Makers of The Metaverse: Corey Hill Of Veritone On The Future Of The VR, AR & Mixed Reality Industries

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Forget the word impossible — Replace it with persistence, confidence and patience.

The Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality & Mixed Reality Industries are so exciting. What is coming around the corner? How will these improve our lives? What are the concerns we should keep an eye out for? Aside from entertainment, how can VR or AR help work or other parts of life? To address this, we had the pleasure of interviewing Corey Hill.

Corey Hill (also known as ‘chill’) is a self-realized technology expert with a dynamic career spanning multiple roles and industries. Collaborating to create value by leveraging technology and imagination is where he’ll tell you he’s living the dream.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory and how you grew up?

I grew up with technology almost second nature to me. My father worked for a leading tech company, which meant not only being privileged to the latest ideas and innovation coming down the pike but also moving quite a bit — which spurred my love for travel and expanded my horizons early on. Being curious and having access to computers, I spent a lot of time tinkering with them during an era when you had to load the operating system from multiple disks. I learned a lot just by doing. So, when I went out into the world to start my career, I was intrinsically drawn toward technology. In school, I studied marketing and psychology, which rounded out my interests.

Is there a particular book, film, or podcast that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho was a pretty impactful book. In fact, after reading it, I was inspired to make a choice for myself — for the first time — and started a new chapter, which involved many synchronistic meetings with people that led to career changes and pretty awesome opportunities. I think it was the scene in the story where Santiago is in the crystal shop and gets a job working for the merchant, who is afraid to fulfill his dream to go to Mecca. Santiago asks him why he doesn’t just go, and the merchant says the dream of going is the only thing that helps him face the drudgery of his days. If he goes to Mecca, what else does he have to live for? He represents a man who will never fulfill his dreams.

Two weeks after reading the book, I packed up and moved to Denver, which is ironic considering it only took Coelho two weeks to write the entire story. Further, the book was published two separate times by two different publishers. The first one lost faith in it. The English version was published by a third publisher years later, and that’s when it took off. It has been translated in many languages and has sold tens of millions of copies, and is even available for free download. It really resonates with me on many levels, but the most important being that you have to have faith in yourself, even if no one else does. And you must stay focused on your own journey.

Is there a particular story that inspired you to pursue a career in the X Reality industry? We’d love to hear it.

I was pretty early to the business side of social media but began leaning in more on the technology side of things. But with that transition, I felt like I was missing out on this exciting technology, the VR, AR and MR innovation. So, this fear of missing out drew me in. Google was in the early stages of augmented tech and I was having discussions with friends about blending this tech with real life. For example, holding up your phone in a city like Chicago and visualizing the phone giving you information (via text or voice, or both) on that particular thing, be it a building or bridge or landmark.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this fascinating career?

Considering I wasn’t a “classically” or traditionally trained engineer, my transitioning from marketing to technology is interesting. I think it’s good for people who are like me to know they can come into these amazing companies and opportunities to be in a leadership position of their own accord. For example, I started my own social media and web development company where I created a multi-location digital signage network that worked over 3g. I built an entire business from the scripts to configure the hardware to the sales and marketing collateral to find and close investors and advertisers for the network. The success of the business gave me confidence that I could implement technical solutions but was still worried about doing it at the enterprise level. s. A friend actually convinced me to apply for more technical roles and I ended up landing a position as the technical analyst between the chief marketing officer and chief technology officer, for an airline’s e-commerce website. That’s as close to full circle as it gets.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It was my first week in a new position, and I was on the plane waiting for the last passengers to boardt, trying to knock out a few updates. While sitting at the gate and trying to hurry, I accidentally deleted the wrong table from a customer’s production application, crashing a key service in their operations. Once I realized my mistake, I only had a few seconds to call the CTO to let him know what happened before they closed the doors and devices had to be put away. I didn’t find out the resolution until I landed two hours later. I was sweating it out the entire flight. Thankfully, they had a very robust backup policy, so the problem was likely solved before we even took off. The lesson? Don’t make changes if you don’t have the required time, and don’t expect the Wi-Fi to work on the plane.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My older brother was always significantly more technical than me and would spend hours on the computer learning and playing games. We actually used to fight over the shared computer so often, my parents eventually bought one for each of us. One of my earliest memories was in middle school, when he showed me how to use proxies to get to the anime sites that were blocked. I didn’t really understand what was happening until working on web development projects several years later.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Veritone is working on delivering a portfolio of metaverse andweb3 products! I think our expertise in the media and entertainment industry will help to drive additional adoption by those companies and help further drive the shift towards these emerging technologies. There are so many applications, and it’s exciting to see the impact our technology is having on companies focused on creating amazing content in digital formats. Our technology will create more immersive experiences, particularly as we move into metaverse environments.

Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. The VR, AR and MR industries seem so exciting right now. What are the 3 things in particular that most excite you about the industry? Can you explain or give an example?

AR — As mentioned, augmented reality can really boost our creative abilities, help expand our horizons and provide us with options for exploring the world around us. I always liked the idea of being able to point my phone at an object and learn about it. Or the idea of being in a car and the windshield providing information, like where the nearest gas or charging station is located.

VR Immersion — Just in the fields of healthcare and education, virtual reality can take us to places we otherwise may not be able to explore. For healthcare, virtual reality can help in training surgeons before a single cut is made. As far as media content, virtual reality is enabling us to use synthetic voice for translation and so much more. It’s exciting to be able to expand the capabilities of language that way.

MR — When we mix all of these realities together, we get a multiverse experience, whether totally digital, like the metaverse, or in everyday physical environments. Take cars, for instance. We now have vehicle-to-vehicle communication, vehicle to infrastructure and vehicle to pedestrian.

What are the 3 things that concern you about the VR, AR and MR industries? Can you explain? What can be done to address those concerns?

Lack of diversity is number one. During these early stages, there’s the possibility the new realities miss the nuances of specific groups (ie accessibility like deaf, mute or blind) or cultures and they could end up being left behind. Part of the allure of the metaverse is inclusiveness and diversity of ideas! Two, the danger associated with people not paying attention while being immersed. Think about people looking at their phones crossing busy intersections. Or wearing a VR headset and falling into an object in the room. Then there is the danger of people losing touch with reality and getting addicted to the technology.

In everything, we need balance.

I think the entertainment aspects of VR, AR and MR are apparent. Can you share with our readers how these industries can help us at work?

AR, VR and MR offer so many unique ways for us to communicate, whether in the same room or half a world away. This can help make remote work feel less remote. Imagine a real virtual conference call with your photorealistic avatars sitting around the conference room, shaking hands and actually feeling that handshake. I also think the distribution/access/display of information can be improved significantly.

Are there other ways that VR, AR and MR can improve our lives? Can you explain?

As mentioned previously, these technologies can greatly benefit education and healthcare, as well as manufacturing. I know that companies are already using these to develop digital twins (digital copies of an environment like a factory) and design products before moving to the physical stage. NASA has been using digital twins for decades. We’re already moving in this direction but these technologies have the power to eliminate language and geographical barriers, and help people to express their ideas and thoughts in ways that just aren’t possible with the current mediums.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about working in your industry? Can you explain what you mean?

I hear quite a few people saying the metaverse will lead to a dystopian future. Lots of things can lead to a dystopian future. It’s like fire. It can bring warmth and light and can destroy. We all need to be responsible for the power we wield in life.

What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The VR, AR or MR Industries?”

Number one is imagination. You’ve got to have a good imagination if you’re going to be creating a new world or new interface to the existing one.

Number two: Forget the word impossible — Replace it with persistence, confidence and patience.

Number three: You need a high-level understanding of and the ability to align imagination with an understanding of the moving pieces of the necessary tech to put a more compelling story together.

An understanding of the gaps/needs of the space. Imagination and tech without and understanding the gaps where there are general needs may not go as far

Five Storytelling! If you’re able to summarize all of the above things into a compelling story, you’ll have an easier time collaborating, socializing and ultimately selling your ideas to stakeholders and customers.

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Chanda Prescod-Wienstein , a theoretical physicist with extensive knowledge in string theory and other principle building blocks of our current reality. I think understanding more about how the forces of this reality work, will only help to drive tangibly more immersive experiences within the realities of the future. Besides, depending on who you ask, we may already be part of an extensive simulation!

Thank you so much for these excellent stories and insights. We wish you continued success on your great work!

Makers of The Metaverse: Corey Hill Of Veritone On The Future Of The VR, AR & Mixed Reality… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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