top of page



Cinema & AI

Your weekly CogX newsletter on AI and content creation
The week's developments on the intersection of AI and creative content | 21.05.24

If you’re enjoying this briefing, sign up here — and share it with a friend. Reading time: ~3 minutes

This week the world is urging Altman to watch the full movie ‘Her’, as new state-of-the-art tool GPT-4o takes eery inspiration (so much so that Scarlett Johansson is speaking out) without heeding any of the warning. Meanwhile, Hollywood is sneaking AI into post-production undetected as adoption fears and backlash run rampant. Are we at the brink of a filmmaking revolution, or a cautionary tale?...

Plus, AI mind reading seems to be the new trend, with AI x fMRI tech turning thoughts into images, and researchers translating EEG signals into high quality and complex tunes.

We cover these stories, plus Sony’s AI opt-out, how Vue Cinemas are using AI, and an exclusive interview with Annie Eaton, CEO of Futurus, into the transformative potential of XR in arts and entertainment… keep reading for a short excerpt, or read the full piece here on the CogX Blog.

— Charlie and the Research and Intelligence Team

PS. You are now able to sign up for the super early bird offer (75% off) to the CogX AI Summit in London on October 7th here.

Immersive Futures: Annie Eaton on the Cutting Edge of XR Technology

Guest Contributor: Annie Eaton

1. What drew you to XR? 

I was drawn to the field of XR after experiencing it first-hand over a decade ago. This was at a time when not many people had headsets – the most common one to encounter was the Oculus DK1, the most successful Kickstarter at the time. One of my coworkers owned this headset and let me try it out one day. That day my life changed. While it was slightly nauseating, and the graphics weren’t great, I felt immersed in this new world, and it was unlike any form of media I had ever experienced before. That word, experience, is the key in hooking people with XR technology. With extended reality, you really do have to see it to believe it. 

2. Which breakthroughs do you expect to happen in the next year in the space?

Where we are as an industry today is miles ahead of that first virtual reality headset I tried. On some recently released headsets you can’t even see the pixels. Tracking is smooth, devices aren’t as heavy, and tethering to a computer with a clunky cord isn’t required for most head mounted displays. I’m hopeful that over the next year we’ll get more power in a smaller form factor. Seeing competition in the hardware market is encouraging as with each new release the devices get lighter, with better visuals and processing capacity. Most newer headsets also have full colour passthrough allowing the user to see their surroundings through a camera feed from the outside. Devices like the Apple Vision Pro, Meta Quest 3, and PICO 4E have great passthrough. The idea of this passthrough functionality is to allow mixed reality content to blend the physical world and digital content into one seamless experience. Experiences that leverage this functionality are going to rise in popularity over the next year. Apps that previously only supported virtual reality will release updates to blend worlds. 

3. How do you envision the convergence of XR with AI in the future? What about in the creative industries?

The bottleneck of extended reality progress is in the content. XR content is time-consuming and expensive to produce. Every 3D model must be individually crafted (or licensed and modified) and placed; each interaction is set up on a per object basis. While there are AI tools already in the production pipeline that help, such as AI voice overs, video generated motion capture, and generated skyboxes, there haven’t been as many ready to use reliable tools for professionals to leverage in their work. Most AI generated 3D models are not optimised to work with mobile virtual reality. Many of the AI optimization tools don’t output quality that my team can use for client work. 

Once tools like these become more reliable, the industry will be able to output content at the speed necessary for wide scale adoption. XR production is still a specialised field, so if there are tools that can speed up the production process in a way that delivers good quality results, we’ll be off to the races! These tools will also lower the barrier of entry for talent from other adjacent creative industries such as gaming, film, and television to enter the industry.

There will still need to be the human element of oversight due to the impact of XR experiences on the mind. Especially with virtual reality, the user feels like they are in that world or in the story being presented in front of them. If content isn’t reviewed and approved by a person (especially for educational content), I worry that misinformation could be perceived as fact in the most immersive platform possible.

4. The gamer community is largely online, do you think XR will bring them together, or further apart? If the latter, how do we avoid it?

I’m hopeful that XR will bring the gaming community together with more immersive ways of communicating. While you’re still leveraging an avatar, when in a virtual space, in VR, your avatar has all the mannerisms, head and hand movements that you do. With devices like the Apple Vision Pro and PICO 4E, face tracking is possible from within the headset. It’ll be both harder to bully someone if you’re face to face, and also easier to create a genuine connection with the people you’re playing with from all across the world. 

Now with this “closeness” and realism, there also does create the risk of invading others’ personal boundaries. Luckily, most platforms that support multiplayer include a “personal bubble” setting where people who get too spatially close to you in a virtual reality experience disappear. This reduces the uncomfortable feeling of someone invading your personal space (which can still happen in VR just as well as it can in the physical world). I implore anyone looking to get into the field of XR to consider these social aspects of design when building their products. Better social XR will help the industry grow!

… want to keep reading? Check out the full interview on the CogX Blog.

Share your expertise! Want to be a guest contributor in our next issue? drop us a line at: 

Cinema and Industry

🎬A message to tech overlords: please watch the full movie. OpenAI's state-of-the-art GPT-4o features human-like conversational abilities inspired by the film "Her" (so inspired that Scarlett Johannson is calling them out for unauthorised use of her likeness). Critics urge developers to heed the nuanced messages in sci-fi films to avoid unintended consequences.

🎥Everyone is using AI, they’re just too scared to admit it. Recent controversies with "Late Night With the Devil" and "Civil War" over their use of AI graphics sparked an industry rift. Despite fears and backlash, Hollywood has quietly embraced the tech in production.

🚫Sony opts out of all AI training, warning 700+ AI companies and streaming platforms against the unauthorised use of its content. Representing artists like Billy Joel and Doja Cat, the label emphasised that unauthorised AI use denies artists control and compensation.

🎭Goofy AI comedy "The Second Act" opened the Cannes Film Festival, directed by Quentin Dupieux. The film stars Léa Seydoux and Raphaël Quenard in a meta-comedy about actors making the first AI-directed movie — a refreshing start to the festival. 

Arts and Entertainment

🎶Google DeepMind and YouTube show off 'Music AI Sandbox' at the I/O conference. The AI tool suite lets users input text prompts including sounds to avoid, and paste lyrics and chords. The tool can also extend and accompany music, offering suggestions and variations.

🧠This AI art generator can read your mind: French art collective Obvious has developed a tool that uses fMRI tech to visually reconstruct thoughts and imaginations based on brain activity. By analysing neural patterns, the AI generates images with near-perfect accuracy. 

🎵Researchers can decode music from brain waves. The method translates raw EEG signals into high-quality, complex music, achieving impressive accuracy and quality in reconstructing naturalistic music from brainwave patterns. 

🔍Does generative AI signal the end of SEO? AI’s instant, streamlined answers could render traditional practices obsolete. Companies like Google and Microsoft are incorporating the tech to improve user experience, urging businesses to adapt.

In case you missed it

Matt Wolfe discusses the true state of AI music  — it’s much better than you think:

✍️ Enjoying this newsletter?  Subscribe to our free weekly briefings on Preparing for AI, Cinema & AI, The Race to Net Zero, AI & DeepTech and The Future of Work.

🚀 You are now able to sign up for the super early bird offer (75% off) to the CogX AI Summit in London on October 7th here.

bottom of page