Books: XR, Games+Museums, Humans+AI =?

by paradoxig

Weekend is coming…. so, book recommendation that you might enjoy:
1. Can video gamers and museum curators and artists work together? Might seem impossible, but some tried to ‘crack the collaboration code’. “When Museums Meet Video Games: The Museum Lab Handbook” is offering a series of examples, challenges and opportunities that arise. Recommended for: believers and nonbelievers in such cooperation.

2. We know that algorithms can have biases, but what about humans? The book “How Humans Judge Machines” compares people’s reactions to actions performed by humans and machines – in different scenarios, including ones related to creative industries. Recommended for: A must-read book not only for those that work with AI.

3. XR is a growing field, but with unique challenges. The report “Crafting a Market for Independent XR – Challenges and Opportunities for Distribution, Circulation and Discoverability” presents trends, emerging business models, distribution challenges. It is based on interviews from producers, distributors, and curators from around the world. Recommended for: everybody who wants to get involved more seriously into XR (the creative ecosystem)


BOOK1: When Museums Meet Video Games: The Museum Lab Handbook

Video games are appealing to the new generations, and as museums try to attract young generation, the question is: are videogames a possible solution?
And if yes, what are the opportunities and challenges and how can museum professionals collaborate with video game studios?

When Museums Meet Video Games: The Museum Lab Handbook is giving insight into these questions (download HERE )

The handbook comes after a series of workshops collaborative workshops presented by the Villa Albertine and the The Cultural Services of the French Embassy In the US and organized by “We Are Museums” in Cooperation with the Smithsonian.

Through this book, the reader can find insightful inspiration that comes from practical experience of high-level professionals from Centre Pompidou, V&A Museum of Childhood, Games in Society, just to name a few of the experts. It shows the range of possibilities one can look at when wanting to dive into a potential collaboration with a video game studio and/or a museum. They make this handbook a useful resource for anyone interested in these topics.

This handbook groups the reports from these events and can be used as inspiration and instructions for institutions and groups that would like to dive into these topics. To open you appetite for the book reading, you can read our short review of the events here:

You can re-watch the panel discussions on the website of Villa Albertine HERE or read TechvangArt short reviews as an aperitive for the book 🙂

When Museums Meet Videogames part 1
When Museums Meet VideoGames – part 2

As AI is getting more and more powerful and penetrating our lives, there are concerns that AI inherits from its creators our deep biases developed across history. AI has the power to hire or fire people, prescribe medicine, or make a movie; question around algorithmic biases entered academia, and researches focused on how algorithms are biased towards humans with implications when it comes to gender or race, and the risk for prejudices to be constantly multiplied. If you want to read more about automation and algorithmic biases and its implication, we recommend our reviews on the topic, see below. But, what if we revert the question and ask how are humans behaving towards AI? – this will be further discussed in our second book recommendation.

AI and Frictionless Fever. Human Tech? From SXSW 2022 reviews.

Debating AI, Questioning Humanity. “Westworld is here”? Directors Lisa Joy (Westworld) and Kogonada (After Yang), alongside Cynthia Breazeal (MIT Media Lab) and Ashley Llorens (Microsof) discussed AI, algorithms, biases and humanity. From Sundance 2022 review

Thinkable Thoughts about the Future of AI. From the symposia “Unfolding Intelligence: The Art and Science of Contemporary Computation” organized by MIT (2021)

If you are interested in scenarios that question How the perception between Human and Machine can or will be change TechvangArt recommended


Book 2: How Humans Judge Machines

We know that algorithms discriminate human, but what about human, how we are relating to the machine?
How Humans Judge Machines” vastly debates this question, with applications and implication that are also in the arts and creative industries

Written by César A. Hidalgo, the author of Why Information Grows and coauthor of The Atlas of Economic Complexity (MIT Press), together with a team of social psychologists (Diana Orghian and Filipa de Almeida) , roboticists (Jordi Albo-Canals) and marketeer (Natalia Martin), How Humans Judge Machines presents a unique perspective on the nexus between artificial intelligence and society. Anyone interested in the future of AI ethics should explore the experiments and theories in How Humans Judge Machines
(download HERE )

But, what about humans, are we so ethical and innocents when it comes to judging AIs?

Published a year ago, the book resonates with our times, especially as more and more AI solutions are entering our life. We live in an era, where new-tech is going mainstream: XR, AI, blockchain, etc. There is an enthusiasm on the side of creators, engineers, and artists around topics such as the Metaverse, XR experience, Virtual Beings, AI-characters, that can be used in a wide range of fields. From the perspective of the builders, when designing an AI-Avatar there is effort put into creating a movement, responding to questions, and creators are genuinely happy to get it right. And in this enthusiastic environment comes this book, with a kind-of-warning: ‘hey folks, the people will judge the actions of AI-Characters differently, compared to human action, sometimes more harshly”.

It turns out that the same actions and outcomes done by machines and humans are judged differently, in a complex matrix that takes into account also other dimensions from moral judgment, perceived intentionality, etc.
For example, people tend to judge humans by their intentions and machines by their outcomes, we assume that machines are ‘just’ executing, and humans are more intentional.
Additionally, people are willing to excuse humans more than machines in accidental scenarios, but also that people excuse machines more in scenarios that can be perceived as intentional. People judge machines more harshly in accidental or fortuitous scenarios (since they excuse humans more in such cases). And these are just a few examples from a series of examples analyzed in a wide variety of situations.

Creative AIs in creative industries?

Creative AIs are nowadays more and more common, we already use algorithms, or create together with AI-writers , AI-composers as GPT-3 is a game changer. Recently, instruments such as MidJourney, Stable Diffusion have improved the creative process of designers and it will be used in whole industries: fashion, creative agency, industrial design – where designers will just adjust and choose between images created by AI.

So, how do we judge creations made by our AI ‘co-workers’?

For example, advertising is an industry that will rely massively on Creative AIs. In experiments made by Hidalgo&team, hypothetical shocking ads were presented to people as made by different marketers – AI and humans. The team investigated humans response to the same ad, with only one difference: some people were told the ad was made by a human, other people were told the ad was made by an AI. The results show that people dislike the human and the algorithm similarly, but they assign more intention to the human than the AI. When subjects participating in the experiments were asked about who is responsible for the images, responsibility moves up the hierarchy when the algorithm is involved in the creative process. This suggests that the introduction of AI may end up centralizing responsibilities up the chain of command, argues the author.

This is really interesting because ‘The Boss’ has a Role: share glory in case of a success , and blame others in case of failure. Delegation of responsibility by management, provides a “firewall” because blame can be passed from the management team to those involved in the execution of a task. And AI seems like it can change that. Using AI eliminates the firewall, and hence can create a disincentive for the adoption of AI among risk-averse management teams, warns the book.

Another example the researchers explored is the ethical dimensions related to lewd, disrespectful, or blasphemous content made by AI vs human. Three scenarios were taken into consideration – plagiarizing songwriter, a blasphemous comedian, a lewd playwright – presents to people as either done by humans or AIs.

The action of the human is seen as more intentional than that of the AI, while people are eager to replace AIs with humans. The responsibility also moves up the command chain, confirming the results from the advertisement examples. People may be less forgiving of other humans in scenarios that involve unfair behavior, suggesting that the moral dimension modulates whether the human or the machine is judged more harshly.

Obviously, these are only the first steps in a research line that will develop more in the next few years. Obviously, it will develop alongside technologies that are rapidly changing and shifting. For example, intersection of emotion and AI is an interesting field, as creators are building emotions into AI, and consumers are developing bonds with different avatars. Will that change how we judge the same actions of an Avatar if we have positive emotions, negative emotions or we are indifferent? Moreover, the attitude of people toward technology might change over time, in accordance to the level of understanding of the technology.


Cesar Hidalgo is a researcher, an entrepreneur, and… an artist!

-> As an academic, he leads the Center for Collective Learning at the Artificial and Natural Intelligence Institute (University of Toulouse), he is Honorary Professor at the University of Manchester and a Visiting Professor at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
->As an entrepreneur, Hidalgo founded Datawheel, a startup about the art of reporting – in order to make fast, informed, data-driven decisions by turning your data into stories.
-> As an artist, filmmaker-as-a-hobby, he is active. In 2022, he produced in VR: Music is the Language, Riding Away , Faking to Dance (for free on Steam)
Another VR experience, Biodigital is a Sci-Fi interactive story set in the year 2117 (available on Steam). In My Shoes is an autobiographical web series of 8 episodes that was nominated for a 2018 Webby Award for Best Reality Series. Maybe one day, we will come back with more info about the artistic adventures of Cesar Hidalgo… who knows? 🙂

Bonus for our readers: The AI-human relations and how humans behave toward tech is also explored in the film Brian and Charles – the movie flips the side, reflecting on people’s attitude toward AI (spoiler: not so nice attitudes). Director Jim Archer successfully diffuses the tension around the hot-topic “AI will destroy us”, and British humor came just in time to create the AI-as-a-Spoiled Kid. A welcomed comedy on the topic of Artificial Intelligence, about a low-cost, DIY robot who eats cabbage, and people just love-to-hate him. Read the short review on TechvangArt

Brian and Charles”

Director : Jim Archer
Screenwriters: David Earl, Chris Hayward
Principal Cast: David Earl, Chris Hayward, Louise Brealey, Jamie Michie, Lowri Izzard, Mari Izzard ©Photo credit: Courtesy of Sundance Institute


BOOK3: Crafting a Market for Independent XR – Challenges and Opportunities for Distribution, Circulation and Discoverability

Québec/Canada XR’s study Crafting a Market for Independent XR asked producers, distributors, and curators about the current state of the independent XR ecosystem.
The study draws on quantitative and qualitative findings to offer an up-to-date portrait of trends, emerging business models, distribution challenges, and opportunities for independent XR productions..
Click here to access the full report.

The study asked important questions related to the type of models used by XR producers and distributors, their shifting roles in an evolving market, and how they are adapting to changes in consumer markets.
And some of the key takeaways:

1. Young Market Specifics
Definitely XR market is young – some are even avoiding the term ‘market’ with its opportunities and challenges. Producers have to adapt and sometimes also take the role of distributors.

Most of the current XR-related discussion is in gaming, but many experts consider that long-term, opportunities are expected in new entertainment and expressive media forms.
In the ever changing market, the metrics for evaluating a project’s success are changing: Several respondents consider originality, narrative quality, and user experience to be key factors in an XR project’s success.

When it comes to funding and support needed in emerging markets, both public and private funders need to understand the quickly evolving XR ecosystem and maintain high flexibility to adapt their support structures.

2. Reaching an Audience — Circulation Challenges, Needs, and Deals
“If we want to continue producing, we have to be able to distribute” Chloé Jarry — Lucid Realities, Paris
Reaching to new audiences is key in terms of business models, and sustainability/profitability of the XR market. As such the conversation related
The repost highlight the growing need for specialized XR producers and
distributors. A lot of venues are not familiar with XR type of content, as such producers still need to spend a lot of time and energy to educate venues and distributors about the requirements for showcasing an XR project.
While novelty is still valued, there is also a growing desire for more standardized formats.

3. Distribution and Curation Challenges — New Experimentations and Collaborations
When it comes to XR, professionals should take into consideration not only XR distribution platforms, but also festivals, location-based entertainment, and XR exhibitors. All these have an important role to play as the public’s first points of contact with the medium.

Moreover, XR will find its own grammar and play around and experiment with the social affordances of XR, and not just reproducing the typical film-festival or museum-exhibit formats.

!!! And a new XR Networking Space is coming soon !!!

4. Monetization Challenges and Crafting a Market
The report highlights that it is important to look for diverse production and distribution partners: Hybrid solutions such as co-productions offer ways of splitting the associated risks and expanding a project’s reach. And in case of co-production, IPs remains a crucial element

To download the FULL REPORT, click HERE

The Crafting a Market for Independent XR study is an initiative of Québec/Canada XR, in partnership with MUTEK, Xn Québec, PHI, Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC), and Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM). The project was made possible by the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the City of Montreal as part of their cultural funding agreement with the Government of Quebec.

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