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Meet the people behind Engadget's $500,000 immersive art grant

Engadget

Just over a month ago, I announced the Engadget Alternate Realities grant program, an initiative aimed at funding art projects that embrace new media and immersive technologies. With just two weeks left until our submission deadline (June 30th, 2017), I wanted to give you a little more information about the project and the people who helped shape it. Companies like HTC, Sony, Microsoft and Google are fundamentally altering the way we experience the world through AR, VR and AI. Meanwhile, artists, musicians, filmmakers and developers are pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling, embracing those technologies to explore world's beyond our own. Engadget wanted to shed a light on that work, so we reached out to some of the people making that work possible, and, with their input, created the Engadget Alternate Realities grant program.


Tribeca Film Fest off-shoot will focus on video games

Mashable

An ever-growing annual flirtation between New York's Tribeca Film Festival and interactive entertainment has finally boiled over into a standalone event. On April 28 and 29, the annual film fest will partner with Kill Screen for the new Tribeca Games Festival. The two-day event will bring together some of the biggest creative and cultural leaders in video games for a series of talks, panels and peeks behind the scenes. SEE ALSO: No one can hide from this $150 'Overwatch' Widowmaker statue Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima will deliver one of three keynote "conversations," along with BioShock creator Ken Levine and Remedy Entertainment's Sam Lake, creator of Max Payne, Alan Wake and Quantum Break. There's an easy-to-spot theme here: these are all master storytellers.


As Hollywood taps into A.I., what will you build with IBM Watson? - Watson

#artificialintelligence

Hollywood is beginning to recast artificial intelligence from being the lead character in movies to becoming the leading technology driving the industry. Producers and directors alike are discovering the power of a new kind of AI assistant: IBM Watson, the cognitive computing system that is enhancing the work of the human imagination and giving artists, filmmakers, and other creative minds the tools to uncover new ways of thinking and problem-solving. Imagine the ultimate "super-assistant" on the set to help make hundreds of decisions and take care of mundane tasks that free you up to concentrate on making the picture a box office success. IBM Watson can do this by pushing the boundaries of what producers and directors can create on the silver screen. It can analyze volumes of data -- think photos, online content, scripts, video -- and then recognize, inform and project from the patterns it identifies.


Holly Herndon Releases AI Deepfake Tool That Lets Others Make Music With Her Voice

#artificialintelligence

Holly Herndon has released a new artificial intelligence tool -- which the composer is also referring to as her "digital twin" -- called "Holly " that allows users to upload any polyphonic audio and receive a new version of that music sung in Herndon's own voice. Herndon has been working extensively at the intersection of music and AI technology over the past several years (she previously earned a Ph.D. at Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics). In 2019, she released an album, Proto, which she made with the help of a neural network she developed named Spawn. While Herndon "grew" Spawn by exposing it to her own voice, the neural network ultimately created its own sounds instead of mimicking Herndon's voice like Holly . Herndon released and developed Holly in collaboration with Never Before Heard Sounds.


Ava DuVernay explains how streaming services democratized film

Mashable

Ava DuVernay knows the power of stories. Her Academy Award–nominated documentary 13th exposed the fundamental injustice of mass incarceration in the United States, her Emmy-nominated Netflix series When They See Us reframed the narrative for the unjustly convicted men known as the Central Park Five, and the continued breadth of her work stands as proof of her dedication to film as a world-changing medium. DuVernay is also the spokeswoman and "champion" of Lenovo New Realities, a film series that used Lenovo's 360-degree Virtual Reality cameras and headsets to allow viewers a first-person look at the lives of young woman who have found a way to use technology to change their life and communities. These women include Noi, a Japanese student who derives inspiration for robotics from her dozens of pets, to Ashwini, an Indian daughter of farmers who went from having zero access to technology to pursuing her education and becoming the only woman in the series to shoot her New Realities video without a backup crew. Other subjects have created job training apps for African migrants to Italy, founded educational workshops for underprivileged students in Mexico, and helped increase tech literacy among Ivorian communities in France.