Love and AI

Will an AI ever learn to love? How does that question make you feel? Silly? Embarrassed? Stupid? Love is the source of our greatest power but, paradoxically, is the thing that makes us feel most vulnerable, to the point that most of us avoid talking about it at all. We literally die without it when we’re infants, and we organize our adulthoods around accounting for … Continue reading Love and AI

Compete Like Artists, Not Like Businesses

john-lennon-paul-mccartney
These guys. How I love them.

One of my favorite stories about the Beatles is about how John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.” It was right before the band recorded the monument to the mundane and sublime that is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Having established themselves as the world’s greatest pop song writing duo, Lennon and McCartney kept pushing each other to go further. Paul delivered “Penny Lane,” which vividly imagines a neighborhood from his childhood, teeming with absurd characters and inside jokes. The song is both epic and buoyant, grand in scope and quotidian in detail, a  masterpiece. John must have felt both impressed and challenged, as he turned around and delivered “Strawberry Fields Forever,” a song equally rooted in the past, but committed to the interior landscapes of childhood, shot through with quantum states of self-doubt and moments of salubrious transcendence. The music itself is the result of much studio wizardry, including backwards tracks and the distinctive sounds of a new instrument called the Mellotron, whose cooing, tape-loop notes open the track.

In a Beatles biography I read a long time ago and whose title escapes me (sorry), it was observed that Lennon and McCartney competed with each other like someone climbing the rungs of a ladder. First one would advance, then the other. They spent their career being inspired by each other and then besting each other. This, to me, seems like a good metaphor for what’s happening in Seattle’s virtual and augmented reality industry. Continue reading “Compete Like Artists, Not Like Businesses”

An Open Letter to all the VR Pioneers Who are Bootstrapping, Scraping by, and Operating in the Red at the Moment

Dear VR Pioneer, Remember that moment when you knew. Maybe it was when you put on a Vive headset the first time and experienced your first VR game. Maybe somebody showed you a 360 panoramic photo in a Google cardboard. Or maybe a hologram hovering in front of your face made you reach out your hand, as if you could actually touch it. You knew … Continue reading An Open Letter to all the VR Pioneers Who are Bootstrapping, Scraping by, and Operating in the Red at the Moment