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Ambitious UK firm wants to build the Matrix

Posted on Friday, 12 May, 2017 | Comment icon 15 comments

Knock, knock, Neo. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Jeff Golden
Improbable is the latest startup hoping to change the world by embracing virtual reality technology.
It might not be as well known as VR headset developer Oculus or AI company DeepMind, but Improbable's goals are perhaps the most ambitious of them all - to recreate reality itself.

"We're in a place today where it is actually possible to create artificial realities," said CEO Herman Narula. "Not in some abstract sense, but genuine, living, breathing recreations of this one, powered by technology, that allow people to have totally new experiences."

"AI gets all the press, but this idea of recreating reality is going to become something in the public consciousness that's as important, as significant, as artificial intelligence."

Now valued at over $1 billion, Improbable has developed a new platform - SpatialOS - which makes it possible for anyone to build huge agent-based simulations running in the cloud.

The ultimate implementation of this technology could one day make it possible to recreate the real world in a totally immersive, persistent simulation indistinguishable from the real thing.

"Basically, we want to build the Matrix," said Narula.

Source: | Comments (15)

Tags: Improbable, Matrix, Virtual Reality

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Frank Merton on 12 May, 2017, 3:35
I think AI is coming -- things like cars that drive themselves and translation software that actually translates -- but it will sneak up on us. When someone issues a press release announcing something is AI, I smell hype.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Frank Merton on 12 May, 2017, 3:38
By the way, I was quite the opposite -- I'm 72 now and I remember back in high school when Texas Instruments came out with a programmable calculator -- one that could actually loop and branch and so on -- I was so eager to have one and learn to program it. Unfortunately I had to go back to Vietnam and they wouldn't let me take it with me.
Comment icon #8 Posted by seeder on 12 May, 2017, 3:41
Comment icon #9 Posted by Frank Merton on 12 May, 2017, 3:43
I really don't see where AI will be able to do anything ordinary sequential code can't do (which is pretty amazing stuff) unless they learn more about how the human brain works -- a lot more. What goes by AI now remains sequential code -- it is just that they code the machines to code themselves (partially) with a programmer stepping in every now and then when the thing gets into trouble, like an infinite loop.
Comment icon #10 Posted by DieChecker on 12 May, 2017, 8:06
I'd use Virtual Reality to toss criminals into. And then monitor their activities. If they return to being a criminal in the Virtual World, then their jail time gets extended. If they reform, they get let out earlier. Use it to figure out who the repeat offenders and dangerous people are before returning them to society.
Comment icon #11 Posted by LV-426 on 12 May, 2017, 11:39
I have to say, these sensationalist headlines get on my nerves sometimes. Is a story about virtual worlds and complex simulations interesting? Sure. Does the reality of current technology, or the scope of this project bear anything but a vague connection to the plot of The Matrix, or mean that we're in the process of building one? That would be a no. On the point of AI too, one thing that always leaps out is that people are immediately looking to compare artificial intelligence with human intelligence. Obviously, intelligence that matches or surpasses our own is the endgame, but all AI essenti... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by seeder on 12 May, 2017, 12:18
Often, as in this case..... a story will use metaphors to get the idea across. 'The Matrix' might make people think of having yourself plugged into something via your neck and brain stem in order to learn Kung Fu in a short this case its just a metaphor, not to be taken literally, perhaps obviously. But who knows where it will all lead?
Comment icon #13 Posted by Calibeliever on 12 May, 2017, 17:22
You weren't alone, even Bill Gates couldn't get his head around it until the mid-90's and then had to scramble to catch up. In the early 90's I remember him referring to it as a "fad".
Comment icon #14 Posted by LV-426 on 12 May, 2017, 20:35
I know how the tabloid press work Maybe I'm just extra grumpy today... This line in particular though is just nonsense: "A London firm is hoping to turn the world into a simulation, and make 'The Matrix' a reality." Even if you ignore the dystopian plot of The Matrix, i.e. future machines go to war with humanity, win, then turn humans into a power source, plugged into a convincing virtual reality as a means of control - which hopefully nobody is actually planning to design - the state of VR right now is light years away from creating a fully-immersive, convincing experience on a small scale, l... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by LV-426 on 13 May, 2017, 11:50
Just to add, this is how the same story was reported by the Beeb: UK virtual reality firm Improbable raises $500m

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