‘Game on’ for video AI as Runway, Stability react to OpenAI’s Sora leap

Runway CEO Cristóbal Valenzuela posted two words on X this afternoon in response to today’s OpenAI surprise demo drop of its new Sora video AI model, which is capable of generating 60-second clips: “game on.”

Clearly, the race for video AI gold is on. After all, just a few months ago Runway blew people’s minds with its Gen-2 update. Three weeks ago, Google introduced its Lumiere video AI generation model, while just last week, Stability AI launched SVD 1.1, a diffusion model for more consistent AI videos.

Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque responded positively to the Sora news, calling OpenAI CEO Sam Altman a “wizard.”

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Today’s Sora news firmly squashed any talk about OpenAI “jumping the shark” in the wake of Andrej Karpathy’s departure; reports that it was suddenly getting into the web search product business; and Sam Altman’s $7 trillion AI chips project.

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Runway has a need for speed

In June 2023, Runway was valued at $1.5 billion, after raising $141 million from investors including Google and Nvidia.

In January, Runway announced it added multiple motion controls to AI videos with its Multi Motion Brush, while it is as yet unclear what feature set Sora offers, or its limitations.

Coincidentally, I spoke to Runway’s creative director Jamie Umpherson yesterday about what I think is one of the company’s really fascinating and clever non-video promotional art projects — its Gen-2 Book of Weights, an analog printed booklet of nothing but numbers that is the first volume (of 6834) what will be the entire collection of Gen-2 model weights.

“It was a fun experiment,” he told me, adding it came from a “conversation in passing as a lot of these more creative experimental ideas do — we were just discussing how funny it would be to make the weights of the model tangible, visual, something that you could actually consume.”

For now, however, Runway will most certainly have to be laser-focused not on art or philosophy, but keeping up with OpenAI and the rest of the pack in order to keep pace in the video AI race.

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