Is this what AI hardware should look like?

Since the beginning of this month, I’ve been pondering the question: Is this what AI hardware should look like? Cristóbal Valenzuela, the CEO of Runway ML, a well-funded generative AI video startup, posted a video on his X account showcasing the “1stAI Machine.” According to Valenzuela, it is “the first physical device for video editing generated by AI.” He envisions a future where video quality matches that of photos, enabling anyone to create movies without the need for traditional equipment. The “1stAI Machine” is a tangible interface that enhances creativity. It is a chunky, angular matte silver device resembling a sound mixing board, with physical dials and knobs for controlling input styles and treatments.

“We anticipate that the quality of videos will soon match that of photos. At that point, anyone will be able to create movies without the need for a camera, lights, or actors; they will simply interact with the AIs. A tool like 1stAI Machine anticipates that moment by exploring tangible interfaces that enhance creativity.” – Cristóbal Valenzuela

The emergence of AI-powered hardware is evident, with the recent debut of the Ai Pin from Humane, a startup founded by ex-Apple engineers. This device, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 AI model, acts as a life assistant and potential smartphone replacement, earning a spot on Time Magazine’s 200 Best Inventions of 2023. With these advancements, the question arises: where does the 1stAI Machine fit in, who built it, and what inspired its creation?

According to Valenzuela, the “1stAI Machine” was created by “SpecialGuestX for 1stAveMachine,” with Runway’s software powering the device. SpecialGuestX (SGX), a creative agency exploring narratives of data, automation, and artificial intelligence, collaborated with 1stAveMachine, a collective of artists, designers, scientists, and creatives in creating commercials and other advertising materials for major brands. Miguel Espada, co-founder of SGX, shed light on the machine’s origin and purpose.

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