Happy new year!
It has been a lovely summer so far here in Auckland. There are some new emerging technologies that I have come across the past few weeks which excite me both as a teacher and researcher.
Comma.ai is a fully FOSS Level 2 autonomous driving startup based in San Diego, founded by George Hotz (also known as geohot, a hacker and computer scientist whose work I have admired since he first jailbroke the iPhone in 2007). They are now selling a device, the Comma Two, which can be installed on most mainstream Toyotas, Hondas, Hyundais etc to enable full Level 2 autonomous driving. If Tesla and their Autopilot software is iOS, then Comma and their implementation (called “Openpilot”) is Android. The next car I purchase will be one that I know is compatible with Comma, and I look forward to seeing how this software develops this year.
DALL E by OpenAI
This is a recent neural network developed by OpenAI that creates images from text captions, done in completely natural English. For example, typing the text prompt “an armchair in the shape of an avocado” will generate an image of a chair as such. It is an extension of their breakthrough autoregressive language model GPT-3. As a visual art teacher, I have no idea what this potentially means for the creation of art and where the artist stands in a situation like this, but I am still looking forward to embracing this technology and seeing how it can help us develop long-term.
Simula is a VR window manager that is built on top of the Godot Engine, programmed in Haskell and developed by George Singer. While I don’t currently have a VR headset that I can use to test this, I think that the notion of spatial computing is an exciting one (especially in cases of limited physical space that might inhibit the use of multiple monitors).