OpenAI Hustles to Beat Google to Launch ‘Multimodal’ LLM Read more

Art by Clark Miller.
Art by Clark Miller.

A Filmmaker’s Ode to Virtual Reality and the People Who Live in It

Newcomer Joe Hunting’s documentary is out now on HBO. The hook? It features no live-action humans.

Aug. 6, 2022 7:00 AM PDT

VRChat changed Joe Hunting’s life. Not only did the first-person virtual reality game serve as the setting for Hunting’s debut film “We Met in Virtual Reality,” but it also introduced the 23-year-old director, producer, writer and editor to his new girlfriend. (The Sundance-premiered documentary, now streaming on HBO Max, is garnering mostly glowing reviews as well as a few ambivalent ones.)

Hunting, a British-born recent graduate of the University of Gloucestershire, began using VRChat in 2018, mostly for gaming and short-film experiments. But amid pandemic lockdowns in September 2020, he decided to turn his virtual world into an IRL documentary. His 93-minute feature traces the lives of fellow VRChat users, recording their avatars in conversation as they coped with grief, found love and formed deep and fulfilling friendships. He finished the film in December 2021. For a documentary that features no actual human actors, “We Met in Virtual Reality” is filled with humanity.

The Information chatted with Hunting, who was zooming in from his part-time home in Sacramento, Calif., about his personal VR habits, how a filmmaker operates in this brave new medium and what he looks for in an avatar. The interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
OpenAI's Greg Brockman (left) and Google's Demis Hassabis (right). Photos by Getty.
AI Agenda google ai
OpenAI Hustles to Beat Google to Launch ‘Multimodal’ LLM
As fall approaches, Google and OpenAI are locked in a good ol’ fashioned software race, aiming to launch the next generation of large-language models: multimodal.
From left, a Google TPU, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan and Google Cloud chief Thomas Kurian. Photos via Getty, Google and YouTube.
Exclusive google semiconductors
To Reduce AI Costs, Google Wants to Ditch Broadcom as Its TPU Server Chip Supplier
Google executives have extensively discussed dropping Broadcom as a supplier of artificial intelligence chips as early as 2027, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.
Art by Clark Miller.
space Twitter
The Trouble With Walter: In His Elon Musk Tome, the Writer Shows Us the Perils of Access Journalism
Walter Isaacson is the exotic bird of American letters, a charming and convivial bon vivant and raconteur, the life of many a dinner party, a studious biographer and a generous mentor.
Flexport founder Ryan Petersen. Photos via Getty and Flexport.
Can Ryan Petersen Fix Flexport?
Ryan Petersen was getting antsy. This March, Petersen had handed over the CEO job at Flexport—the logistics company he’d founded a decade earlier, which had ballooned to an $8 billion valuation in 2022—to veteran Amazon executive Dave Clark.
Photos via Eiso Kant (left) and YouTube/VMWare Tanzu (right)
AI Agenda startups ai
How GitHub Copilot’s Co-Creator Raised $126 Million to Compete with His Former Employer
Recent interest in artificial intelligence has focused on large-language models that aim to do everything from writing Shakespearean poetry to solving math riddles.
Art by Mike Sullivan.
The Flexicon culture
A Is for Adaptogens, B Is for Body Sculpting: A Trending-in-Silicon Valley Health Glossary
Last month, The Information Weekend conducted our first-ever Brain-Body Investment Survey , asking subscribers about their exercise, wellness and beauty practices.