The Next Billion Cars – Autonomous Vehicles: Learning to Crawl

In 2016, Telsa made a video touting their ‘self-driving’ software – faked. Every major manufacturer promised self-driving cars by 2021 – none are even close. Will the nirvana of driverless cars ever come – or will it remain a temping mirage, forever just over the horizon? Mark is joined by co-host Sally Dominguez and Special Correspondent Drew Smith as we speak to GIO boffin Steve Cratchley, and reconnect with Ken Goldberg – does Ken still believe autonomous vehicles are a decade or more away? Are we advancing toward autonomy – or stalled in the high-speed lane?

Here’s the deeply disturbing footage of the 8-car pileup on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge on Thanksgiving Day – possibly due to a failure in a Tesla’s self-driving feature.

A Tesla engineer testifies that the firm’s 2016 video touting its self-driving software was faked. That led to Tesla warning its investors that it’s being investigated by the US Justice Department.

Mercedes is the first car maker in the US cleared for ‘Level 3’ autonomy – in Nevada.

And back in 2022, Mercedes told the press it would be taking full legal responsibility for its driver assistance features…

And of course y’all should be listening to Drew’s other podcast, “Looking Out“…

Thanks to series sponsors GIO and BMW Electromobility.

Episode 6.25 What’s happening to the way we work?

Atlassian’s ‘work futurist’ Dom Price and resilience expert Sally Dominguez guide us through a new world of work, post-pandemic. Then we speak with two leaders at the coalface, both finding unique paths to help their staff thrive in a world of work that looks nothing like what any of us have ever known.

Brought to you by Oracle.

Read the paper in Nature that explores how videoconferencing wrecks group creativity.

A Brief History of the Metaverse: VIRTUALLY EVERYONE

In the 2010s, VR roared back into life with Oculus, Vive, WebGL and Hololens. Minecraft, Roblox and Fortnite gave millions a deep drink of the potential of the Metaverse. Facebook – renamed Meta – bet the house on the Metaverse. Where is the Metaverse headed? We hear insights from forty years of experts.

Watch “3 Dreams of Black”, the amazing interactive music video, created in WebGL. (Requires Google Chrome.)

Read “Nonny de la Peña and the power of Immersive Storytelling”

Is Meta Horizons a success? Many recent reports indicate otherwise.

Here’s Tony’s closing poem, “The Mirror”.

A Brief History of the Metaverse: Game On! And on and on and on…

In episode five, co-hosts Tony Parisi and Mark Pesce explore the first decade of the Millennium, when the Metaverse blossomed into the foundation for a new generation of video games such as ‘Ultima Online’, and big data ‘digital twins’ like Google Earth. It’s “Game On!” for Tony and Mark – and on and on and on and on…

Have a play with Mark’s ‘WebEarth‘ – a real-time 3D model of the world, up and running 25 years after he created it…

Or take a tour of the Web-based version of Google Earth – created, in part, by Avi Bar-Zeev.

Read the paper Ken Birdwell wrote about the creation of Valve’s Half-Life

Here’s T_Vision – ART+COM’s Earth visualisation that so inspired Mark in 1995:

A Brief History of the Metaverse: Days of our Second Lives

In the second half of the 1990s, VRML became the platform of choice for ‘virtual worlds’ filled with ‘avatars’ – digital representations of real people. The Web goes big – and stays big – yet VRML crashes back to Earth, as Second Life becomes the last best hope for the Metaverse. It’s all melodrama, all the time, in ‘Days of our Second Lives’!

Here’s a 1995 video interview with Mark about VRML.
Tony’s Intervista Software had a very 1997 website. Check it out here.
Have a play with Jan Mallis’ Floops – an early VRML animation – here!
Watch the five episodes of ‘Bliss.com’ Jan and Mark created — in your web browser, here.
VRML: The LSD of the Internet” from the May 1996 Red Herring.
Mark Jeffrey co-created The Palace – a 2D avatar chat. It’s still going, here!
Christopher Caen co-founded OnLive – a 3D chat with audio streaming. He also has an amazing/hilarious Substack, “A Long Time Ago in a Valley Far, Far Away”, telling the tale here.
And Philip Rosedale created Second Life still going strong!

A Brief History of the Metaverse: DIY Metaverse

Tony and Mark – supported by a global community of technologists, enthusiasts and dreamers – brought 3D to the brand-new Web with VRML. This episode features Owen Rowley, Neil Redding, Linda Jacobson, Brian Behlendorf, John McCrea, Coco Conn — and Neal Stephenson.

Read the interview with Jaron Lanier in MONDO 2000 issue 2 that changed Mark’s life.

Homebrew VR“, written by Linda Jacobson, in WIRED magazine, issue 1.

Use Windows? Have a play with ‘Labyrinth’, the world’s first 3D Web browser, here. You can explore the ‘Cyberbanana’ – and ‘Daniel’s Room’, the first public demonstration of VRML, for SIGKIDS 1994.

“Coco’s Channel” a WIRED article about Coco Conn’s work creating SIGKIDS. Read it here.

Read ‘Cyberspace’, the paper describing VRML that Mark presented at the First International Conference on the World Wide Web.

Read the VRML 1.0 spec here.

A gallery of wonderful images from VERGE (thanks to Linda Jacobson for these!)

At the end of the episode, Neal Stephenson recounts the story of a panel he sat through – which inspired him to write Snow Crash. Read it here

A Brief History of the Metaverse: Military Metaverse

In our second episode, co-hosts Mark Pesce and Tony Parisi discover that the technology behind the Metaverse has its origins in the darkest days of the Cold War. This ‘Military Metaverse’ gave birth to the Internet, transforming warfare – and, a generation later, online gaming. Dr. Michael Zyda explains how he forged the connection between deep military tech – SIMNET – and the latest online games.

JCR Licklider – “Lick” to his friends and colleagues – is little-known but absolutely an essential figure in the development of modern computing.

Ivan Sutherland is probably the most influential computer scientist, full stop.

Here’s a video of Ivan Sutherland giving a demo of ‘Sketchpad’ the first interactive computer drawing program.

Bob Taylor is largely unknown outside the small community of individuals involved with the early Internet – but his work is profoundly influential.

Here’s an interview with Bob Taylor, talking about the origins of the Internet

Here’s an excellent documentary on the recreation of the “Battle of 73 Easting” – the first tank battle captured in real-time, then simulated endlessly using SIMNET.

A Brief History of the Metaverse: What is the Metaverse?

NEW SERIES! In episode one, Mark and co-host Tony Parisi travel back more than a century to uncover the roots of the Metaverse. From pioneers Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer, creators of “Habitat”, the first massively multiplayer online environment, we learn the Metaverse has never been about technology – but always about people.

Have a read through Tony Parisi’s “The Seven Rules of the Metaverse” here.
Read E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” here.
Listen to William Gibson reading an abridged version of Neuromancer here.
Wondering what Lucasfilm’s Habitat looked like? Watch the promo video here.
Read Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer’s amazing, prescient paper, “The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat” here.
Want to play Habitat? You can – in your web browser. Just go here.

Big thanks to the wonderful folks who voiced those historical evocations of Metaverse: Genevieve Bell, Mark Jeffrey, Paul Godwin and David Baxter.

6.18 TNBS Briefing: Fool Me Once

A clever bit of AI software transforms my voice into a silky-smooth ‘Lisa’ – almost an archetypal radio host. In the near future we’ll be able to make ourselves sound – and look – like anyone else. How will we know if we’re being fooled?

Big thanks to Twitter user @nearcyan – who offered me a demo of https://koe.ai – have a play with it yourself!

Episode 6.17 In the Ops Room with Palmer Luckey

In this live interview with Oculus and Anduril founder Palmer Luckey – joined by Anduril Chief Engineer Shane Arnott – we look at the future of defense, geopolitics, and Australia’s future in a transformed Indo-Pacific region. Have we shifted toward a defense-driven future? Recorded at the ArtHouse Hotel, Sydney, 18 August 2022. (Photo credit: Mr Snow)

Episode 6.16 How to be a Futurist

Three big transformations – one that’s has already happened (the Web), one happening now (augmented reality), and one about to happen – illuminate the path (and pitfalls) for those anyone who wants to articulate the future. Listen, and learn how to be your own futurist!

Big thanks to the folks at Quantium for allowing me to share this in-house talk I gave to staffers in August 2022.

Episode 6.15 Palmer Luckey Goes to War

At the age of 19, Palmer Luckey founded Oculus, bringing a comatose VR industry back to life. Will he to do the same for defense with his new startup, Anduril – and has he solved Australia’s submarine problem? A wide-ranging interview covering everything from the search for the ‘ultimate’ gaming display to the future of warfare.

Rebooting the Arsenal of Democracy” is Anduril’s own statement about what they’re about.

And an article about the XL-AUV project Anduril is doing with the ADF.

Palmer Luckey is speaking in Sydney on the 18th of August, 2022 – book your tickets here.