Bad Luck Spots, Gamifying Sleep, and Deepfake Art

PLUS: If I wanted bad music I’d listen to The Actual Weeknd
April 19, 2023

We’re less than 55 days away from our inaugural Visions Summit, futurists! We have less than 100 tickets left to this first-of-its kind event. 

On June 15, 2023 we’re bringing this year’s VISIONS report to life with spectacle and panache. You don’t want to miss this — deep insights, jaw-dropping visuals, incredible information, and killer discussions on the future of Commerce.

If you’re a leader in Commerce, it’s your responsibility to build the future of your brand. Visions Summit equips you to do that. 

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— Phillip

“How Can We Monetize Sleep?” The attention economy finally overcame its final boss: your unconsciousness. Pokémon Sleep, a game you play by sleeping, will debut this year. This is next-level world-building that continues a trend that gamifies body data and the quantified self, creating more opportunities for us to status-signal and flex to each other. Does this further divide society? Maybe. But who cares, as long as I get a Gigantamax Snorlax out of it.

UMG Strikes Down Deepfake Art. As boring and lifeless as the deepfake track “Heart on my Sleeve” was, it didn’t stop UMG from calling for a ban on all AI-generated artwork. Some might argue that The Weeknd, the living artist, has been deepfaking as good music for some time.

In other news, ChatGPT was asked to write a song in Nick Cave’s style. From the Red Hand Files: “What ChatGPT is, in this instance, is replication as travesty. ChatGPT may be able to write a speech or an essay or a sermon or an obituary; but it cannot create a genuine song. It could perhaps in time create a song that is, on the surface, indistinguishable from an original, but it will always be a replication, a kind of burlesque."

More Sights & Sounds. Montana has passed a bill which would ban TikTok, which if signed into law would make downloading the app illegal and punishable with fines of up to $10,000. Apple is showing the smartphone industry the way by capturing all market segments through longevity of support. Razor Group has acquired Stryze, as well as raised $88.4 million in Series C funding, bringing its valuation up to $1.2 billion. SpaceX has branded merch. Young members of the Chinese workforce are leaving prestigious corporate work in favor manual labor and say that it’s worth the pay cuts. OpenAI’s CEO thinks the age of huge AI models has already run its course and new ideas are required for the future. Pixel tracking has caused some issues for telehealth startups concerning at-risk patient health information. Rally has raised $12 million in Series A funding. San Francisco is willing to pay for pop-up shops to fill its empty storefronts in the city’s downtown. Reddit plans to start charging companies for access to its A.P.I.

Coach Couch // Sleeps on a Plane. Air New Zealand is now offering Economy Skycouch, where coach passengers can book a full row of seats for themselves and get a little sleeper seat to stretch out on for long flights. The company is also planning to debut plane bunk beds as an option in September.

BRBoots to Fill. A 6’10” teen in Michigan was having trouble finding size 23 shoes, and after his mom started a GoFundMe to raise money for custom orthopedic shoes, Under Armour, Puma, and Italian company Mauri Shoes have stepped in to offer custom-made shoes for athletics and school dances. Meanwhile, MSCHF has big shoes to fill, with their Timberland x MSCHF boot release as a followup to the Big Red Boot. No word yet if they’re available in size 23. 

Photo: Mountain Dew

Aging and Raging. Hard Mountain Dew threw a wild spring break party in Florida at Cypress Falls retirement community. The party-animals-turned-brand-ambassadors showed that they can definitely Do the Dew.

Let Them them Cook Shallots, in Shallot. Le Creuset did an "art x commerce" press conference to reveal their new colorway: shallot. Featuring custom art painted with Benjamin Moore shades of Shallot, the reveal tore back layers of paper like the skin of an onion. Art isn’t usually so literal, but it’s nice to see brands making the effort.

More Palate News. Caribou Coffee is not going to charge extra for non-dairy milk options, at least for Caribou Perks loyalty program members using the Caribou app. After sending a memo saying not to use Chat GPT, KitKat made a new ad using AI to make fun of AI?

The Cost of Beauty. Dove launched its Dove Self-Esteem Project campaign to keep kids safe from toxic beauty content, supported by an incredibly poignant short film titled, “Cost of Beauty.” The company is pushing for legislative action to protect kids from mental health issues and eating disorders that can stem from social media usage.

Bad Luck Spots. NYC-based artist Felix Morelo is drawing “Bad Luck Spots” on Washington Square and no one in the city wants to step on them.

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