Dall-E the AI Artist
Short week for us here in the Great White North. Made any Spring plans yet? We’re mixed here at ABD: some are globetrotting, others enjoying the cool patio backyard.
This week we have the debut of OpenAI’s Dall-E 2; Game Engines gearing up; and, Occupy Etsy movement.
Don’t forget Nominations for our second cohort are ongoing for our Expert Circle!
Analytics, Digital, Design In Action
OpenAI, the Elon Musk-backed AI research company, has been at the forefront of using creative endeavors to further AI research. Its AI has defeated multi-millionaire gaming champions. Last year it has unveiled its next foray: a remarkable new AI model called DALL-E (a combination of WALL-E and Dali), capable of drawing nearly anything and in nearly any style.
DALL-E 2 is now out and it’s going to give Dali and the artists at Pixar a run for their paintbrushes. DALL-E is able to take quite complex prompts, such as “Teddy bears shopping for groceries in the style of ukiyo.” It would gladly comply, and out of hundreds of outputs find the most likely to meet the user’s standards. We suggest you try it.
While currently in limited trial mode, DALL-E opens up a lot of exciting applications, as well as risks, particularly in mass production of fake images. In time, DALL-E could become an API, similar to some of OpenAI’s products.
Game Engines and Meta’s Monetization
Fortnite-maker Epic Games announced today that it has raised USD2Bn in funding from Sony and Kirkbi, the parent company of the Lego Group, with both companies investing USD1Bn each. This latest funding round values Epic at USD31Bn. Epic says the new funding will go toward its efforts to build its kid-friendly metaverse and will also support its continued growth.
On the other side of the world, Cocos Technologies, a China-based game engine provider that has been around since 2010, just announced it has picked up USD50Mn in a Series B funding round in a bid to work on development and move beyond games.
The Cocos engine covers all market categories and is widely used and recognized worldwide. China’s mobile game market share accounts for 40%, and the global mobile game market share accounts for 30%. Tencent, NetEase, Nintendo, Ubisoft, and other major game developers have used the Cocos engine to develop and launch their game products.
Meanwhile, Horizon Worlds, Meta’s social virtual reality app, is testing a feature that will let creators sell virtual items and effects within their worlds. This is currently available to a small group of creators, but it’s an important step in Meta’s long game of building the foundation of virtual reality social networking.
Meta is also beginning to test a Horizon Worlds Creator Bonus program for participants in the US. Meta has previously launched these kinds of programs on Instagram, where Meta is pushing its TikTok competitor Reels. This was described as an expansion of Meta’s USD10Mn Horizon Creators Fund, deployed in October.
More than 14,000 Etsy sellers are going on strike as the platform increases its transaction fees from 5% to 6.5%. Kristi Cassidy, an organizer of the strike, concedes that 14,000 sellers isn’t a huge percentage of the marketplace’s 5.3Mn active sellers, but she says, “It’s also quite a bit for just people trying to spread a movement online with no advertising. The amount of support we have gotten when we put this out into the world… people are sharing, it’s spreading entirely organically.”
“Thanks to Offsite Ads, Etsy fees are an unpredictable expense that can take more than 20% of each transaction. We have no control over how these ads are administered, or how much of our money is spent,” Cassidy wrote in the petition.
Meanwhile, Etsy CEO Josh Silverman explained the increase in a message to sellers, saying that this cut of sales will help Etsy invest in marketing, grow its support team by 20% and continue investing in security. However, sellers participating in the Etsy strike have other demands. They want Etsy to cancel the fee increase, crack down on resellers who are peddling mass-produced goods and end the star seller program.
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