On the eMerge Americas stage, Rony Abovitz shared his thoughts on the future of technology, his vision for more natural computing that will bring science fiction to life and the tech ecosystem in South Florida. But as to details about the billion-dollar startup’s first product, well, the world will have to wait.
To experience the world more naturally, “we’re trying to build a computer that acts like people, so you don’t have to look at your phone all the time,” said Abovitz, in a discussion on stage with the Knight Foundation’s Miami program director, Matt Haggman, and Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of University of Miami’s College of Engineering.
While Magic Leap coined the “mixed reality” description – something like augmented reality, but different – Abovitz said he prefers a different description for Magic Leap’s technology now: “Spatial computing powered by a digital lightfield.” It will allow you to experience the world more naturally. Goodbye tech neck.
But people who came to the talk wanting to know when they can get their hands on the tech, Magic Leap remained vague, as usual.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
When will the first product launch? “Launch is not far away.” ... “If we were at NASA … you would see a rocket sitting on the launch pad.”
What will it cost? “It’s being priced for affordability in the mass premium category. .. It’s not a Kindle kind of pricing but it’s not unattainable.”
Is Magic Leap raising another big round of venture capital that will value the company at $6 billion to $8 billion, as has been rumored? “You never stop being in the mode of talking to investors. It never stops. It’s like breathing.”
We’re trying to make science fiction real.
Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz
He encouraged students and universities to be drilling in on artificial intelligence – but with an “inward ethical path.”
“You can be replaced by AI computing or you can be amplified by it. ... We are people-first. Everything is about amplifying you, not replacing you.”
Abovitz said Magic Leap has more than 1,000 employees, with about 800 in South Florida. “We are bringing in people from all over the world. This brain trust will at some point spin out their own startups.” The Magic Leap platform also will empower hundreds of thousands of creators, maybe the next Facebook or Snapchat, he said.
“We’re trying to make science fiction real.”
He said basing his company in Plantation allows him to get away from “the noise and group think” of the West Coast and think clearly. He believes South Florida could become a hemispheric tech hub, something he didn’t feel when he was co-founding and growing Mako Surgical, he said. “There is something going on – I feel it.”
Update: Here is the video of the talk.
Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg