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A Glimpse into the Future of Immersive and Generative
AI at our latest “What’s Now UK” Summit

Steven Webb
Aug 8, 2023

Imagine a world where our primary interactions are in 3D and our apps are dynamic and personalised; where our physical and digital worlds are seamlessly connected, and we can simulate our future requirements in seconds.

We hosted our recent What’s Now UK Event where we explored the future of both Immersive technology and Generative AI and how the two intersect.

The panel for WNUK July 2023

With four excellent guest speakers from Nvidia, Snap, Disguise and Google we were able to cover artificial intelligence, immersive platforms, and the role of humans in this evolving scenario.

Mario Viviani, Nvidia’s Omniverse Developer Relations Lead, kicked off the event. He unravelled the concept of the Metaverse, clarifying that although the Metaverse is a widely-discussed term, its definition remains elusive. According to Nvidia, however, the Metaverse represents the internet’s 3D evolution, impacting sectors like entertainment, manufacturing, and scientific visualisation right now.

The role of the Digital Twin

Central to this interpretation is the concept of digital twins — virtual clones of real-world objects, achieved by connecting the physical world to the virtual world through computer vision, sensors, and controllers.

The importance Mario stressed that these digital twins needed millimetre accurate integrations, far surpassing video game quality physics. Mario explained the multitude of use cases for this for example:

  • BMW’s “Factory of the Future” replicated their entire factory pipeline in Omniverse, allowing operators to interact with virtual twins and run cost-effective simulations.
BMWs factory of the future

Mario envisages a future where generative AI and digital twins could revolutionise architecture, design, and simulation, drastically speeding up content creation and design processes. With Omniverse’s flexible platform, developers and creators can explore uncharted territories and bring their ideas to life in immersive virtual realities effortlessly.

In conclusion, Mario highlighted the transformative power of the Metaverse and its potential to revolutionise industries and redefine our interaction with the digital world.

Max Rivera Head of Global Partnerships at Snapchat

Next, we had Max Rivera, the Head of Global Partnerships at Snapchat, who gave a presentation on “The Augmented Future of Social Media,” which offered an exciting glimpse into the rapidly evolving world of social media. Drawing on existing products and tools that Snapchat already have Max showed how Augmented Reality (AR), could revolutionise social media interactions and how this augments our day-to-day lives.

Max Rivera explaining SnapChats approach to AI and AR

Snapchat uses AR and AI for several features like filters that detect and interact with faces, recognising objects in photos, and transforming images. They use machine learning to train their algorithms on millions of images, helping them to detect and understand different features, such as faces, eyebrows, or hair.

This has led to a transformation in the ways users interact with their cameras — not just for communication but also for entertainment, education, and even shopping. Examples included:

  1. Page detection of a math problem that is then scanned and solved
  2. Use of food ingredients at home to suggest recipes, and then help with shopping through product scanning.

Peter Kirkup, Global Solutions at Disguise

Next up was Peter Kirkup, Global Solutions Director at Disguise, a platform for creatives and technologists to imagine, create and deliver spectacular visual experiences. Peter’s talk on “Uncovering AI for Virtual Productions”. Peter highlighted how AI could play a pivotal role in the evolution of virtual productions, influencing content creation processes, and leading to new levels of immersive experiences.

This included explaining how AI-driven tools, like QubiBox, are democratising the motion production industry. They offer photorealistic outputs without the need for expensive equipment or specialised knowledge, they are lowering the entry barrier and providing opportunities for more creatives to engage with these technologies.

Sam Weeks, Customer Engineer at Google Cloud

The final keynote was by Sam Weeks, Customer Engineer at Google Cloud. Sam touched on a vital aspect of this digital transition: “Supporting and Protecting Humanity in a Virtual and AI-Powered World”. Which covered the ethics and the challenges of ensuring human safety and privacy in an increasingly digital and virtual world.

In the first part of his speech, Sam explained the profound impacts of innovative technologies like AI and blockchain on the world. While acknowledging their significant advantages, he also highlighted the challenges they pose.

Panel Discussion

The July 2023 WNUK Panel

We followed the discussion with a panel where we discussed:

Importance of thinking about the end user experience in emerging technologies, like the Metaverse or blockchain. Perhaps burnt from the experience of metaverse hype the audience wanted to know their thoughts if this was different. There was an emphasis on understanding the specific use case and problem you’re trying to solve before moving towards utilising buzzwords or trending technologies.

Ethical considerations surrounding AI, especially in terms of bias. There was a consensus that while bias in AI models is a massive issue, it is ultimately unavoidable due to the inherent bias in data. The responsibility falls on those involved in AI development to try to mitigate this bias as much as possible.

Importance of strong data privacy principles. The panelists argued that companies that prioritise trust and data protection will ultimately fare better as technology advances and privacy becomes more critical.

Role of younger generations in technology. They suggested that younger individuals might be more adept at navigating the downsides of technology because they’ve grown up immersed in it. This innate understanding might make them less susceptible to things like misinformation, but the panel agreed that institutions must still play a role in safeguarding against the potential downsides of technology, such as mental health impacts.

Spread of misinformation through AI. They likened this phenomenon to the spread of SEO-optimized junk on the internet, suggesting that the internet has seen similar issues with false or misleading content proliferating.

A scribed introduction explaining the evenings themes

Trade Show Talks

Alongside the insightful talks, attendees were treated to trade shows by industry innovators. Guy Gadney, Co-founder and CEO of Charisma, showcased the potential of AI in creating interactive storytelling experiences.

Guy Gadney of Charisma demonstrating the potential of AI

Sophie Thompson, CEO and Co-founder of VirtualSpeech, provided a glimpse into the integration of VR in communication training. And Abe Elwakili, Immersive Design Lead at Capgemini AIE, showcased the best of Capgemini’s own innovative ventures in immersive design.

If you’d like to to chat about what our Applied Innovation Exchange can do for you, please reach out at: hello@appliedinnovationexchange.com

Thanks for reading, and hopefully see you at the next WNUK!

Steven Webb

VP | UK Chief Technology & Innovation Officer at Capgemini
Steven is the UK Chief Technology Officer at Capgemini and part of the UK leadership team. He is an experienced technology leader and IT strategist who understands how to deliver strategic customer value, through innovation and transformation. Steven is responsible for leading Capgemini’s UK Software Engineering, Architecture and Innovation communities; making sure technology and innovation is at the heart of what we do as a business.