Xlabs website: http://xlabsai.com/
Saldana made an eight-second video of me talking into a camera. For a moment, let’s pretend that we’re in a court of law and call the video Exhibit A. The video, captured with the built-in camera on an ordinary Mac, consumed 1.83 MB in MP4 format, and Saldana stored the video on a USB drive that I happened to have brought with me. I expected him to compress and decompress the video immediately after making it, but instead, we took the video to a secure, off-site location. At this point, we were joined by XLABS Chief Executive Officer Oliver Christie.
To respect the XLABS group’s wishes for confidentiality, I won’t reveal anything about the off-site location. I’ll simply say that the amount of security surrounding the exact nature of the compression algorithm is impressive. In my naive view, I imagined that as soon as you discover a way to do 99% lossless compression, you can shout it to the world. If you’re worried about the process being stolen, mail it to yourself in a date-stamped envelope, or send it to a patent office where the algorithm, and the identity of its originators, is safe and sound. But that’s not the way it goes. At this early stage in the unveiling of the compression technique, XLABS takes great care to make sure that the algorithm doesn’t get into the wrong hands. They’re keeping the process under tight wraps while they refine the code, define the use cases, and secure financial backing. (While I waited for a short time in the secure area, I realized that I must be the poorest person to be seeing this demo. Others are probably potential backers with very deep pockets.)
The rest of the demo was fairly simple. On an ordinary Windows laptop, Saldana used the command line to invoke a utility that created a compressed file from my original video file. He performed this compression step twice, and the results were slightly different from one time to the next. The algorithm uses some encryption and the randomness used in encryption accounts in part for these differences. Saldana said that the algorithm’s own secret sauce plays a role in accounting for the differences.