ISPR Presence News

Category Archives: Presence in the News

News stories explicitly or implicitly related to presence from a wide variety of sources

Morehouse College class will teach Black history in the metaverse

[This NBC News story describes how and why Morehouse College Professor Ovell Hamilton has created a unique course on Black history that will be taught next spring entirely via virtual reality, taking students to key places and events using 3D simulations and avatars designed to evoke spatial and social presence and enhance learning. See the original version of the story for five more images and a short video.  –Matthew]

[Image: Students at Morehouse College are able to experience a virtual slave ship through virtual reality technology. Credit: Morehouse College]

Morehouse College class will teach Black history in the metaverse

Students have toured the Underground Railroad, a slave ship and other artifacts using virtual reality technology.

By Claretta Bellamy
November 28, 2022

This spring, Ovell Hamilton, a professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, will guide students through a first-of-its-kind course in which Black history is taught entirely through the metaverse, a virtual 3D space where people can interact with one another using avatars.… read more. “Morehouse College class will teach Black history in the metaverse”

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AI being used to create realistic portraits of celebrities from past and into future

[The brief story below from My Modern Net describes a project by Istanbul lawyer and photographer Alper Yesiltas in which he uses AI and other software to create realistic images of what celebrities who died years ago would look like today, “brought back to life as if nothing happened.” See the original story for the ten images. His most recent project, which Yesiltas presents in a Bored Panda post, is called “Thisness” (“[t]he quality in a thing of being here and now or such as it is”) and features 17 images that address the question “What would some iconic people look like if they lived in our time instead of living in theirs?” See also Tommy Player’s “Time Travel To The Future (2027): Photoshopped Actors” in another Bored Panda post. Moving from images to sounds, coverage of Yesiltas’ work in Consequence adds this:

“This isn’t the first time AI has been used in relation to [Curt] Cobain and [Jimi] Hendrix.… read more. “AI being used to create realistic portraits of celebrities from past and into future”

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Ultimate presence: How to test if we’re living in a computer simulation

[In this story from The Conversation a physicist explains some of the current arguments and evidence for the idea that all of our experience is the result of the ultimate form of presence – that the universe itself “is a computer simulation, with someone (perhaps an advanced alien species) fine-tuning the conditions.” The author argues that we should take the possibility seriously and describes new efforts to prove or disprove it; whether that happens or not, our collective fascination with the idea is entirely consistent with the fact that we live in an era when our technologies increasingly provide convincing illusions. –Matthew]

How to test if we’re living in a computer simulation

By Melvin M. Vopson, Senior Lecturer in Physics, University of Portsmouth
November 21, 2022

Physicists have long struggled to explain why the universe started out with conditions suitable for life to evolve.… read more. “Ultimate presence: How to test if we’re living in a computer simulation”

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Cornell students visit virtual world to learn protein research technique

[This story about another beneficial application of presence experiences comes from the Cornell Chronicle; note the involvement of our colleague Andrea Stevenson Won. See the original version for a second image. –Matthew]

[Image: Kim Benowski, left, a staff member from Cornell’s Center for Teaching Innovation, helps a student use a VR headset as she learns a complicated microscope technique in a molecular biology and genetics class. Credit: Sreang Hok/Cornell University]

Students visit virtual world to learn research technique

By Kathy Hovis, a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences
November 22, 2022

Safely and effectively preparing a sample for cryo-electron microscopy involves a series of precise steps, resulting in specimens frozen at around minus 180 degrees Celsius. If done out of order or imprecisely, the scientist can obtain inaccurate results, ruin expensive equipment or even get hurt.

The technique isn’t often available to young researchers, but students in the Protein Structure and Function class recently had the chance to experience the process using virtual reality (VR) headsets, as part of a collaboration with Cornell’s Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI).… read more. “Cornell students visit virtual world to learn protein research technique”

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Emotional attachment to robots: Why does it happen, and does it matter?

[Without using the term, this story from Unite.ai examines (and provides links to other stories about) a range of potential causes and potential effects of our medium-as-social-actor presence responses to different types of robots. –Matthew]

Emotional Attachment to Robots: Why Does It Happen, and Does It Matter?

By Zac Amos
November 17, 2022

Humans have been designing robots for a long time, and with advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), they will eventually exceed expectations with their abilities. Though humans desire them for their practical uses, such as deliveries or industry, experiments prove people get attached much like they would a family pet.

How could people get emotionally attached to metal, and is it part of human nature? The insight from these queries will reveal a great deal about how individuals will interact with robots as they become more knowledgeable and capable of complex tasks and thoughts.… read more. “Emotional attachment to robots: Why does it happen, and does it matter?”

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Paper peepshows: How people experienced “virtual reality” in the 19th century

[Here’s a bit of interesting presence history from My Modern Met; see the original story for three videos and three more images, and follow the many links for more information and examples. –Matthew]

[Image: Circa 1830 French Peepshow Toy of the Tuileries via Etsy; see these and more views at TypePunchMatrix]

Paper Peepshows: How People Experienced “Virtual Reality” in the 19th Century

By Madyson DeJausserand
November 10, 2022

Today, virtual reality technology involves putting on some sort of headset that can transform the world around you, from creating an immersive experience out of the Mona Lisa to seeing wilderness from the perspective of wildlife animals. But did you know there were similar experiences in the 19th century that could transport you across the world? A popular Reddit post has recently introduced many to the inventive art form that kept audiences entertained for centuries, known as paper peepshows.read more. “Paper peepshows: How people experienced “virtual reality” in the 19th century”

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Man-sized teddy bear is the hunky companion that lets you cuddle all day long

[This short DesignTAXI story describes a new human-sized stuffed Teddy Bear created and marketed to evoke medium-as-social-actor presence. See the Loving Bear Puffy website for more information, many pictures, and testimonials including this one: “The first few days I felt a bit strange until I got used to his presence because he seems like a real person, but now I can’t imagine walking in and him not being home.” –Matthew]

[Image: Source: Loving Bear Puffy website]

Man-Sized Teddy Bear Is The Hunky Companion That Lets You Cuddle All Day Long

By Mikelle Leow
November 14, 2022

How often do you seek emotional support and a listening ear, without having your other half “fix” your problems for you? Well, forget the apps, because the companion for you might be here.

Loving Bear Puffy is like that dream partner who’s warm, supportive, snuggly, offers a sense of security, and is, erm, completely bearable.… read more. “Man-sized teddy bear is the hunky companion that lets you cuddle all day long”

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Why authorized deepfakes are becoming big for business

[As this story from VentureBeat reports, companies like Hour One and Synthesia are creating hundreds of thousands of “authorized deepfake” videos for thousands of businesses, which means encounters and interactions with digital “people” will become increasingly common.  –Matthew]

[Image: Source: GRIT Daily]

Why authorized deepfakes are becoming big for business

By Sharon Goldman
November 9, 2022

Natalie Monbiot, head of strategy at synthetic media company Hour One, dislikes the word “deepfakes.”

“Deepfake implies unauthorized use of synthetic media and generative artificial intelligence — we are authorized from the get-go,” she told VentureBeat.

She described the Tel Aviv- and New York-based Hour One as an AI company that has also “built a legal and ethical framework for how to engage with real people to generate their likeness in digital form.”

Authorized versus unauthorized. It’s an important delineation in an era when deepfakes, or synthetic media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness, has gotten a boatload of bad press — not surprisingly, given deepfakes’ longstanding connection to revenge porn and fake news.… read more. “Why authorized deepfakes are becoming big for business”

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How MSNBC used Unreal Engine and projection tech to bring election night to life

[Mashable reports on how MSNBC’s real-time graphics team developed technology that let them be the “first to seamlessly transition from real life space into a digital one on live television” during coverage of the recent U.S. midterm elections. Note especially the comments at the end about planned future uses of the technology. See the original story for several other pictures and a 1:56 minute video “sample of the Capitol illusion in action.”  –Matthew]

[Image: Screenshot from video in Mashable story]

How MSNBC used tech from ‘The Mandalorian’ to bring election night to life

Inside the beating, bustling, high-tech heart of 30 Rock.

By Elizabeth de Luna
November 11, 2022

It’s 6:55 on November 8th and on the 3rd floor of 30 Rockefeller Center, just beyond a silent sea of empty desks, is the beating heart of election night in America.… read more. “How MSNBC used Unreal Engine and projection tech to bring election night to life”

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Meta’s new finger tracking tech enables improved use of sign language in VR

[The continuing evolution of presence-evoking immersive technologies is enabling valuable use cases that enhance communication and users’ lives, as reported in this story from Futurism. See the original version for a different image, and for more details follow the link to the 14:28 minute video highlighted in the story. For more about Jenny and the Helping Hands community, see March 2022 coverage from Input.  –Matthew]

[Image: Source: Input]  

Sign Language in Virtual Reality Actually Looks Kinda Awesome

Meta’s new finger tracking tech is actually pretty impressive.

By Victor Tangermann
November 1, 2022

Virtual reality isn’t all about legless avatars and forgettable games.

Case in point, members of the deaf community are now taking advantage of modern headsets’ increasingly sophisticated hand tracking to use sign language in virtual reality.

It’s a compelling use case for the technology, allowing those who grew up with sign language as their first language, those who developed hearing problems later in life, and anyone else who speaks using gestures to communicate effortlessly inside virtual worlds.… read more. “Meta’s new finger tracking tech enables improved use of sign language in VR”

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