, sharing the app with the creators and executives that are the glue between the future of video and the future of VR!

Watch My Frisbee Golf 360 creates with Splash

360 video with cool filters and skins

Get Splash for Free on IOS

Read the full release here