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Issue #14 – Playing With Reality – Is Reality Broken? 🚀🔮🌟

Thijs Pepping
June 07, 2021

“Playing with Reality” is the title of our upcoming book on synthetic media and the follow-up to our 2008 book “Me the Media”. Playing with Reality is about how humans continuously manipulate reality and how new digital technology tools enable us to go one step further in this ancient game. This includes modern phenomena like conspiracy theories such as QAnon, Deepfakes, and fake news, but also virtual humans such as CGI Influencer Lil Miquela and virtual worlds like Fortnite.

Digital Humans Rapping Using AI-generated Voices

“During a recent hackathon, one employee worked out how to capture live audio of himself rapping and transfer “the timing, cadence and energy of his delivery onto one of our AI voices.” Combined with a little 3D animation and rendering, this video is the result.” It’s a funny attempt, but also kind of cringy…
Rap-lica – First-Ever Digital Humans Rap with AI Voices

Unrealistic Real Forrest With Unreal Engine 5

Wow. This stuff is amazing. What’s real and what’s not? Can we still see the difference? Or have we crossed the uncanny valley with this technology?

Unreal Engine 5 RTX 3090 Realistic Forest with Lumen

Connect With Other Residents Through A Portal

“Humanity is facing many potentially deadly challenges; be it social polarisation, climate change or economic issues. However, if we look closely, it’s not a lack of brilliant scientists, activists, leaders, knowledge or technology causing these challenges. It’s tribalism, a lack of empathy and a narrow perception of the world, which is often limited to our national borders,” says Benediktas Gylys, President of the Benediktas Gylys Foundation and initiator of the PORTAL idea. “That’s why we’ve decided to bring the PORTAL idea to life – it’s a bridge that unifies and an invitation to rise above prejudices and disagreements that belong to the past. It’s an invitation to rise above the us and them illusion.”

The Future is Here: Vilnius Invites Residents to Connect with Another City Through a ‘PORTAL’ | We love Lithuania

Vilnius has built something for those who are tired of pandemic travel restrictions and longing to meet new people from near and faraway countries. A futuristic-looking ‘PORTAL’ has been installed next to Vilnius Train Station, allowing anyone who uses it to make contact in real time with inhabitants of the Polish city of Lublin. A…

Our Digital Pasts Weren’t Supposed to Be Weaponized Like This

“The internet is a fossil machine. It preserves our thoughts, our political positions, our jokes, our photos, our triumphs and our mistakes in silicon amber, just waiting to be dug up. And that has led to a kind of modern sport: Find an outrageous piece of a person’s past that can be weaponized, put it on display for all to see and hope for the worst. The most surprising thing, though, is that this is still happening.”

Emily Wilder’s Firing at The A.P. Reminds Us of What We Didn’t Expect – The New York Times

A recent firing at The Associated Press is the latest example of the way in which our digital pasts are never far from the present, despite what early internet evangelists thought.

AI Could Soon Write Code Based on Ordinary Language

“If you can describe what you want to do in natural language, GPT-3 will generate a list of the most relevant formulas for you to choose from,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a keynote address at the company’s Build developer conference. “The code writes itself.”

AI Could Soon Write Code Based on Ordinary Language | WIRED

Microsoft reveals plans to bring GPT-3, best known for generating text, to programming. “The code writes itself,” CEO Satya Nadella says.

Video-prank with the Parliament of the Netherlands

So it wasn’t a deepfake after all. It was just a prank. And how could we have known? Bad make-up and a bathrobe didn’t give the joke away?

Video-prank with the Parliament of the Netherlands (Eng)

Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus communicate with the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands as Russian opposition…

Join Our Upcoming Reality Show

On the 15th of June 2021 we are organizing our yearly summit. This year we try to answer the question how digital technology is changing our relationship with reality. So if you want to know more about deepfakes, virtual humans, cgi influencers, synthetic media, AR, VR and mixed reality, please register yourself. And it’s free!


Playing with Reality is a weekly newsletter in which SogetiLabs’s Research Institute VINT examines the future where synthetic reality becomes part or our objective reality. We investigate the impact of new technology on people, organisations and our society. If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us at

About the author

Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Thijs Pepping is a humanistic trend analyst in the field of new technologies. He is part of the think tank within SogetiLabs and in his work he continuously wonders and analyses what the impact of New Technologies is on our lives, organizations and society.


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