OpenAI’s Sora just made its first music video and it’s like a psychedelic trip

OpenAI recently published a music video for the song Worldweight by August Kamp made entirely by their text-to-video engine, Sora. You can check out the whole thing on the company’s official YouTube channel and it’s pretty trippy, to say the least. Worldweight consists of a series of short clips in a wide 8:3 aspect ratio featuring fuzzy shots of various environments. 

You see a cloudy day at the beach, a shrine in the middle of a forest, and what looks like pieces of alien technology. The ambient track coupled with the footage results in a uniquely ethereal experience. It’s half pleasant and half unsettling. 

It’s unknown what text prompts were used on Sora; Kamp didn’t share that information. But she did explain the inspiration behind them in the description. She states that whenever she created the track, she imagined what a video representing Worldweight would look like. However, she lacked a way to share her thoughts. Thanks to Sora, this is no longer an issue as the footage displays what she had always envisioned. It's “how the song has always ‘looked’” from her perspective.

Embracing Sora

If you pay attention throughout the entire runtime, you’ll notice hallucinations. Leaves turn into fish, bushes materialize out of nowhere, and flowers have cameras instead of petals. But because of the music’s ethereal nature, it all fits together. Nothing feels out of place or nightmare-inducing. If anything, the video embraces the nightmares.

We should mention August Kamp isn’t the only person harnessing Sora for content creation. Media production company Shy Kids recently published a short film on YouTube called “Air Head” which was also made on the AI engine. It plays like a movie trailer about a man who has a balloon for a head.

Analysis: Lofty goals

It's hard to say if Sora will see widespread adoption judging by this content. Granted, things are in the early stages, but ready or not, that hasn't stopped OpenAI from pitching its tech to major Hollywood studios. Studio executives are apparently excited at the prospects of AI saving time and money on production. 

August Kamp herself is a proponent of the technology stating, “Being able to build and iterate on cinematic visuals intuitively has opened up categorically new lanes of artistry for me”. She looks forward to seeing “what other forms of storytelling” will appear as artificial intelligence continues to grow.

In our opinion, tools such Sora will most likely enjoy a niche adoption among independent creators. Both Kamp and Shy Kids appear to understand what the generative AI can and cannot do. They embrace the weirdness, using it to great effect in their storytelling. Sora may be great at bringing strange visuals to life, but in terms of making “normal-looking content”, that remains to be seen.

People still talk about how weird or nightmare-inducing content made by generative AI is. Unless OpenAI can surmount this hurdle, Sora may not amount to much beyond niche usage.

It’s still unknown when Sora will be made publicly available. OpenAI is holding off on a launch, citing potential interference in global elections as one of its reasons. Although, there are plans to release the AI by the end of 2024.

If you're looking for other platforms, check out TechRadar's list of the best AI video makers for 2024.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

A Meta Quest 3 bug has made the headset unusable for many, but a fix is coming

If you've managed to avoid Meta Quest 3 update v62 you might want to keep it uninstalled for a while longer. That’s because some users who have downloaded the update, which was released last month, have been plagued by an annoying warning popup telling them there’s dust or debris in their USB port, when this isn’t the case.

What makes this popup especially annoying is that even if you try to dismiss the erroneous warning it’ll reappear again and again, leaving the headset feeling “essentially worthless” according to some disgruntled Meta Quest 3 customers.

It’s not clear what's causing the issue – I haven’t seen the popup at all, and I’ve been using my Quest 3 every single day for my VR fitness experiment, and anecdotal accounts from social media suggest that even if two people are using the headset in similar ways, one may see the popup while the other doesn't. But now there’s some potentially good news from Meta.

The Meta Quest 3 and controllers on their charging station which is itself on a wooden desk next to a lamp

We suggest only using official Quest 3 chargers (Image credit: Meta)

On the main Meta Community Forum page where people have been sharing their experiences, an official Meta Quest Support moderator has shared an update saying “Issue Replicated. Fix In Progress.”

While this is great news for the many Quest 3 users annoyed by the bogus USB-C port warning, the moderator stressed that the team doesn’t yet have a timeline for when a fix will be available – just that they've been able to replicate the issue, and have started to test possible solutions.

This vagueness has resulted in undertandable annoyance amongst those affected – especially those who have been having troubles with the warning message for over six weeks since v62 rolled out. In the forum thread linked above, we’ve seen people threatening to never buy Meta VR tech ever again, recommending that people file chargebacks on the credit card they bought the headset with, and generally venting their frustrations with the issue.

If you’re in this boat, is there anything you can do?

What can you do to avoid the Quest 3 bug? 

The Meta Quest 3 resting on a blue couch with its controllers on a blanket

Can the bug be avoided? (Image credit: Meta)

As we said above, because there’s no obvious cause for this issue it’s tough for us to recommend what you can do to avoid it. The main piece of advice we can give is not to update to v62 if you haven’t already. 

If you've already updated to v62, based on what we've seen on the community thread we’d suggest only using the official Meta Quest 3 charging cable with your headset, as some people have suggested that third-party cables have been a cause of their problems. We’d also recommend using for headset for standalone experiences rather than wired ones to avoid setting off the popup.

If the popup is appearing for you, however, then there doesn’t appear to be much you can do beyond trying to push through it. We’ve seen some people say it only appears when their headset is 80-100% charged – so you might have success if you don't fully recharge your Quest 3 between sessions – and some people have said rebooting their device caused it to go away (though others have said it had zero effect).

Unfortunately, these are the best solutions we can come up with until Meta releases a proper update, so hopefully one isn’t too far away – although given the vagueness of the timeline Meta has offered, who knows how long we'll be waiting.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11 bug that made some users wrongly suspect they’d been hacked has finally been fixed – but it took Microsoft over a year

Microsoft has fixed a bug in Windows 11 that has been hanging around forever, pretty much – or for over a year anyway.

In fact, as Windows Latest observes, it took Microsoft fifteen months to fix the problem with File Explorer whereby it would simply pop into the foreground with no warning.

In other words, you might be busy working away at some task or other and File Explorer suddenly appears on top of all your other windows, for absolutely no reason.

An odd problem indeed, but we’re told that the cure is packaged up in the latest update for Windows 11. That’s the recently released cumulative update for December, also known as patch KB5033375.

Microsoft notes: “This update addresses an issue that affects File Explorer windows. When you do not expect them, they appear in the foreground.”

The bug seems to happen randomly on affected PCs, and worse still, Windows Latest says that it can occur on a roughly hourly basis in some scenarios, which is way too regularly for our liking.


Analysis: False hacking suspicions

The thing about this bug is that it isn’t just a distraction or annoyance, but more than this, it may make some Windows 11 users wrongly suspect that they’ve been hacked. After all, your PC doing things of its own accord, when you’re not touching the keyboard or the mouse perhaps, is a sign of potential compromise – and certainly a freaky thing to experience if nothing else.

In this respect, the File Explorer bug may have caused some undue worry on the part of those experiencing it, who may have been running virus scans and all sorts of other carry-on, imagining that there could be a potential breach of security on their system somewhere.

It’s good that this is fixed, but it should never take more than a year for a problem to be banished from Windows 11. There have certainly been some relieved users we’ve seen on the likes of Reddit rejoicing that this gremlin in the works has finally been dealt with, while scratching their heads at just how long it took Microsoft to untangle this one.

You might also like…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Google Maps just made it a lot easier to plan holiday trips with better travel tools

With the holiday season just over the horizon, Google Maps is receiving an update to make planning and traveling around these hectic times more manageable.

The patch consists of three new features. First, the app will gain updated “transit directions” that’ll tell you “the best route to your destination based on key factors”. This includes the overall length of the trip, estimated time of arrival, plus the number of transfers you’ll have to take in order to get there. It’ll even be possible to customize the route using filters telling Google Maps to focus on a specific type of transit, like subways, or if you want one with minimal walking. 

Additionally, the app will tell where you can find the entrances and exits to stations “in over 80 cities around the world,” including Boston, London, New York City, Sydney, and Toronto. It'll point out “what side of the street they're on” as well as if there is a “clear walking route”.

Newfound collaboration

Next, the collaborative list tool will allow invited users to vote on an activity via emoji reactions. You can choose between a heart, a smiley face, a flame, or a flying stack of cash if you’re interested in going. For those who aren’t, a thumbs-down icon will be available.

Speaking of which, people can also react to publicly posted photographs on Google Maps with an emoji. The company states that “in some cases” you’ll be given the opportunity to use mashup reactions via Emoji Kitchen. The emoji mashup selections seem to depend on what the app’s AI sees in an image. For example, if it detects a bagel, the mashup will include the food item, and potentially, the yummy face. These custom-made icons will automatically be generated.

Everything you see here will be rolling out globally to Android and iOS devices starting today. The rest of the announcement consists of the tech giant shouting out certain Google Maps tools that you can use to help “navigate the holidays” like finding nearby charging stations for electric vehicles or purchasing train tickets right on the app.

If you’re interested in what else it can do, check out TechRadar’s list of the 10 things you didn’t know Google Maps could do

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Want Windows on your iPhone? Microsoft’s made it happen anyway with its new app

You can now get Windows on your Apple iPhone, iPad, or Mac – sort of – with Microsoft’s latest innovation for its operating system, although this currently comes with a sizable catch (more on that later).

Of course, we’re not talking about a full-blown installation of the desktop OS, but rather, the new Windows App from Microsoft.

The application allows you to stream a Windows 11 desktop from a remote PC to your Apple device (or indeed another Windows device, or anything with a browser). Or alternatively you can stream a Windows 365 instance, or other options like Azure Virtual Desktop.

The Windows App is essentially a hub to facilitate streaming whichever instances you want to a given device. It packs support for multi-monitor setups, and device redirection to allow for the use of connected hardware like printers, webcams, speakers and so on hooked up to the device that the app is running on.

The Windows App is currently in preview – so expect potential flakiness – and available for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and Windows itself. Those streaming a Windows desktop instance via a web browser don’t have to install any software at all.


Analysis: A business move, but that could change

Windows App

(Image credit: Microsoft)

So, that catch we mentioned: as well as it being a beta, the Windows App only works for Microsoft business accounts, not personal accounts – yet. 

But as The Verge, which picked up on the app’s release, points out, the login on the Windows version of the Windows app seemingly has an option to use a personal Microsoft account, it just doesn’t work yet.

That’s not exactly surprising as this is a beta, which is the other caveat here – not everything will necessarily work properly yet. This is a more than a hopeful suggestion that consumers will be able to use the app and stream a remote PC to their Apple (or other) device eventually, come release.

Of course, another omission here is the lack of Android support, and presumably that’s something else that will be in the pipeline.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Google Photos just made it much easier to tidy up your library – here’s how

Google Photos is introducing a pair of AI-powered features to help you organize all the family pictures and screenshots in your messy profile.

Moving forward, the service will be able to identify photographs “that were taken close together” and then group them together into what Google calls Photo Stacks. It appears the AI operates by selecting images that have visual similarities to each other. The software is not going to pick out pictures with a different composition or subjects in them. Once the selections have been made, Google Photos will choose one of them to be the lead image. Of course, you do have the option to manually pick the lead, “modify the stacks, or turn off” the feature entirely. 

See more

Tidying-up screenshots

Google Photos will be doing something similar for “screenshots and documents in your gallery” by automatically categorizing them “into more helpful albums”. There will be an album for images of your ID card, and receipts, plus one for “event information” like an upcoming concert or festival. The goal here is to make it easier to locate “what you need when you need it without having” to dig through a mess of photographs. 

The AI will also allow you to set reminders on your phone calendar using the information from a screenshot of a ticket or “flyer for an upcoming event.” As an example, let’s say you took a screenshot of a ticket for a concert scheduled for December 2. You will see a “Set Reminder” option at the bottom of the picture in Google Photos. Tapping it causes a calendar entry to show up where you can enter more information or edit it. The company explains you can choose to “automatically archive your screenshots… after 30 days” which will hide them from the main gallery. They can still, however, be found in their respective albums.

See more

The announcement states the Google Photos update is currently rolling out to Android and iOS. Be sure to keep an eye out for the patch when it arrives. No word if there will be a desktop version, although we did ask Google for more information. This story will be updated if we hear back.

While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best photo storage and sharing sites in 2023.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows Copilot might be the biggest change Microsoft has ever made to its long-running OS

Clippy, that helpful paperclip sprite that used to watch your work in Microsoft Word and do its best to help you, was never that smart, or even that deeply integrated with Microsoft's popular computing platform.

Now imagine if Clippy got a brain and body transplant that made it a true genius and then hooked it into the deepest parts of Windows 11. That's Windows Copilot, which was among the big reveals at Microsoft's 2023 Surface Event.

Microsoft showed off a lot of Copilot demos during its packed AI and Surface launch event, but it wasn't until I got an up-close and personal demo of the Copilot preview in action on a Windows 11 system that I truly understood it and the ramifications for the next generation of Windows 11 users.

When the Windows 11 update arrives on September 26, it will bring with it the Copilot preview. Microsoft tells me that it will work with every PC that supports Windows 11.

To be clear, Copilot is not an app. It's marginally a utility. It's more like the voice inside Windows 11 head, a consciousness that is fully aware of everything Windows 11 can do, and much of what you're doing on Windows 11.

Copilot combines all of Microsoft's best AI work to date. It can bring a large language model (LLM) to understand text, and context, and produce fresh text. It integrates Bing Chat to make it conversational (and also supports voice, though I did not see that in my demos).

Two things, though, make Copilot feel like a true part of the Windows 11 experience. The first is, crucially, that Windows 11 copy and paste triggers Copilot, basically waking it up to the possibility of working directly with you.

Image 1 of 7

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 7

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 7

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 7

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 7

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 7

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 7

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)

In the demo I saw, we opened a Word document full of a massive list of things to do in New York City – there's nothing like a sea of gray text to make the eyes glaze over.

Copilot isn't pushy like Clippy. It didn't pop up immediately asking if it could help. Instead, copying the text set it off.

The fact that Copilot can see that you're performing one of the most fundamental Windows 11 tasks, and using that action to help you, is a big deal. Once Copilot sees the clipboard text, it politely asks if you want to use that text to chat. Once we did that, Copilot's chat asked what we wanted to do with it (Revise, Summarize, Expand, Explain). You can be quite specific in your requests, so we asked for distances between Tribeca and our hotel.

Copilot is deep inside Windows, but it's not shut out from the outside. As with Bing Chat, Copilot sources the web for answers. In fact, it synthesizes the best answers and then, yes, provides citations and links for it all.

Copilot tries to be extra helpful by going beyond the initial request. In this instance, it also quickly served up some local attractions.

The other thing that tells you Copilot isn't simply a plugin or add-on is that it has its own invoke and dismiss key combo: You use the Windows button and 'c.'

In my opinion, you don't get the keys unless you're part of Windows and not just a temporary tenant.

Image 1 of 6

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 6

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 6

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 6

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 6

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 6

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)

Other demos further solidified my belief that this is not your father's Windows 11.

When we dragged a food photo from Outlook into the chat windows, Copilot asked what we wanted to do with it. We requested instructions on how to make the unidentified dish. It took a moment (Copilot preview isn't always that fast) for it to identify it as Shashuka, and then offer detailed instructions on how to cook it.

Copilot further demonstrated its integration by working seamlessly with Windows Snip (which always sends snipped images to the clipboard). We snipped a math problem image and, naturally, when we asked, Copilot helped us solve it.

Image 1 of 5

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 5

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 5

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 5

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 5

Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)

When we told Copilot we wanted to know how to focus at work, it used its platform integration to help guide us through Windows 11's Focus settings.

Copilot can be used for the most prosaic of Windows tasks, as well. Our demo desktop was getting a little cluttered, so we asked Copilot to “snap my windows.” It quickly organized the desktop and offered advice on how to make adjustments.

Windows Copilot Preview will simply arrive with the Windows 11 update. You won't have to install anything and there's no requirement that you use it. However, based on what I saw, if you ignore Copilot, you may be missing out on an entirely new way of working with the World's most widely used desktop platform.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

WhatsApp just made your group chats a lot easier to name and use

WhatsApp is launching a new feature to its messaging platform – the ability to create groups without having to give them a name yourself.

It’s a very simple addition, but a helpful one at that. According to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who revealed the update on his Facebook page, WhatsApp will instead dynamically use the names of all the participants in a group if you can’t think of one on the spot. For example, a chat room could be called “John & Jane & Brian & Suzy” because those four are in the group. This naming convention can also help differentiate chats if some you’re a participant in share a similar topic or have a few of the same people.

Limitations  

Zuckerberg’s announcement doesn’t go into any further details; not even a quick mention. But a recent report from TechCrunch does reveal some of the tool’s  limitations.

A company representative told the publication unnamed groups are limited to just six people “unlike a typical WhatsApp group” which can hold up to 1,024 participants. It’s important to mention that the dynamic name itself will be different for each person. It depends who you have saved on your contacts. So, if you have someone down as “Brian”, that’s what you’ll see. If you don’t, you’ll see their phone number listed in the header.

Availability and future updates 

TheVerge claims the update is currently “rolling out globally” to all WhatsApp users on “iOS, Android, web, and macOS.” And there’s a chance it hasn’t arrived on your device yet since it hadn’t on ours. Be sure to keep an eye out for the patch when it does arrive.

WhatsApp has had a bountiful 2023 as this feature is just the latest in a long line of additions to the messaging platform. Earlier this month, we saw the introduction of a screen-sharing tool allowing users to display “live web pages with friends and family”. Prior to that, there was the launch of Instant Video Message for, what else, sending short personal clips.

We’re not entirely sure what Meta has cooking up in the background for future releases. However, a new beta suggests WhatsApp is currently testing group voice chats.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Google just made life much easier for Windows 11 users with Android phones

Windows 11 (and 10) users can now easily share files between their Android devices and Windows PC, thanks to Google’s Nearby Share app which has been officially released for Microsoft’s desktop operating systems.

You may recall that Nearby Share was brought to Windows 11 as a beta app in March – before that, it was a tool for Chromebooks – so this represents the full release of the now-finished software.

For the unfamiliar, Nearby Share lets you share files (or indeed website links) just by selecting the option and tapping on the destination PC. You’ll then receive a notification of the file arriving on your computer.

Or working the other way round, from a Windows desktop, you can simply drag a file to the Nearby Share app, and it’ll be whizzed over to the Android smartphone.

Google has made a couple of nifty additions for this final incarnation of Nearby Share, too.

Firstly, an image preview is shown in the device notification to allow you to see that the correct file is being shared. And secondly, the file transfer is now furnished with an estimated time to complete, which for larger files that might take a while, is pretty handy.

Windows 11 Nearby Share

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Analysis: Faster and more reliable – just plain better

Those are some useful improvements, and overall Nearby Share is a smart feature to get on Windows 11 and Windows 10, particularly now any rough edges should have been smoothed out in beta testing.

On top of those additional features mentioned, Google also notes that it has made the file transfer process speedier since the beta app, and ensured better stability with fewer crashes encountered.

It’ll be no surprise to hear that the Nearby Share app was already popular. Even as a beta, Google tells us that 1.7 million people across the globe installed the app, so we can expect those ranks to swell considerably now we have the finished version.

For those keen to take the Nearby Share plunge, bear in mind that the transfer process is all the more seamless if you’re signed into your Google account on both your PC and phone.

Via Betanews

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

WhatsApp just made transferring chat history so easy but there may be one big limit

WhatsApp is making it easier to transfer chat logs from your old phone to a new one just by scanning a QR code.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the initial announcement on his Instagram channel where he states this method lets you move your data privately without ever having to leave your devices.” Looking at the video he posted, you first open up the QR code on the older device, then scan said code on the newer phone. Give it about 10 seconds to finish up and you’re done. Other reports state the Chat Transfer tool can be found under the Chats section in the Settings menu.

See more

Compared to the old method of having to back up your history on either Google Drive or iCloud, this is a lot more straightforward. You’re effectively cutting out the middleman plus you don’t have to worry about hitting storage limits if your WhatsApp account has several gigabytes worth of media saved on it.

As great as this new feature may be, it appears there is a catch. TheVerge claims the QR code chat log transfer “only works between devices running the same operating system, so Android to Android or iOS to iOS.” If you want to move your data from, say, a Samsung Galaxy phone to an iPhone or vice versa, you’ll have to head over to WhatsApp’s Help Center for instructions on how to do so.

We asked Meta to confirm if this is true. We’ll update this story at a later time.

Availability

Meta is currently rolling out the Chat Transfer tool in waves to all its users. Be sure to keep an eye out for the patch once it arrives. No word if there are plans to add a similar feature to the desktop version of WhatsApp.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, that’s because WABetaInfo first revealed the update back in early May when it was only available to beta testers. The publication has since shown off other interesting changes coming to WhatsApp. For instance, a WhatsBeta beta on Android from late May introduces screen-sharing for video calls, which you can activate right after installation and try out with others. There are also plans to introduce multi-account support to the platform giving people a way to swap between profiles on the same smartphone.

While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best secure smartphones for June 2023.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More