Home Artificial Intelligence Goodbye VR, hello AR, and may AI be more human, plz?

Goodbye VR, hello AR, and may AI be more human, plz?

Goodbye VR, hello AR, and may AI be more human, plz?

It looks as if the fizzle has gone out of the VR conversation altogether, as every manufacturer and conversation is refocusing its attention on AR. That wasn’t particularly recent, but Apple’s flagship headset is a big leap away from virtual reality, embracing the blended world more fully.

Apple didn’t actually add much to the conversation to this point — the headset hasn’t began shipping yet, in any case — but you’d be a very spicy mixed mix of not-in-touch-with-reality spices to bet against the Cupertino giant lately. This represents a profound opportunity for startups.

Will we discover the humanity in AI?

Image Credits: NanoStockk (opens in a recent window) / Getty Images

There’s an old joke: Bob says to his friend, peering into the infinite abyss of space: “Do you think that there’s any intelligent life on the market?” Anna replies: “Why would there be — there’s barely any down here.” Funny, yes, however the punchline keeps rattling around in my mind because the AI train continues to hurtle along the track. See, I don’t think artificial intelligence is inherently evil or good, but it surely needs to be trained on something, and the very best we’ve got is a variety of human knowledge. Humans will not be inherently evil, but my goodness, we aren’t particularly kind either.

This week, Devin notes that, within the midst of a writers’ strike, it was insensitive timing at best when Fable Studios showed off an AI-generated, fake episode of “South Park.”

Apple (you understand, that big company based in Cupertino. They make earbuds and stuff) was also within the news for AI for a bit. Relevant to startups, it removed an AI-powered content generator impersonating Meta’s Threads app. Less relevant to startups, but I imagine it’ll make a startup or two twitch nervously, the corporate is reportedly testing a ChatGPT-like AI chatbot. Possibly Siri will finally grow some smarts — because straight away, she’s pretty astonishingly under par within the “smarts” department. I could rant about that a bit more in my column next week.

I’m not a Shein fan, truthfully (essentially single-use clothing is so profoundly bad for the environment), but now there’s another excuse to have a problem with the clothing manufacturer: Designers are pissed about Shein ripping off their work using AI and are suing the corporate.

You doodle it, Stability makes it good: You’ll have seen the “draw some circles, now draw the remaining of the owl” meme that has been floating across the web ceaselessly. This week, Stability AI took that meme to an entire recent level with its Stable Doodle, a sketch-to-image tool.

Bonjour, Bard: Google’s Bard chatbot finally launches within the EU and supports greater than 40 languages. As you may expect, though, the EU is keeping a detailed eye on it, as privacy advocates are keeping watch.

Fare thee well, Joanne: Roboticist Joanne Pransky died recently and has left an enduring impact on the industry, bringing a uniquely human element to conversations about robotics and automation. A much needed addition to the conversation, in the event you ask me.

Off the chain . . .

California cyclist bike

Image Credits: Bing Guan / Getty Images

… or possibly the chain fell off. Fashion-forward bike company VanMoof met its demise this week, and we were left wondering how the favored e-bike pioneer may very well be pedaling toward bankruptcy last week, whilst the market boomed. The corporate steered off the cliff this week with an official declaration of bankruptcy in The Netherlands.

Apropos transportation, Tesla announced that the primary Cybertruck finally rolled off the manufacturing lines, years after it was promised. Tesla also announced certainly one of the wilder things I’ve heard in a hot minute — as someone who has been driving a FSD Tesla for some time, and turned the functionality off because I kept fearing for my life, it brought a correct belly laugh to learn that Tesla is planning to license its FSD tech to other OEMs soon. It’ll be interesting to see what happens on each of those fronts, especially because the competition responds. Ford slashed its F-150 Lightning EV pickup prices, and the manufacturer goes heavy on the gas with its hands-off driving, because it releases BlueCruise 1.3.

When payday goes negative: It looks as if Tesla’s director-level pay was just a little excessive there for a moment, they usually pay $735 million to settle claims they overpaid themselves.

Sure, it’s the humans: I rarely go for a drive without muttering under my breath about drivers doing spectacularly dumb things, but Cruise and Waymo blaming humans and their bad driving skills for robotaxi permit delays seems a bit wealthy. That folks are bad drivers must be the No. 1 most predictable thing ever, no? The security regulators got their feathers in a tizzy over the corporate’s ad, saying it was in poor taste to make use of accidents by human drivers as a sales tactic.

Wouldn’t or not it’s great in the event that they didn’t catch fire, tho?: Rebecca reports that NYC gig employees need assistance accessing protected e-bikes amid lithium battery fires.

Big trends in startup land

Honey the Cow

Image Credits: Haje Kamps (opens in a recent window) / TechCrunch (opens in a recent window)

Startup layoffs have been in our headlines a lot of the yr. Our Equity podcast mused that the tech startups might just be within the pruning phase in the mean time.

Fundraising has gone up and down a bit over the past yr, but one thing that has been the overarching theme is whether or not startups are in a position to get into profitability — or have a transparent path to getting there, at the least. That led Alex to investigate on TC+ whether software startups are literally good businesses.

Speaking of excellent businesses — it’s pretty universally understood that “Shark Tank” is entertainment and that there’s a round of due diligence that happens after the cameras stop rolling. But Manish reports that “Shark Tank India” investors fall short on pledges, which is grumpificating (yes, that’s definitely a word) some participants of the show.

TechCrunch+ spoke to a founder who decided to switch himself as CEO. It was a splendidly frank and vulnerable conversation. You must read it. Although I’m biased — I wrote the piece — it’s a story that’s rarely told about startups, and yet it’s remarkably common.

There’s been some fun exits up to now week. Here’s a smattering of ’em.

A quick exit: Amanda reports that Passes acquired Fanhouse, after what appears to have been about 24 hours’ value of negotiations, but some creators are apprehensive in regards to the move.

Milking it: Christine reports that infant formula company Bobbie raised $70 million, spending a piece of the cash to accumulate its competitor Nature’s One.

Milking it some more: It’s rarely that a enterprise capital firm gets to back a startup again after it has exited — especially one which remains to be a personal company; nonetheless, that’s what happened with Performance Livestock Analytics (PLA) this week.

Top reads on TechCrunch this week

Pew, pew, pew: Aria met the 19-year-old MIT dropout who’s working on “replacing gunpowder” for the defense industry.

Not a fan, then: Amanda reports that after about two and a half years as CEO, Ami Gan is leaving OnlyFans. Chief strategy and operations officer Keily Blair will take over as CEO. 

I wix you’ll just construct me a web site already: Kyle writes that Wix’s AI Site Generator tool, announced today, will let users describe their intent and generate a web site complete with a homepage, inner pages, and text and pictures — in addition to business-specific sections for events, bookings and more.

And at last, I attempted to purchase an article on TechCrunch. I do know, I write for TechCrunch, in order that was a fairly weird thing to do, but I spent $800 on baiting some scammers. What I didn’t expect was to stumble right into a Fiverr-powered rat’s nest of organized crime and scoundrels impersonating my colleagues.



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