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88 Names Podcast
36 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
Bonus Episode: Live Reading by Author Matt Ruff
In this bonus episode, author Matt Ruff reads from his novel 88 Names. This episode was recorded live on AltspaceVR on April 13, 2021.
64 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
Season 2, Episode 6: Fin
Co-hosts Blake Collier and Matt Ruff sit down to discuss their thoughts and takeaways from two seasons speaking with engineers and developers and artists working on the cusp of Virtual and Augment Reality and Immersive spaces.
34 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
Season 2, Episode 5: Drew Stone
Co-hosts Matt Ruff and Blake Collier speak with Locusium Founder Drew Stone about helping to guide new users in VR spaces that are friendly and safe.
68 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
Season 2, Episode 4: Dr. Todd P. Chang, MD MAcM
Co-hosts Matt Ruff and Blake Collier speak with Dr. Todd P. Chang about the role of VR technology in medical fields.
63 minutes | Mar 24, 2021
Season 2, Episode 3: Dungeon Dudes
88 Names author Matt Ruff and co-host Blake Collier talk to Monty Martin and Kelly McLaughlin, the Dungeon Dudes, about Dungeons & Dragons, video games, VR, immersive theater, and more!
47 minutes | Mar 17, 2021
Season 2, Episode 2: Sasha Samochina
Matt & Blake talk to Sasha Samochina, an award-winning creative technologist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
74 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
Season 2, Episode 1: Mike Pondsmith
Matt Ruff and Blake Collier speak to Mike Pondsmith, creator of Cyberpunk.
58 minutes | May 7, 2020
Bonus Episode: Live Reading and Q&A by Author Matt Ruff
In this bonus episode, author Matt Ruff reads the first chapter from his novel 88 Names and takes questions from a live audience. This episode was recorded live on AltspaceVR on April 17, 2020.
24 minutes | May 4, 2020
Episode 8: Simón Rojas & Amir Ebrahimnia, Co-founders of Derooted
Matt Ruff and Blake Collier speak to Amir Ebrahimnia and Simón Rojas, co-founders of Derooted Immersive, about what creativity looks like when working with major brands, how the quarantine has shifted the work they do and affected their day-to-day business, and what they see as the benefits and potential drawbacks of immersive technology.
63 minutes | Apr 28, 2020
Episode 7: Noah Nelson
Noah Nelson has made a life of exploring the numerous ways that the audience transcends the proscenium, or stage, that separates them from the experience on the stage or screen. In this delightful and very human conversation, Blake Collier and Matt Ruff dig into the worlds of immersive theater and technology, everything from escape rooms to immersive Shakespeare. Noah breaks down the moving parts of these forms of immersive experience and lets the listener in on the power of acting and storytelling and how these things only make the experience more powerful. We also dig into where Noah sees the most visceral effects of technology in the world and gives us a glimpse at his biggest hopes and fears for the future of immersive technology. Noah Nelson is the founder of No Proscenium, a publication dedicated to exploring the immersive and experiential arts and a co-founder of LEIA – the League of Experiential & Immersive Artists. He holds a bachelor in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University. His reporting has been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered and APM’s Marketplace.
27 minutes | Apr 20, 2020
Episode 6: Joanna Popper
Blake Collier and Matt Ruff talk to Joanna Popper about HP’s own interests in the development of VR/AR—especially in the realms of location-based entertainment. We talk about what the effects of the technology are on a global scale and the intentions of the creators versus the intentions of the users and how those things sometimes (or often) diverge. Joanna Popper is a Hollywood and Silicon Valley media executive. She is HP’s Global Head of Virtual Reality for Location Based Entertainment. Prior she was EVP of Media & Marketing at Singularity University and VP Marketing at NBCUniversal. Joanna developed a TV show partnership with NBC and Singularity University for a new TV series on technology and innovation. Joanna was selected as “50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment,” “Top Women in Media: Game Changers,” “Top Women in Media: Industry Leaders,” “Digital It List,” “101 Women Leading the VR Industry” and is on the Coalition for the Women in XR Fund.
63 minutes | Apr 13, 2020
Episode 5: Michael Madary
Michael Madary (along with fellow philosopher, Thomas Metzinger) penned the first Code of Ethical Conduct for virtual and augmented realities. Blake Collier and Matt Ruff explore the ethics of technology and what it looks like to attempt to prophecy all of the potential negative elements of an industry that is still largely in its infancy. We dig into subjects like avatar ownership, failures at switching between “realities,” and embodied persuasion via advertisement and other embedded messages. We then dive into some of the potential negative ramifications of VR/AR for governments and militaries along with the more intimate elements of interpersonal interactions online. This is a fascinating and important discussion for our times. We hope you enjoy. Michael Madary is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at University of the Pacific. He specializes in the ethics of emerging technology as well as cognitive science. Madary co-authored the first code of ethics for immersive technology. His first book, Visual Phenomenology, was published in 2017 with MIT Press.
51 minutes | Apr 7, 2020
Episode 4: Mariana Acuña Acosta
Blake Collier and Matt Ruff speak with Mariana Acuña Acosta about the ins and outs of VR/AR development, where the technology and the tools to develop it are at in access to the masses, and what these technological shifts mean for the greater world. We also dig into how businesses counteract and attempt to prevent bad actors from utilizing this technology for their own purposes and what role they can and should play in calls for regulation. And, finally, what does it look like to be one company amongst many in this burgeoning world of development. Acosta is an absolute delight to talk you and we think you will love this conversation. Mariana Acuña Acosta is a technologist, pixel pusher and entrepreneur. During her years working at Foundry, she focused on Virtual Reality post-production workflows, as well as being the Head of Creatives in the Americas. Most recently she co-founded Glassbox Technologies, where she leads the roadmap for new and existing technology, developing tools for Virtual Production using Virtual Reality to transform the way filmmaking is done today. Before her switch into software, she worked as an on-set VFX supervisor & senior compositor and has over 13 years experience in the motion picture industry.
58 minutes | Mar 28, 2020
Episode 3: Cory Doctorow
Blake Collier and Matt Ruff talk to Cory Doctorow about the state of technology and how it influences everything from economics to the environment. We also touch on how pop culture like fiction shapes the development of VR and AR tech as well as tackling the issues of closed tech systems like Apple. This conversation dives deep on some philosophical and technical ideas, but remains deeply profound for anyone who wants to think on the impact of technology on the world. Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of Radicalized and Walkaway, science fiction for adults, a YA graphic novel called In Real Life, the nonfiction business book Information Doesn’t Want to be Free, and young adult novels like Homeland, Pirate Cinema and Little Brother. His next book is Poesy the Monster Slayer, a picture book for young readers. He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate, is a Visiting Professor of Computer Science at Open University, a Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in Los Angeles.
63 minutes | Mar 17, 2020
Episode 2: Matt Ruff
It’s just the two of us on this special day! Blake Collier turns his sights on his co-host, Matt Ruff, and digs into numerous aspects of his new book which you can purchase through links on the podcast website! Matt talks about how he originates his unique ideas for books and when the ideas finally click together into a whole story, casting his characters and what it means as an author to truly seek diversity in novels, and what motivates the story of 88 Names. Then we turn to some of the ideas in the books like how this technology affects the human taxonomy, what truth even is in a pseudonymous world, and where sex and technology collide (pun intended!). This is a deep dive into what is a truly entertaining and compelling read. However, don’t take our word for it, read it for yourself! It is available wherever you get books! Matt Ruff is the award-winning author of seven novels, including Fool on the Hill, Set This House in Order, Bad Monkeys, The Mirage, and Sewer, Gas & Electric. His novel Lovecraft Country is being produced as an HBO series by Jordan Peele, Misha Green, and J.J. Abrams. In Ruff’s new novel, 88 Names, we meet John Chu, an online “sherpa” who provides ready-made characters and expertise to rich clients who wish to dabble in VR role-playing games. Chu suspects that his latest client, the pseudonymous Mr. Jones, may actually be North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, whose interest in VR gaming has more to do with power than entertainment. The ensuing cat-and-mouse game plays out largely in virtual reality, where everyone Chu interacts with—friend or foe—is an avatar whose true identity and motives he must constantly question. 88 Names combines a gripping and fast-paced adventure with a thoughtful exploration of the social implications of VR technology. Publishers Weekly calls 88 Names “pure geek gold,” and Booklist writes in a starred review, “Ruff’s richly imagined world of next-generation internet is plausible and a bit frightening. The action inside the virtual gaming world is sleek and exciting, but the extrapolation of identity, friendship, and human relationships makes the narrative shine.” Learn more about Matt Ruff and his novels at his website: www.bymattruff.com.
51 minutes | Mar 13, 2020
Episode 1: Brandon Oldenburg
Blake Collier and Matt Ruff visit with Flight School’s Brandon Oldenburg about his 2012 Oscar-winning animated short, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, the shifting landscapes of virtual and augmented realities and how they have changed the art of illustration and storytelling, the potential drawbacks of the mediums, and how immersive technology can help people understand the experiences of those in the past through the likes of Flight School’s World War I immersive experience, War Remains. Join us for this wonderful conversation with a pioneer on the frontlines of VR technology. Brandon Oldenburg is an award-winning film director, designer and immersive storyteller. Stories that he has directed have won an Academy Award, multiple Emmy Awards, multiple Gold Lions at Cannes including the Grand Prix and a host of other industry accolades. As Chief Creative Officer at Flight School, Brandon leads the team of creative directors and artists to produce innovative stories with new technologies. Prior to Flight School, Brandon co-founded Reel FX and Moonbot Studios, both leaders in animation and emerging technology.
10 minutes | Mar 4, 2020
Episode 0: Matt Ruff
Blake Collier and Matt Ruff talk about how Matt got the idea for his 2016 novel, Lovecraft Country, and what the process of working with Misha Green (Underground), Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us), and J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: Episodes 7 & 9) on the HBO adaptation of the book was like, especially since the book had originally been a television pitch back in 2007!
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