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Playing With Reality – Issue #23

Thijs Pepping
August 03, 2021

It’s official: the full title of our upcoming book is “Real Fake – Playing with Reality in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”.

“Real Fake” is our take on synthetic media and the follow-up to our 2008 book “Me the Media”. Real Fake 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.

Breaking news. AI can hold a patent.

The day after South Africa decided that AI can hold a patent, Australia concluded the same. Justice Beach of the Federal Court in Australis has determined that an AI system can be named as the inventor on a patent application. There are now two countries in the world that recognize the fact that AI can be creative. In our report “Infinite Machine Creativity” we explain how machine inventions work. In the report we also describe DABUS, the AI inventor that is now granted patent rights. The decision will have significant ramifications for many industries, such as the pharmaceutical industry where, as recognised by Justice Beach, machine learning is becoming an important tool utilised to achieve effective, cheaper and quicker drug discovery.

The Rise of Cryptomedia

The artist RAC, who launched

A great read on crypto + media = cryptomedia by Lex Woorburry. Cryptomedia can be thought of as hypermedia with built-in property rights. Lex explanis: ”The music industry is an early adopter of cryptomedia. The artist RAC worked with Zora to launch , a token built on Ethereum that he can distribute to his fans. In RAC’s words: “By rewarding my most loyal fans, we can create a community where tokens unlock access to various perks and exclusive content.”
“Uniquely, fans can’t buy ; they can only earn it. RAC retroactively distributed to fans based on their past support. He gave 25,000 to past Bandcamp supporters; 25,000 to fans who had bought RAC merch; 200,000 to Patreon supporters.
Fans can now earn through their ongoing fandom and cash in for exclusive perks: holding gives fans access to a private Discord server, as well as early access to future merch drops.
It’s easy to imagine or or coming next. If I’m in the top 1% of Billie Eilish listeners on Spotify, how much is that worth? And does it get me better seats at her concert?”

New trend: Granny-influencers

Senior Creators | YouTube Culture & Trends Report

Internet influencers, what do you know about them? YouTube is spotting a trend that shows that older people, aka ‘senior creators’ are a hit. It’s partly because of the pandemic they say, that we all want to see ‘normal people’. Enjoy the video.

vTubing is becoming very cheap

Only three years ago, Hollywood-quality motion-capture software costing up to $30,000 or more was required to produce even passable animated movements. But today, free downloadable software called Live2D Cubism, originally created by Japanese programmer Tetsuya Nakajo, means that anyone with a decent avatar illustration can become a VTuber for less than $100. Live2D is a software technology that allows you to create dynamic expressions that breathe life into an original 2D illustration.
If you want to read more about the weird world of vTubers this is a nice read. In the article the 28-year-old Meilyne Tran, a VTuber fan and COO of GeeXPlus, a Tokyo-based anime YouTuber management company, explains the success of vTubers:
“People of my generation don’t like humans so much nowadays. We’re plugged in all the time and prefer interacting online, and VTubers keep us in the fantasy universe.”

Intro to the Metaverse (report)

The metaverse is hot and happening now that Mark Zuckerberg announced he wants to turn his social media company into a metaverse company. Satya Nadella of Microsoft says he will build an enterprise metaverse. Finally. In our book “Me the Media” (2008) we wrote: The possibility of our physical reality, the universe around us, soon being part of the new virtu-real Metaverse still sounds an awful lot like science fiction, but such a transformation will simply provide useful supplements to our daily activities” Me the Media is an intro into the metaverse, written 13 years ago. Here’s a new one. Sometimes it takes time before science fiction becomes reality.


Playing with Reality is a weekly newsletter in which SogetiLabs’ 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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