OpenAI’s movie mimicry

February 16th, 2024

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God bless holiday weekends. Hope you’re gonna make this weekend a good one. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. Random thought, doesn’t a 4 day work week often feel like more work when you get back to it? We’ll let you think on that one for a little bit.

In other news…Open AI does video now, the sneaker re-sale market is on the fritz, and California is mineral rich.

Top Trends

Google → Jennifer Lopez

Reddit → Rod Stewart

Spotify → “Teleharmonic”

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Courtesy of OpenAI

OpenAI generates lifelike videos

The Future. OpenAI is teasing a new text-to-video generating system called “Sora” — a tool that could put a lot of people out of work. It still has some kinks, but its existence may finally spur Hollywood studios (not just their talent) to prepare legal action against the AI industry for potential copyright infringement.

Movie mimicry
If you thought generative AI images were controversial, OpenAI’s new video generator is about to take things to a whole new level.

  • Sora, named after the Japanese word for “sky,” can generate minute-long videos that have the capability of looking close to true-to-life.

  • It’s not yet available to the public. Only a small group of academics and researchers have been given access to the tool to test it.

Like with ChatGPT and DALL-E, OpenAI is tightlipped about Sora’s training data but did tell NYT that it was trained on “both publicly available videos and videos that were licensed from copyright holders”… which is quite vague.

BTW, the potential to create digital misinformation is at an all-time high. OpenAI said that Sora’s videos will soon have metadata that labels them as AI, and they currently have a watermark… but the company admits that those may be hard to spot and can even be removed.

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The sneaker resale market goes on clearance

The Future. The sneaker resale market is in a tailspin because the value of their hottest shoes have dropped. While sneakerheads-turned-investors may not be able to box up the profits they once did during the height of COVID, the falling valuations may not be a phenomenon that brands themselves are too worried about… instead giving them an opportunity to redefine how they drive revenue through exclusivity.

Scarcity shock
More is not necessarily merrier when it comes to the sneaker resale market.

  • Demand for limited-edition Nikes, Air Jordans, and Adidas went into overdrive over the past decade, which led the companies to increase production.

  • But now there are too many of the once “rare” shoes, so their value has dropped, and resale prices for special Dunks and Sambas have crashed to, shudder, retail price levels.

  • This has sent shockwaves throughout the resale industry — large European platforms like Restocks and Kikikickz went bankrupt, and giants like StockX and GOAT have had to diversify their offerings.

But there are some bright spots — truly rare collectibles (called “grails”) still understandably do big business on resale sites, and the booming popularity of sportstyle sneakers (think Hoka, On, Salomon, and Merrell) are giving customers new footwear to get excited about.

So, now we want to hear from you…


We ask the hard-hitting questions.

Are you a sneakerhead?

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61.5% of you voted No in yesterday’s poll: Do you read romance novels?

“50-year-old dude here... I’m gonna pass.”

“I like historical fiction better. Sometimes romance is involved but is not the main theme of the book.”

“ABSOLUTELY. In all forms: audio, Kindle, physical books.”

“But LGBT romances. I enjoy plot twists.”

“As a queer person, I love to read about a world where homophobia doesn’t exist and love wins in the end.”

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Lake power // Illustration by Kait Cunniff with DALL-E 2

California finds a lakebed full of lithium

The Future. California’s shrinking Salton Sea lake bed has a surprise — 18 million metric tons of lithium suspended in its hot geothermal brine, which is the biggest concentration in the world. The mining could put EV adoption in the US back on track by drastically lowering the price of vehicles.

Drought power-up
The discovery of lithium in the Salton Sea might turn California into “the Saudi Arabia of lithium,” according to Governor Gavin Newsom.

  • On top of becoming self-sufficient in the mineral, the US could go from producing less than 1% of the world’s lithium to over 50%.

  • The lithium deposits could power 375 million EV batteries, as well countless other battery-using devices, such as smartphones and laptops.

  • It could add nearly a trillion dollars to the state economy and create an estimated 81,000 jobs in Imperial County, which has a high poverty and unemployment rate.

Three firms are competing to mine the lake, but the right tech needs to be made to lift the material from its corrosive environment — the lake’s brine is already harvested for steam energy, but the exposed lake shore (thanks, draught) has made the area toxic.

But there might be some competition. Companies mining the McDermitt Caldera that extends from Nevada to Oregon claim that it has the largest lithium supply not just in the US, but in the world. No matter who’s right, it’s a win for America.

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The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Spotify is launching a human-curated-only playlist, called “Spotify Classics,” a hub of albums that “shifted the public’s perception of what an album can and should be.” Read More → variety

  • Some country stations are refusing to play Beyoncé’s new country music. Read More → complex

  • Walmart could buy TV maker Vizio for $2 billion. Read More → variety

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • Penn Entertainment’s launch of ESPN Bet led to a $334 million loss for the firm… and sent its stock on a losing streak. Read More → bloomberg

  • Fear of God Athletics is dropping a capsule collection inspired by the newly released Bob Marley: One Love movie. Read More → complex

  • Post Malone is entering his vinyl collectible era thanks to a new collab with Superplastic. Read More → hypebeast

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • Silicon Valley is “dogfooding” its AI — pushing experimental tech and systems on its employees as the ultimate beta test. Read More → insider

  • Intuitive Machine’s Odysseus lunar lander launched aboard a SpaceX rocket yesterday in hopes of becoming the first from a private company to touch down on the Moon. Read More → nyt

  • Plant-based meat walked so meat-based plants could run. Read More → engadget

Creator Economy

  • TikTok hopes to repeat its success on the Apple Vision Pro with a new “reimagined” app. Read More → techcrunch

  • New York City is suing TikTok, Instagram, Snap, and Google for “addicting children” to the social media platforms. Read More → theverge

  • Creators can now remix music videos into their Shorts… which may raise artists’ eyebrows if they’re not getting a cut of the associated ad revenue. Read More → techcrunch

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Sala

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