Need to Know
25 : 03 : 19

Google unveils a digital streaming service for gaming, AVs pose a higher risk for dark-skinned pedestrians and interest in sustainable fashion is booming.

IAM Weekend 19: Pitch Studios subverts the gap year narrative

Virtual Gap Year by Pitch Studios x IAM

Barcelona – At this year’s IAM Weekend, Melbourne-based Pitch Studios has created a short film that leads the viewer on a tour of five futuristic islands to Find Your Truth(s).

The film, Virtual Gap Year, features the work of four artists – Smisko Ackerman, Lorna Pittaway, Twomuch Studio and Polina Zinziver – and plays on the traditional gap year narrative in which young adults go abroad to find themselves. Playing to this, the film asks ‘Are you confused about the futures. Are you seeking a fresh perspective only travel can effectuate?’

Expanding on IAM Weekend's overarching theme for 2019, the Quantumness of Archipelagos, which explores the idea that it is possible to experience ‘multiple unfixed realities full of interesting contradictions’, the film brings to the fore the idea that the internet is not resigned to following a fixed course, but is something more organic with various manifestations.

‘The internet is still in its very early stages,’ says Taylor Mitchell, head of Pitch Portal at Pitch Studios. ‘It’s important to constantly re-imagine how we use it, with a focus on connectivity helping to move our culture forward. I hope we can remould the internet to help us decentralise (and nurture) new ideas, creativity and understanding.’

Look out for our Need to Know special on Tuesday 26 March in which we will round up the best of IAM Weekend 19.

This fitness studio swaps sweat for mindfulness

Move Studios, London Move Studios, London
Move Studios, London Move Studios, London

London – Move Studios is a new fitness studio and wellness space that takes a mindful approach to functional training.

Housed above Market Hall Fulham, the fully equipped studio offers yoga, strength, endurance and interval training, as well as a rotating schedule of workshops and wellness talks. As an antidote to the rise of get-fit-quick regimens, Move Studios promises a more sustainable form of training, with specialist trainers leading sessions on breathing work, calisthenics and stretching, in addition to various forms of yoga.

‘We believe in creating a space that delivers beyond measures of sweat and soreness,’ says founder Christian Pratt-Lewis, who adds that the light, airy space is a departure from dark basement studios, nightclub-inspired environments and strobe lighting that have come to signify the boutique fitness experience. Inspired by the rhythm and gestures of human movement, the studio exemplifies how wellness interiors are embracing a more stripped-back aesthetic. For more, explore our Raw Movement design direction.

Self-driving cars demonstrate racial bias

US – A new study by the Georgia Institute of Technology has found that automated vehicles (AVs) are less able to detect pedestrians with darker skin tones, therefore posing a threat to their safety.

The researchers took a large dataset of images showing people and divided them into two groups using the Fitzpatrick scale, a numerical classification for human skin colour. The team fed the pictures into machine learning object-detection models to determine how well they were able to correctly detect both light-skinned and dark-skinned groups as people.

The results indicated the machine learning models to be on average five percentage points less accurate at identifying the dark skin group as potential pedestrians, even when variables such as time of day and an obstructed view were taken into account. A caveat to the report’s findings noted that the researchers were unable to test the machine learning models actually used in AVs as companies do not publicly share this data, demonstrating the continuing problem with the so-called ‘black box’ of AI.

As explored in our macrotrend Morality Recoded, artificial intelligence (AI) is perpetuating the biases of its programmers, who are for the most part white and male. Read our Opinion for more on why brands need to be more transparent about their algorithms to ensure that technology works for everyone.

SIN by Biomega, Demark SIN by Biomega, Demark

Google’s Stadia is a multi-device gaming platform

Google Stadia

San Francisco – The technology company has announced the forthcoming launch of Stadia, an online-only gaming platform.

According to Google, ‘the future of gaming is not a box’ but instead a purely online pursuit, with Stadia enabling gamers to play across multiple devices, including laptops, desktops, as well as selected phones and tablets, requiring only a strong internet connection. The game-streaming service will run a selection of existing PC games via Google’s centralised servers, with no downloads, installations or updates required during play.

To coincide with Stadia's launch, the company also revealed a new Google-produced controller featuring a ‘capture’ button, which allows users to live-stream or record game play directly to YouTube, as well as a Google Assistant button.

Although Stadia’s exact launch date and price have yet to be announced, the one of the first titles announced for the platform is Doom Eternal, a first-person shooter (FPS) game developed by id Software. Stadia's announcement comes amid the unstoppable rise of the global eSports Market, with retailers, fashion brands and even beauty labels keen to explore the spending potential of gaming fans.

Stat: Consumers actively seek sustainable fashion

Collating data from 80m shoppers, derived from 120 countries, the e-commerce aggregator Lyst has found that consumers are increasingly using terms like ‘ethical brands’ and ‘econyl’ – a sustainable yarn created from regenerated nylon waste that is becoming increasing popular in swimwear – to search its site.

Terms like ‘sustainable denim’ are also gaining in popularity, with the platform reporting an increase of 187% in page views for sustainable denim brands since 2018. Since October 2018, vegan leather has become increasingly sought after, driven in large part by the footwear market. As a result, many brands are recognising that consumers are willing to spend more on products made from sustainable, non-animal materials. See our Sustainable Footwear market for more.

Thought-starter: Is mixed reality the future of leisure?

New venue PY1 offers a multifunctional future for leisure, transforming entertainment into an immersive, moveable experience. Jean Guibert, creative director at parent brand Lune Rouge Entertainment, tells us more.

‘PY1 is a unique entertainment concept because it’s aimed at telling stories and evoking emotions through technology,’ says Jean Guibert. ‘It’s not a contemplative multimedia performance show. It has the DNA of a proper show, including narration, dramatic arc, and a constant succession of elements of surprise in order to take the audience on a journey and awaken their emotions using technology.’

With the first show, Through the Echos, opening in June in Montreal, visitors will be immersed in a journey through space and time. ‘The show will make people feel at ease and surprised at the same time,’ explains Guibert. ‘They’ll be immersed in an exciting sonic environment – we’ll be using over 100 speakers for the music. We’ll activate all their senses by using special effects as smoke bubbles, a laser ceiling and kinetic structures.’

Read the full Q&A here.

PY1 Laser Show by Lune Rouge Entertainment PY1 by Lune Rouge Entertainment
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