The Tech is Here — It’s Time for a Holodeck

Jan 10, 2024
The Tech is Here — It’s Time for a Holodeck

It’s hard not to be excited about the potential of Apple’s Vision Pro, which we explored in yesterday’s Outer Limits.

The future applications of a hardware and software platform like this are nearly limitless. 

And not surprisingly, Apple developed its own operating system — visionOS — which is akin to its smartphone operating system — iOS.

Much like iOS allowed for the development of “the app store,” visionOS will empower software developers to create applications for virtual reality, mixed reality, and augmented reality (AR) applications.

Apple's Vision Pro Headset Powered by visionOS
Source: Apple

Well-designed operating systems are optimized for the technical specifications of the hardware. We can think of them like very clear guidelines for programmers to develop applications for the Vision Pro.

Yesterday, we explored how the Vision Pro will impact video communications in both the workplace and home.

I also referred to applications in productivity, entertainment, and gaming.

The truth is, we were just scratching the surface…

And I couldn’t help but think of even bigger ideas.


What would the confluence of large language models (LLMs, like ChatGPT), massive computational power, advanced graphics processors, Apple’s voice and gesture controls of the Vision Pro, and generative artificial intelligence look like?

I know that probably sounds like a lot of tech mushed together, but the combination can — and will — produce some incredible experiences.

To that end, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Star Trek holodeck.

The Star Trek Holodeck Grid
Source: CBS

Science fiction fans will remember the holodeck as a sterile, grid-based room on the U.S.S. Enterprise.

It’s capable of transforming into any setting imaginable — past, present, or envisioned future.

One of the more memorable Holodeck experiences on Star Trek that Captain Picard particularly enjoyed was called Dixon Hill, where Picard could play the role of the fictional detective in 1940’s San Francisco.

Star Trek on the Holodeck Dixon Hill Program
Image from Star Trek on the Holodeck from the Dixon Hill program

Imagine entering an entirely immersive, fictional world, in which you play the star character. You get to solve exciting mysteries, venture to interesting places, interact with other characters, even learn and acquire new skills.

It’s a great example of how immersive a holodeck would be to the user. The experience would be lifelike, three-dimensional, and adaptive in real time.

If we considered something like this five years ago, it would have been unthinkable.

Even three years ago, with a product like Meta’s Oculus Rift, the same would be true.

But Apple’s Vision Pro shows us the raw potential of creating something far closer to a Holodeck than we’ve ever seen before.

In late December, I introduced “Manifested AI” — a term I coined to refer to the next phase… when we manifest artificial intelligence into forms that we will all be able to easily interact with.

No, we won’t have holomatter just yet — a form of matter that could be held together with force fields on Star Trek — with which we could physically interact with.

But very soon, we can have everything else.

The Next Wave of App Developers

This is where large language models (LLMs), massive computational power, advanced graphics processors, Apple’s voice and gesture controls of the Vision Pro, and generative artificial intelligence come into play.

Here’s how they will come together…

  • Large language models (LLMs): natural language processing and understanding enabling real time communications inside a simulation
  • Computational power and graphics processors: the hardware and horsepower to run a real time simulation
  • Apple’s voice and gesture controls: the seamless, real-time user interface through which a user interacts with the simulation
  • Generative artificial intelligence: the ability to leverage the LLMs and create 3D video in real time.

This got me thinking about which companies would be best suited for developing the software applications, enabling a holodeck-like experience (less the holomatter) using Apple’s Vision Pro platform.

Names like OpenAI’s DALL-E, WOMBO’s Dream, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, Jasper AI, Synthesia, HeyGen, or Deepbrain AI immediately came to mind. 

There are many others that have popped up in the last 12 months as well, which is why I’m so excited.

And it was no surprise at all when the CEO of Midjourney stated on a call earlier this month:

By the end of 2024, hopefully there will be an open real-time virtual world like the Holodeck in Star Trek, where you can stimulate worlds and walk into them, like a ‘virtual world simulator.’”

The reason that this is so significant is that Midjourney is one of the most advanced generative AI companies in the industry right now.

It also has one of the most interesting stories.

The team at Midjourney was able to generate more than $200 million in revenue last year without raising any venture capital. That’s an impressive feat.

And it’s one of the most desired companies in the AI space.

In the current market, it could raise as much capital as it wants in no time. VCs have been banging down their doors in hopes of investing.

Midjourney is already remarkable. We use it almost daily here at Brownridge, and the latest and greatest version 6 will be available by the end of January — I can’t wait.

The important extrapolation for us to see, however, is that text-to-image generation is already incredible and improving by the month.

And AI is already being used for generating video and programming. It’s early, but it is working.

If we take one step further, AI is being used to create 3D images with high resolution.

You’ve probably figured out where this leads…

A Holodeck

What’s next is generative AI capable of producing a 3D environment that changes and adapts and streams in real time.

Essentially a real world Holodeck.

Clearly, the CEO of Midjourney sees the same thing, and he sees a path to doing so over the next 12 months.

This would truly be incredible. I’m sure we can think of many useful applications…

Take education for example. Imagine bringing whatmany kids think of as a stale, boring subject — history — to life with a simulation.

Imagine the feeling of being transported back in time in the middle ages… and the world of knights and castles. Or the Edo period in feudal Japan...

An Immersive Educational Experience in a Holodeck, Created in Midjourney

It would transform education. Visually experiencing something like that enhances understanding and retention.

This kind of application would be just as relevant for stress relief, or gaming/fun, and certainly for workplace training where real world simulations could be presented to employees.

We’re in for a treat.

And we’ll be watching the companies that are innovating with this technology over the course of this year, looking for great opportunities to invest.

What do you think of this issue of Outer Limits? As always, we welcome your feedback and questions, and look forward to them. We read each and every email and address common questions in the Friday AMA issues. Please write to us by clicking here.

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