Here Comes The Aigency, a Talent Agency for Robot Actors
The company connects film production studios, event organizers, and other media groups with robots. The plan is to replicate what traditional talent agencies do for human actors and actresses, but instead for robots and "virtual beings." The company's initial "talent" includes a pair of Boston Dynamics robots named Zero and One.
The idea may sound far-fetched. But Gibson assured that it is for real.
"We figured that the idea already sounds crazy enough to be an April Fools joke so we are just embracing the timing," he said.
Gibson and Cheshier are co-founders at Pluto VR, a Seattle virtual reality startup. They have years of media production, gaming, VR/AR development, and marketing experience.
The Aigency Launch Trailer www.youtube.com
The Aigency is part of the Boston Dynamics early adopter program, which helped the firm land a pair of four-legged Spot robots.
Media producers pay The Aigency to provide the robots and built out any additional technology needed.
"We handle the logistics of getting the robots on set and into character for their performance," Gibson said. "We then support the media and promotions of the production via social media, red carpet events, and press tours with our talent. This is similar to how media producers would go about casting actors represented by agents."
Robots have been around movies, TV shows, events, and more for decades, from Metropolis to Star Wars. But developments with both technology and human-robot interaction have created a different environment.
"We believe there is an opportunity to tell positive stories on how robots will play ever increasing roles in our daily lives alongside us," Gibson said. "This new wave of generalized robotics allows them to walk/roll/hop off the set and onto the red carpet with the rest of the cast. This adds a whole new dimension to how viewers and fans can engage with robotic personalities."
The Aigency makes money by taking a percentage of what the talent is paid for their performances.
Gibson said the company had several live appearances lined up at events before the COVID-19 outbreak forced cancellations and postponements.
Gibson and Cheshier are self-funding the company for now. They are still leading Pluto VR, which the entrepreneurs started in 2015 with PopCap Games co-founder John Vechey and former Walt Disney tech exec Jonathan Geibel.
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- Tesla shares soar, Fisker rumored to go public, Karma gets $100m
- Facebook issues crash TikTok, Pinterest, Spotify
A Super-Charged Electric Vehicle Market: Rivian, Fisker and Karma Rake in Funds<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODkzMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5ODMwNjMzMX0.xPjqflqWoY1CNYlVU2VES3azpsxKv1sNz4TSoa-E2Nk/image.jpg?width=980" id="34166" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e33f8e054400fe2f5c8240286835e06d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Rivian Automotive is the maker of electric pickup trucks.<p>Tesla's success has super-charged investor interest in the electric vehicle market.</p><p>Exhibit A is the two Southern California-based electric car makers, <a href="https://electrek.co/2020/07/08/fisker-50-millio-funding-electric-suv/" target="_blank">Fisker</a> and <a href="https://dot.la/karma-car-2646367624.html" target="_self">Karma, which secured millions </a>in funding this week as they sought to ramp up production. Then came word Fisker, created by one-time Aston Martin designer Henrik Fisker, is now in talks to go public through a sale to a so-called blank-check acquisition company, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spartan-energy-m-a-fisker/exclusive-electric-car-maker-fisker-eyes-deal-to-go-public-sources-idUSKBN24A2HZ" target="_blank">Reuters reported</a> on Thursday. </p><p>Today, Detroit-based Rivian Automotive, maker of electric pickup trucks that's backed in part by Ford Motor Co., announced that it secured $2.5 billion in funding from private investors.</p><p>The race to push out more electric vehicles comes as after Tesla supplanted Toyota as the most valuable car maker. Its shares have been soaring and it now has a market cap that stands at over $285 billion despite controversies and a much lower production volume.</p><p>Spartan Energy is bidding against other special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs as they are called, to bring Fisker public through a reverse merger, according to the report. Spartan is backed by Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm. </p>With a freshly secured $50 million in private funds, Fisker plans to sell the Fisker Ocean luxury electric SUV at a starting price of $37,500 in 2022. Fisker's previous venture Fisker Automotive fell into bankruptcy in 2013 and was bought by a Chinese group that rebranded it Karma. That company, which has been struggling after several layoff rounds and restructuring, is Karma and earlier this week secured $100 million from investors. It hopes to use that to raise a total of $300 million and roll out a line of electric vehicles.
Facebook issue crashes Spotify, TikTok, Pinterest<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjY1OTE2Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMzM5MzkwNX0.r90DRnE3UFTB07VJDqefqOFUPVUriT1wuJTlhmyh6Jc/img.jpg?width=980" id="c28ef" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f523904d32b223a39171b3253b6ba1c1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />farm5.staticflickr.com<p> If you were trying to use a handful of iOS apps including Spotify, TikTok and Pinterest Friday morning chances are you couldn't get in because of a Facebook log-in issue. </p><p> The hiccup came from Facebook's software development kit (SDK), which several apps rely on to operate. Developers use SDK for users who want to sign in with their Facebook account. </p><p> "Earlier today, a code change triggered crashes for some iOS apps using the Facebook SDK," Facebook's developer site announced. "We identified the issue quickly and resolved it. We apologize for any inconvenience." </p><p> The crash hit some of the biggest apps. </p><p> "Something's out of tune," Spotify's Status account said on Twitter in the early morning. "We're currently investigating, and we'll keep you posted here!" </p><p> It's the second time this year the Facebook interface has caused a crash. </p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet">Something's out of tune. We're currently investigating, and we'll keep you posted here!<br>— Spotify Status (@SpotifyStatus) <a href="https://twitter.com/SpotifyStatus/status/1281542997906202625?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 10, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
An Amazon spokesperson said Friday afternoon that an email ordering employees to delete TikTok was sent in error. The company declined to provide further explanation for how the directive was sent.
"This morning's email to some of our employees was sent in error," the spokesperson said. "There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok."
"Due to security risks, the TikTop app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email," the company said Friday in an email to employees.
Here's the email Amazon sent to employees this morning banning TikTok from employee phones. "If you have TikTok o… https://t.co/hGPYjxQLxP— Taylor Lorenz (@Taylor Lorenz)1594400093.0
TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media apps in the world but government officials and business leaders are becoming increasingly wary of the Chinese-owned company.
The U.S. military has already barred its members from using TikTok and the federal government is considering a broader ban out of concerns that the Chinese government may be using the app to spy on Americans.
Earlier this month, India announced it will ban TikTok and other popular Chinese apps citing threats to "sovereignty and integrity."
Amazon did not provide details on its concerns in the employee email. We've reached out to the company to comment and will update this story when we hear back.
A TikTok spokesperson said the company is "fully committed to respecting the privacy of users," in a statement to the Times.
"While Amazon did not communicate to us before sending their email, and we still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue so we can address any issues they may have and enable their team to continue participating in our community."
Last month, a new privacy feature in iOS 14 revealed TikTok was accessing users' clipboard content despite promising to discontinue the practice last year.