Fable Shifts from Virtual Reality to 'Virtual Beings'

January 30, 2019

By Samantha Errico

Step aside, Siri and Alexa. VR studio Fable is relaunching as a "virtual beings" company to bring the public its first A.I.-powered character with whom users can have a two-way relationship.

According to co-founders Edward Saatchi and Pete Billington, the rebranding ー which the two announced at the 2019 Sundance Festival ー is partly an effort to educate consumers about machine learning.

"We think a character is a cool way to show you all the advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning," Saatchi told Cheddar Wednesday.

Fable's first virtual beings experience, "Whispers in the Night, stars the character Lucy from the company's past VR project, "Wolves in the Walls." The experience goes live this summer.

"You are her imaginary friend, she literally draws you into her world," Billington, who also is the creative director of 'Wolves in the Walls,' Saatchi said."Everything we do is at the service of bonding you to her."

Lucy is able to track your movements and remember your conversations. You can virtually interact with her as you would another person.

Fable is eager to distinguish its characters from other A.I. assistants already on the market; the company is all about personality.

"For us, using A.I. and natural language processing is a tool to create emotional connection," Saatchi said.

Billington and Saatchi predicted what the future of VR and A.I have in store:

  • You will be able to see embodied versions of Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana

  • A computer-generated influencer will be bigger than the Kardashians

  • Your OS will look like you, make you laugh, and remember what you don't like

  • We will all be wearing AR/VR glasses to replace smartphones

  • More VR movies will win Oscars (following 2017's awarded "Carne y Arena")

For full interview click here.