How a video game designer is blurring the lines separating the real from the virtual

How a video game designer is blurring the lines separating the real from the virtual


[MUSIC PLAYING]

PRESENTER: Thank you very much.
I see a lot of
familiar faces here.
Welcome to Pushing the Virtual
Divide, our theme for tonight.
So our guest tonight
is Kazunori Yamauchi.
He’s a professional
racing driver.
He’s CEO of Polyphony
Digital, and he’s
the producer of the Gran
Turismo video game series
that I’m sure many of
you have grown up with
or spent many, many hours with.
So Kaz has spent more
than two decades bringing
the virtual racetrack just
a little closer to reality
for some of us.
And he’s teaching us to be
better drivers, sometimes
before we’re even
old enough to reach
the pedals and the
steering wheel.
So Kaz, thank you so much
for joining us tonight.
[APPLAUSE]

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So thank
you for taking time
to be with us tonight.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And it
makes me very happy
to be at this fantastic location
to talk about Gran Turismo
and about cars
with everyone here.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So I’m sure there’s
a few of you in this crowd that
doesn’t really know what
Gran Turismo is all about,
so I’d like to take a little bit
of time explaining what GT is
and what we have
done over the years.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So Gran
Turismo is a game title
that was born exactly 20 years
from today, 20 years before.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: This was when
I was still 30 years old.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: I’m 50 now.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And it was
put out there in the world.
That’s the world’s first
real driving simulator.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
the latest title
is what you’ve seen on the
Playseats just outside.
It’s called Gran Turismo Sport.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So this is what the
first Gran Turismo looked like.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: When looked at now,
it looks a little bit cheap.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
the latest title–
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: This is where
Gran Turismo Sport is at.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So 20 years
of evolution, and this
is the result.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So I
wanted to talk to you
a little bit about
the relationship
that Gran Turismo has had
with the automotive industry.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So for
example, in 2008, we
got together with Citroen to
create a supercar back in 2008.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
this is the car that
was actually shown at the
Paris Auto Show back in 2008.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
then in 2012, we
got together with the
Nissan Motor Corporation
to create a project
in which we try
to turn game players
into real racing drivers.
This was called the GT Academy.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So this
project actually saw
great success in
which not only did
it succeed in producing real
racing drivers from gamers,
these gamers turned
drivers actually
rose to the podium of
the Le Mans 24-hour race.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
around this time,
we started to understand that
Gran Turismo was not just
a video game anymore.
It was sort of a movement
in the automotive industry.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So this
is the Nissan Z.
And we actually did the
design inside our company
for the aerodynamic parts
that went onto the car.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
together with Toyota, we
also made a car that has an
AR display built into it.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: We also had
a relationship with Nike
where Nike actually
designed a car for us
to appear in the game.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So
in Gran Turismo 4,
Nike appears in the game as
a automotive manufacturer.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And then in
2008, in the Nissan GT-R,
which is still on
the market today,
we actually helped to
design the information
system that went into the car.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So this
shows you the variations
of the display screens that
are possible in that system.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And this
is when we realized
that knowing information
about the environment
that you’re driving in, knowing
information about the car
as you drive it, is
something that can be fun.
And that’s what we discovered
through this project.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
then in 2011, we
got together with the F1 racing
team, the Red Bull Racing team.
And we went to try to design
what the fastest racing
car in the world with no
regulations would look like.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So this car is what
is typically called a fan car.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And a fan
car is a type of car
that has built in
fans that draw out
the air from underneath the
car to create a vacuum there,
helping it to stick
to the ground better.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And at
the time, the person
who helped us design this car
was the technical engineer
officer of Red Bull
Racing, Mr. Adrian Newey.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: In terms of design.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So as a project
for the 15th anniversary of Gran
Turismo, we started something
called the Vision Gran Turismo
project.
And this is a project
that’s still ongoing today.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
this is a project
in which we asked automakers
from around the world
to create a Gran Turismo car,
a GT sports car, that they
want to create for the game.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So
automobiles, whatever
the reason is for their
birth into the world–
once they’re born and
once they’re brought out
into society, they start
to take on their own shine,
maybe in a direction that the
creators never intended to.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So cars are strange
things in which you might all
have a favorite car
from a different era,
from some part of history.
And individually,
you might not know
the name of the actual
designer who designed that car,
but you know the
name of the car.
Everyone knows the
names of these cars.
And these names, these
cars, last for decades
without losing any of
their allure or shine.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So I realized then
that whatever the reason it is,
it’s important that the
manufacturers actually
make cars and put them
out into the world.
So the project was set up so
that it gives an excuse for car
manufacturers to
make sports cars.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And as a result,
many of the manufacturers
really wanted to participate
in the project and joined us.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So I’ll show
you a short video about it.

[VIDEO PLAYBACK]
[MUSIC PLAYING]

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So this is a
list of all the manufacturers
that have been involved in the
Vision Gran Turismo project
until now.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
daily, we’re actually
still getting more
manufacturers into the mix.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And depending on
the manufacturer, some of them
have actually gone to design
second cars and third cars
for this project.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And it seems that
there’s actually no end to it,
as far as I can see so far.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And the other
subject I want to talk about
is regarding the
future of motorsports.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So the
FIA and ourselves,
we’re actually going to be
starting a new championship
starting in April this year.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So one
is the Nations Cup.
It’s sort of the
World Cup of cars.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And the other
is the Manufacturer Series,
where the fans of
certain manufacturers
will race against other fans
of other manufacturers online.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And the
winner of this championship
will actually go
to the FIA prize
giving ceremony that is
held around Christmas time
every year, where there
are F1 world champions,
there are Le Mans champions.
And the winners of our
Gran Turismo championships
are going to attend that
event and be awarded
alongside the real
world racing drivers
on stage for this event.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And I think this
is something that’s really
a milestone for both
the automotive industry
and the video game industry.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And one more.
Another project that we’re
doing together with the FIA
is a digital license program.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And what this is–
this is a program in which
you can acquire a real world
motorsports license through
playing Gran Turismo.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And a
motorsports license–
if you’ve ever tried to acquire
one yourself, you would know.
But it’s something that
takes a lot of time
and takes a lot of
money to get one.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
this is an effort
to try to make it so that
you can actually acquire one
in the Gran Turismo game.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So by doing
so, in developed countries
around the world, there
are less and less drivers
and less and less people getting
involved in motorsports today.
And this is our
effort to try to get
more people involved
in motor sports
and get excited about it.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
this is actually
a list of the automobile
clubs and the countries
which have shown interest in
this digital license program.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And unfortunately,
the US and Japan, they’re
not in this list.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But one
thing that’s notable
is that countries that
have a very long history
in motorsports, like
the UK and Australia,
they were actually
already in this list.
They’ve shown their
appreciation and their intent
to participate.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
another interesting fact
is that countries that are
just now motorising and just
now getting into motorsports,
like China and India,
they have also shown interest in
participating in this program.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And motorsports
already has well over 100 years
of history now.
But together with
the FIA, we’d like
to try to help
design the next 100
years of motorsports history.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And there’s another
thing I wanted to tell you,
since we have this
opportunity here today.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So using the
Gran Turismo platform,
we’re currently working
on a machine learning API.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And using
this, what we want to do
is to set up a race, pitting
AI drivers against other AI
drivers.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And I think
you can imagine immediately
what things would be possible,
just looking at this.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So
using this platform,
you can imagine that you’ll
have the fight between the AIs
where you can see
which is the fastest
and which is the most impressive
AI out of the participants.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So if you’re
interested, please participate.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So
in this AI league,
we can set the
amount of deviation
that the data from the assessors
will have or set certain things
in the regulations
really freely, as we
are in complete
control of the race.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
not only will you
be competing for how fast
the car is on the track,
you’ll also be competing
for how well the car adapts
to different track conditions,
whether it be weather
or temperature or whatnot, and
how well the settings can be
set to match the
conditions so that you’ll
find in a certain race.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So that’s the
introduction of Gran Turismo.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
[APPLAUSE]

PRESENTER: So for those of
you who have been here before,
you’ll know that a big part
of these Open Garage Talks
is making it a conversation.
So we welcome you to join
us in that conversation.
Many of you should
already have had
question cards passed to you.
As you think of questions,
please pass those to our staff,
and we’ll bring them forward.
But to lead us in that
conversation with Kaz,
I can think of nobody
better than Chris Gerdes.
Chris is a professor of
mechanical engineering.
He’s our CARS faculty director,
and he has devoted his career
to teaching students
about vehicle dynamics
and engineering.
So Chris, thank you so much.
[APPLAUSE]

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: So
Kaz, I just want
to extend my thanks
for joining us here.
It’s been a pleasure to
have you in the lab today,
and I really appreciate the
chance to have this discussion.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: I’m very
happy to be here.
CHRIS GERDES: So you
talked about the history
of Gran Turismo.
But you started working
on racing games even
before Gran Turismo, designing
Motor Toon Grand Prix with Sony
for the original PlayStation.
With all the possible
video games to make,
why did you focus
on a racing game?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So I
was actually part
of the original starting
members for the startup
of the PlayStation console.
And originally, in
the very beginning,
I actually created 100
different design plans
for a variety of different
video games for the company.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
within those 100 games,
there were role-playing
games or adventure games.
There was just a
huge variety of them.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: There was
a golfing game, even.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But out of
those 100 planned game
designs that I came up
with, the very first one was
Gran Turismo.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And that’s
simply because I love cars.
CHRIS GERDES: So it
was a passion project
from the beginning.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: Great.
Well, would you say that Gran
Turismo grew from your driving
and racing ability
or that you developed
your driving and racing
ability from Gran Turismo?
Or was it a little of both?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So my
actual original objective
for wanting to
make a driving game
was because I wanted
to learn to drive well.
So of your suggestions,
it would be the latter.
I really made the game first,
learned to drive on it,
and then I went
out onto the track.

CHRIS GERDES: I’ve also
learned a lot of things
from driving behind
our self-driving car
out on the racetrack,
so I appreciate that.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: So you showed some
of the designs from the GT-R
that you helped design
the interface for.
And also, you’ve raced the
GT-R at the Nurburgring.
But you also have an
earlier love story
with the GT-R, which is
a bit of a tragic story.
Would you share that with us?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So when I was
making the first Gran Turismo
20 some odd years ago, I would
be working really late at night
and going home at 1, 2
o’clock in the morning.
For about two years
straight, I lived like that.
And one night, I come
home late at night.
And I see in front
of my house the GT-R
that I had just bought since
I had first joined the company
and started working.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So that night,
I was already really tired.
But it had been a while
since I had driven my car,
so I was thinking maybe
I’ll take a short drive.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: It was a
really cold winter night.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And I unfortunately
turned the engine on.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And I
went out to drive.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But I was
really lacking sleep then.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And I saw
a turn coming up ahead.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And by experience,
I knew that that turn,
I could probably turn at
about 120 kilometers per hour.
Kilometers.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But as I
was going into the turn,
I looked at my speedometer,
and I was actually
going a little over 200.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And I
thought to myself, OK,
this is not going to turn.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So I
started breaking
towards the inside of the turn.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But
though I was breaking,
the speed just wasn’t
dropping fast enough.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And I
ran out of road width.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And I crashed.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And the
front of the car,
from where I was sitting
forward, was gone.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And fortunately,
I wasn’t hurt at all.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But the car
was pretty much out of it.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And it just left me
with a five-year loan payment.

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So that’s
the memory I have.
CHRIS GERDES: Thanks
for sharing that.
So the adventures
of younger drivers.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: So you’ve
also helped younger drivers.
You mentioned the GT
Academy and the idea
that you could take drivers
who are good at the game
and put them into
real race cars.
Many people said
this will never work.
And there are a lot of
papers in psychology
that say skills don’t
transfer that way.
But in fact, they did.
These drivers who were
top drivers in the game
became outstanding
drivers in real cars.
What do you think that they
really learned from the game?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So I think one
misunderstanding that is often
seen in regards to this
subject is that a lot of people
think that people become
faster because they just
learn the track and learn
the layout of the track
better through
playing the simulator.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But that’s
not actually the case.
And one of the most
important things
that a driver learns
through a simulator
is really the basic
motions of the car
where a certain operation or
a certain input into the car
will result in a movement
of the car in a certain way.
That’s where the
learning process is.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So it’s the
same as in a real racing
car as when you’re playing
and driving in Gran Turismo.
But when you’re really
focused and concentrating,
a car becomes sort of
like a part of your body.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
I think the merit
of playing a simulator
like Gran Turismo is
that you get that feel
and that sensation
of being at one with a car.
CHRIS GERDES: So you learn
the patterns of steering
and how to coordinate with
the brakes on turn entry
and the throttle on
turn exit and learn
that for a particular car.
Is that the sort of pattern
that one learns this way?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: Yeah, I think so.
Because as you learn more
and more about the car,
you know that giving–
you know how much grip you
have left in the rear tires,
to the point where if you
apply this much more throttle,
the rear end will
start giving or not.
That’s the level
of understanding
you start forming in your head.

CHRIS GERDES: So my
older son, for a while,
raced quarter midgets.
And one of the
things I learned is
that, over a race
weekend, when it
came to tires and broken
parts, you could often
spend as much as it would cost
to buy a PlayStation and a copy
of Gran Turismo.
You’ve created a
path to motorsports
where people can
actually play the game
and end up pursuing
a career in this.
What has that
meant to the people
who have graduated
from GT Academy
and gone on to these podiums?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So
motorsport is actually
a sport, out of all the
different sports out there–
is one of the most costly
to actually participate in.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But I think
being able to experience
the world of motorsports through
Gran Turismo minus the threat
to your life when you’re
racing helps to kind of boost
the base population of the
fans and the people involved
in motorsports.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: There’s
lots of people in schools
who are footballers or
they play tennis or–
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: –play baseball.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But
in most schools,
you’ll find maybe
one person who’s
into karting or
motorsports or maybe none.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So it’s
great to be able to try
to boost that population.

CHRIS GERDES: So I was talking
with Bruce Canepa one time, who
is a race car driver
among many other things.
And he said he felt
like it was harder
to go from driving a car
to driving a simulator
than it was to go from driving
a simulator to driving a car.
And his reasoning was that if
I learn to drive the simulator,
I learn how to drive
without a lot of feedback.
And if I get more
feedback, that’s helpful.
But if I learn to
drive the car, then I’m
used to all the real feedback.
And I may have a
hard time without it.
Do you think that’s true?
Has that been true
in your experience?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: Excuse me.
Too much talking.
I think that’s definitely true.
When you are in a real car,
you have so much more feedback
than when you’re
driving a simulator
that it actually is easier
to drive a real race
car on a circuit than
it is to drive a race
car on a simulator.
AUDIENCE: Here’s water.
INTERPRETER: Thank you.

Thank you.

CHRIS GERDES: So
maybe it’s harder
to get your online license than
to get a real racing license,
just less expensive.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: Yes.
You might be right.
It takes more time and
money to get a real license.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And also, there’s
the risk to your life, right?

CHRIS GERDES: So we’re
talking about all the things
that you can learn
from simulation.
And maybe it’s tempting to think
that the simulation is just
trying to reproduce reality.
But you don’t always try
to reproduce reality.
And you’ve mentioned,
with sound,
what you want to reproduce
is what the driver needs
to hear, not necessarily
what a microphone would hear.
So I’m wondering how you
choose what should be realistic
and what should be
more representative
of what the driver experiences.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So in
regards to the audio,
audio is something that is
really hard to do properly
and something that we still
make a lot of discoveries as we
were working on it.
For example, when
you’re inside of a car
and you take a set
of stereo microphones
to record the sounds
inside of a car,
if you listen to that recording
outside of the car later,
it still doesn’t sound like what
you are actually hearing inside
of the car.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So there’s this
thing called the cocktail party
effect where people
only pick up the sounds
that you want to hear in
a loud noisy environment.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But the conditions
for when the cocktail party
effect actually occurs
is very complex.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And it’s
necessary to really
design very well the
frequency of sounds
and also the tones
and the volume
levels of each sound in the
simulation to really reproduce
that effect in a simulation.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And also the
phases of the sound, as well.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So when you
have that properly adjusted
just right, you can
make sounds that
sound more real than
what you can pick up off
of a stereo microphone.
CHRIS GERDES: Excellent.
So we have some interesting
questions coming in,
but I want to talk a little
bit about some of the things
that you’ve mentioned about
Gran Turismo as a movement.
So a lot of auto manufacturers
are participating and working
with Gran Turismo, and we’ve
had a few questions about,
what do the auto
manufacturers do?
Do they help with game design?
Do they release designs?
How do they benefit?
Is it just marketing, or are
they learning something else
by being part of this movement?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So there are cases
in which an auto manufacturer
will collaborate and be
partners with Gran Turismo just
for marketing reasons.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But
in other aspects,
it’s been 20 years since we
first released the first Gran
Turismo.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So the people who
were teenagers way back when
are now full grown adults.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And these
people are actually now
in central parts of
very important roles
in these manufacturers
all over the world now–
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: –whether
it be engineers–
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: –or
marketing people–
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: –designers.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So for
those guys, working
with Gran Turismo has a value
to them that sort of goes
beyond the business side.

CHRIS GERDES: You have more
members of your movement.
The players become the
participants as it evolves.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
I do think so.
CHRIS GERDES: So
one of the things
I think is interesting
about your movement
is that it has maybe one foot in
the virtual world and one foot
in the real world
as you see designs
from the game coming into
real cars and concept
cars coming into the game.
It’s an interesting blend
of the virtual world
and the real world.
Where do you see
Gran Turismo living
in the future between
the virtual world
and the real world?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So
automobiles themselves
are a very interesting
existence in the world,
because I don’t think there’s
any other industrial product
that’s out there that has
so much allure and so much
attraction to it.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And it also has
a profound social impact,
as well, automobiles.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So the cars
are this strange existence
in the world that has
this huge social impact.
But at the same time, they are
this very sexy, very attractive
objects.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And I think part
of the role that we have,
part of the mission
that we have,
towards the
automotive industry is
to continue conveying the
emotional part of automobiles
to the public and to people.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So the Vision
Gran Turismo project
is one of those aspects.
It really is, in a way, sort
of our question to our motive
industry, asking them whether
they still enjoy making cars.

CHRIS GERDES: That’s awesome.
I need to think about
that for a moment.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: So
one of the things
that we talked a little
bit about was technology
and the power of technology.
This is a good
example, where you’re
using Gran Turismo to
challenge the industry
about their passion.
We talked a little bit,
also, about the dark side
of technology and some
of the deception related
to use of Twitter
and other media
here in the recent elections.
And you had some thoughts about
technology and government,
the role that it plays
in our society, the role
that these communities play.
And you had some questions
for the audience with that.
So I want to open
that up for you.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So being
called to talk here today,
there was a question that had
kind of lingered in my mind,
sort of viewing
America from Japan.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And that’s in
regards to the democracy
here in America.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So America
viewed from Japan
has always been sort of the
role model democracy for Japan.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And seeing
from Japan now, I
don’t know what everyone
here thinks about it.
But from the
perspective in Japan,
it seems like
democracy isn’t quite
working the way it was meant to.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: America seems
sort of divided right now.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
my question is–
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So one
question is whether you
think it is possible
to empower democracy
with technology somehow.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: Or would it
be possible to imagine
a different form of
government or democracy
through technology?
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: So we
wanted to toss that out.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: I’m going to
get to some of your questions,
but I thought one of the
comments you made when
we were discussing this on
the phone that I thought
was interesting.
We were talking about how the
virtual world is becoming ever
more real, and the real
world seems to somehow
be getting less real,
in some ways, when
you think about not knowing who
is actually making that Twitter
post.
Who are you talking to online?
Is it who you think you are?
Is it somebody
totally different?
And so this understanding of
the power of virtual worlds
but also the challenge
that they pose.
So we thought we would put
that out there as a question.
If people have comments,
use the comment sheet.
And we’ll leave you with
the philosophical thing
as we return to some more.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: So we’ll get
some new designs for government
back in a moment.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: And
let’s talk about
some other possible
questions that
have come up in terms of how
you might use Gran Turismo.
So what about Gran Turismo
as a way of teaching
teenagers how to drive?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So I think learning
to drive through Gran Turismo
is a very good way.
Because I think, a
lot of times, people
are concerned that if you learn
driving through a video game,
you’ll end up
driving really rough.
And that would be the
general view on that.
But in actuality, if
you’ve played Gran Turismo,
you will probably
already know this.
But Gran Turismo
actually teaches
you to drive safely and
maintain stability of the car
under all conditions,
whether it be at racing speed
or at slower speeds.
It really teaches you
to drive smoothly,
and that leads to safe driving.
CHRIS GERDES: So we
have another question
about other types of
vehicles, as well,
that one might use
in simulations.
So could this be
used to learn how
to drive other vehicles like
trucks, buses, et cetera?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: Actually,
Gran Turismo right now
doesn’t contain the big
semi-trailer trucks or buses
or those type of vehicles.
But there has been
discussion of maybe
it would be nice to have those
types of cars in the game,
as well.
CHRIS GERDES: So Bruce
Canepa has, in the past,
raced trucks up Pikes
Peak in Colorado, which
seems to me like it would
be thrilling but one
of those things that I’d prefer
to experience in Gran Turismo.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: So you
brought a simulator,
which we have over in the
corner and many people
were enjoying before the talk,
which has a new steering wheel.
And the steering
wheel, first of all,
gives very accurate torque
relative to the game commands
and also gives you additional
vibration on the column.
So you’ve been adding
new sensory channels.
What do you see are
the next advancements?
Where will we be
going in the future?
Is it augmented reality?
Is it more haptic feedback?
Is it something else?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So there’s actually
a lot of information and data
that’s simulated within Gran
Turismo that is currently not
possible to output
to a device yet.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: Of course,
we have the image.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And we have sound.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And we have the
self-aligning torque that you
get through the steering wheel.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And then we added
the transducer there, now–
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: –which
recreates something
in between sound and
vibration at around 100
Hertz that sort of gives you
the feel for the roughness
of the road surface.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And I think
there’s a lot more left in terms
of the evolution of the hardware
that could help us provide more
information for the driver.
But unfortunately, the
development of a hardware
is not quick as
we’d like to see.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And a lot of times,
even if a solution existed,
it becomes something
huge that’s not
viable to supply right away.
CHRIS GERDES: Well, you’re in
Silicon Valley and in a lab.
Is there anything that
you would wish for?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So in this new
Gran Turismo Sport title,
we’ve been able to, in a
limited way, but still–
we were able to do HDRR,
high-dynamic-range rendering,
for the first time.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But in
terms of brightness,
what we’re able to
reproduce right now
is just about 1,000 nits.
And nits is a measurement
of brightness.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: But
inside Gran Turismo,
the system actually
calculates up to 10,000 nits.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So if you had a
brighter display or a set of VR
goggles with brighter range
of lighting that’s possible,
we can really simulate really
blindingly bright lights
and even the sun.

CHRIS GERDES: Very cool.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: I want to get
to a couple of the questions
here about automated vehicles.
So how do you see
automated vehicles
changing motorsports and
changing the relationship
of enthusiasts in motorsports?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So I think
the movement of society
towards autonomous
driving is something
that just makes sense and
is logical, economically.
It’s definitely
headed that direction.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So I think there’s
a possibility that motorsports
will eventually become something
like owning your own light
plane to fly on the weekends.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So I have a feeling
that there’s a possibility that
driving itself might become
something special and something
niche like that.
CHRIS GERDES: So are there ways
that Gran Turismo can actually
assist with automated driving?
We have some questions
about whether, given
the realism of the scenario,
the information from the AI
or from human drivers can
be used in development
of automated systems.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: Yeah, I believe so.
And I think the AI league
championships that I mentioned
earlier in the presentation,
that’s really for the machine
learning APIs that will help to
[? get ?] [? up ?] autonomous
driving.
CHRIS GERDES: Excellent.
So we have some
folks here who are
towards the end of their
time in school, the start
of their professional careers.
What sort of advice
would you give
somebody who’s starting now
who’s enthusiastic about cars
and the industry?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: Advice.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: There’s so much.
It’s hard to organize
into a single thought.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: I think the most
important is whatever you do,
give it the best you’ve got.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And that applies
to both your personal life
and your work.

CHRIS GERDES: There’s
one more question
that I want to get to from this
list which I thought was very
specific and worth sharing.
Somebody pointed out
that they personally
really appreciated the
use of the sculpture
Unique Forms of Continuity and
Space for the AI league logo
and comments that it
provides a nostalgic tie
to another period in history
with rapid technological
change.
So what made you choose
this piece for the AI
league, this sculpture?
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So that
symbol, that sculpture,
was made by Umberto
Boccioni back in 1914.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So it’s almost–
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: It’s
about 100 years ago.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: A little
over 100 years ago.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And that era–
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: The first
race between Paris to Rouen
took place in that era.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: I think that was
1902 or something like that.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And average
speed at the time
was 21 kilometers per hour.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And five
years later, humankind
exceeded 100
kilometers per hour.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And then just five
years after that, humankind
had reached 200
kilometers per hour.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And what
was happening then
was that humankind
was discovering
speed for the very first time.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
at the same time,
they were discovering machines.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And it’s pretty
much the same era in which
airplanes were created
to fly through the skies
and automobiles were created.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And
Umberto Boccioni
was an Italian Futurist.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And the
Italian Futurist movement
was something that was
born out of the awe
for the mechanical advancements
and the new mechanical culture
that was being developed
at that period.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: And the reason
why I chose that sculpture
as a trophy for the Gran
Turismo Championship Series
is that I wanted to make
sure that people don’t forget
the origins of the
awe that people
had for automobiles
and speed and machines
in that very beginning.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So
that was my thought.
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: The speed was
just that impressive to people
back then.

CHRIS GERDES: Good.
Well, did we get any responses?
Where did Steven even go?
Did we get any responses
to the suggestion
of technology and democracy?
Did we get any comments?
We may have to explore that
after the talk in conversation
or else have people think about
that on the way on the way
home, because I think that’s
an excellent and challenging
question, a way to sort
of build from this.
But I do want to thank
Kaz very much for his time
and his thoughts.
[APPLAUSE]

I will ask you to help
us with one more thing.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: We have
some giveaways here.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: Some presents.
And I’d like to call
up some of our students
who have registered for this.
We actually, thanks
to Kaz and Polyphony,
have more prizes
than we announced.
So we have five, six
copies of Gran Turismo.
INTERPRETER: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: I’d like
to ask up Samantha Kim.
[APPLAUSE]

Would you help me with–
John Alsterda.
[APPLAUSE]

Yes, [? one at ?] [? a time. ?]
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
AUDIENCE: Thank you very much.
CHRIS GERDES: [? Arla ?]
[? Sharenwa. ?]
[APPLAUSE]
Where is [? Arla? ?]
I saw him in the back.
[? Arla? ?] Oh no.
What’s that?
Going once.
Uh-oh.
[? Timadio ?] [? Diro. ?]
[APPLAUSE]

While he’s coming
up, Jason Trinidad.
[APPLAUSE]

Next up, Vincent [? Lawrence. ?]
[APPLAUSE]

Wait a minute.
Don’t go too far.

And [? Edge ?] [? Merling. ?]
[APPLAUSE]

KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: And
our grand prize–
KAZUNORI YAMAUCHI:
[SPEAKING JAPANESE]
CHRIS GERDES: –winner
of the PlayStation,
[? Timadio ?] [? Diro. ?]
[CHEERS]
[APPLAUSE]

I thought it was–
wait, where did it go?

He’s going to come collect
that in the office.
OK.
So we’d like to invite those who
won to have their copy actually
signed by Kaz.
We going to do
that in the office,
or are we going to do it– we’ll
do that in the office next door
here.
So congratulations to
all of our winners.
[APPLAUSE]

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