Leaving Plato’s Cave: Why AI Could Be Just What Spatial Computing Needs

By Juan Fajardo Juan Fajardo has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on March 19, 2024

We need spatial computing. Whether you were born in the 1950s and gazed for years at green monochrome displays, or a digital native who swiped through touch screens before being able to read, digital experiences have likely remained pretty rigid for you in terms of true interactibility. 

Sure, the capabilities of computers and digital devices have grown exponentially over the years, bringing whole new ways to access information, create, collaborate, and communicate. However, traditional systems have also limited our ability to interact with digital realms in a truly natural, intuitive way.

While it is true that spatial computing technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) have been around for years now, they have only started to become truly mainstream. The world of spatial computing has long been dominated by gaming VR headsets like the Oculus Rift or Meta Quest, despite these not being practical for everyday use or truly accessible on a wider scale.

The Apple Vision Pro recently triumphed in a way that previous special computing devices could not. Despite being considered a “technical marvel” early on, many wondered if there would even be a demand for it. Apple proved doubters wrong by selling over 200,000 units in the first 2 weeks of its presale.

The idea of making a portable, flexible, and mainstream version of the gaming VR headsets of old is not new. Google tried to make its own version of the Apple Vision Pro back in 2014, an 

experiment that failed in all the ways that the Apple Vision Pro didn’t. While more portable and accessible than the Apple Vision Pro, Google Glass had several technical shortcomings.

 While it is still too early to tell if the Apple Vision Pro will really have the cultural impact the company expects it to have, its effect in the tech industry and public perception is unquestionable. The device has made it clear once again that spatial computing has the potential to change every aspect of daily life… as long as you have the money for it.

The truth is that while the Apple Vision Pro might be a technical and design marvel, it faces many of the same challenges that Oculus did back when it launched. The launch price of both devices is just too high for most developers and users to justify investing in them. This means they are likely to remain limited to a smaller audience and few companies for the time being.

While this might sound like bad news for fans of the metaverse and other spatial computing utopias, they are actually not. The Apple Vision Pro has proved that technology is at a point where a truly wearable device can have enough computing power to exist. This means the problem is now reduced to make it truly affordable to make it mainstream.

This is where artificial intelligence (AI) comes in. Love it or hate it, the latest advancement in AI has the potential to make spatial computing devices like the Apple VisionPro much more powerful and accessible. Not only can AI streamline both the design and manufacturing process, create experiences, and boost innovation, but it can also greatly improve performance by going beyond software optimization

OpenAI’s Sam Altman recently announced his plans to raise over $7 trillion to produce chips that experts believe could change the semiconductor industry forever. Intel is already using AI to help develop its new generation of processors. Nvidia is using AI to evaluate how to better place transistors to greatly improve performance and power efficiency. 

With over 56 years of combined experience, Mod Tech Labs founder Alex Porter, Playbook co-founder Skylar Thomas, and Texas Immersive Institute founding director Erin Reilly have been following and shaping the development of spatial computing. They sat with FBRC.ai co-founder Rachel Joy Victor to discuss the role that AI will play in shaping the future of spatial computing and bringing it to the mainstream. 

ArkRunr CEO Lucas Wilson also took on the stage to discuss how spatial computing technologies will change how artists and other creatives design immersive experiences that add dimensions to traditional performances. As a Berklee College of Music graduate and veteran of the spatial computing industry, Wilson has become one of the leaders in exploring the different faces of spatial computing, pioneering many of the approaches that have now become the norm in the industry.

The panel was a must-see for anyone who wonders what the future of spatial computing and entertainment will look like and what it will take to get it there. If you were unable to attend this year’s edition of Lively & Grit Daily House during SXSW, however, you will be able to see the whole panel discussion in the videos below.

 

By Juan Fajardo Juan Fajardo has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Juan Fajardo is a News Desk Editor at Grit Daily. He is a software developer, tech and blockchain enthusiast, and writer, areas in which he has contributed to several projects. A jack of all trades, he was born in Bogota, Colombia but currently lives in Argentina after having traveled extensively. Always with a new interest in mind and a passion for entrepreneurship, Juan is a news desk editor at Grit Daily where it covers everything related to the startup world.

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