The metaverse is a hot topic of conversation in the last few years. The development of the latest technologies is already making great strides on the way toward a real metaverse, an online virtual world that incorporates augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, video, and other means of communication. It will offer you a hyper-real alternative world to coexist in.
Inklings of the metaverse already exist in online game universes such as Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox. And the companies behind those games have ambitions to be part of its evolution. But of course, one should not forget about the tech giant Meta (formerly known as Facebook) which has already made significant investments in virtual reality, including the 2014 acquisition of Oculus. They have been bullish on the metaverse, believing it could replace the internet as we know it.
“The next platform and medium will be even more immersive and embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it, and we call this the metaverse,”Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
How AI, ML, and the Metaverse Work Together?
The metaverse is a combination of multiple elements of technology, including virtual reality, augmented reality, and video where users “live” within a digital universe. Because it is mainly unbuilt, there is little agreement on how it will work. Broadly speaking, however, the metaverse is a digital ecosystem built on various kinds of 3D technology, real-time collaboration software, and blockchain-based decentralized finance tools. Many technologies are currently in use that will be the basis for developing a system of organization, construction, and functioning of the metaverse.
AI is already being used across multiple metaverse platforms. It’s the elixir of tools, potential, and connectivity that could make metaverse platforms thrive. The combination of AI, ML, and metaverse can revolutionize our lives in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. AI and ML help to create smart assistants and automation tools. And the metaverse provides a platform for users to interact with virtual worlds. As it is planned to be populated and realistic, AI and ML will play an increasingly important role in making it feel like a real place – more believable, immersive, and safe.
Elements of AI and ML in the Metaverse
User profile and interaction:
- Realistic avatars that can interact with other avatars in the metaverse.
- Personalized experiences for users by analyzing user behavior and preferences.
- Intelligent agents that can help users navigate the metaverse and find the information they need.
- AI-powered personal assistants could provide a range of services within the metaverse, from helping you find things to providing companionship.
- Analyzing user-generated content and identifying inappropriate or harmful content, allowing for faster and more efficient moderation.
- Сreating new storylines and quests for players to enjoy.
- Optimizing server performance and ensuring a seamless user experience, even during peak usage times.
- Improving the scalability and performance of the metaverse.
- Virtual 3D objects and environments that look and feel realistic.
Also, generative AI is a supplementary tool for metaverse development. It will provide an assistive supplement to the creation of virtual spaces. It assists with the creative process, laying out the framework of a virtual world which can then be tweaked, edited, or replaced based on the requirements of the user. The fast process expedites vital parts that may have taken months or years, condensed into a short burst which can then be applied to the next phase. Assets that could have taken weeks to finalize can take just a few hours, with some minor tweaks and embellishments.
Market of metauniverses. Our New Reality or Great Fantasy?
The tech giants including Meta, Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Qualcomm already invest billions of dollars in the concept. Management consultancy McKinsey & Company has bullishly predicted that the metaverse economy could reach $5 trillion by 2030. It is expected, that e-commerce will be the dominant engine. Gaming, entertainment, education, and marketing are important sectors in the metaverse.
META. The tech giant formerly known as Facebook has already made significant investments in virtual reality, including the 2014 acquisition of Oculus. The company aims to accelerate the development of the fundamental technologies, including social platforms and creative tools, required to “bring the metaverse to life.” In 2021 Horizon Worlds was launched – a VR space that users can navigate as an avatar, along with tools for developers to create additional virtual worlds.
EPIC GAMES. Epic Games, makers of the popular online shooter game Fortnite staked a claim in the metaverse following a $1 billion round of funding in 2021. Tim Sweeney, CEO of the company that developed Fortnite, has said, “It’s no secret that Epic is invested in building the metaverse.” The company develops photorealistic digital humans with its MetaHuman Creator. It could be how you customize your digital doppelganger in future open-world games.
MICROSOFT. The software giant already uses holograms and is developing mixed and extended reality (XR) applications with its Microsoft Mesh platform. It combines the real world with augmented reality and virtual reality. In the works for the near future: explorable 3D virtual connected spaces for retail and workplaces.
Consequences of Dream Life
“The next platform and medium will be even more immersive and embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it, and we call this the metaverse,”said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The metaverse can offer new opportunities for education, entertainment, and social connection. Nowadays we can see examples of how the metaverse has already been used for positive purposes. This includes virtual concerts and events that bring people together from around the world. Besides, it can be a valuable educational tool, allowing people to practice (for example in surgery) in immersive, interactive environments.
All the possibilities have not yet been revealed and implemented. But what is used now is only the tip of the iceberg. It is expected that the metaverse will have a strong connection with the real-world economy – and eventually become an extension of it. Already now the real estate market is booming in the metaverse. Global research firm Technavio predicted it will grow to $5 billion by 2026. Buyers have shown they are willing to pay millions of dollars for virtual property to build out a variety of digital experiences, including in the area of high-end retail. In other words, the metaverse will give the ability for companies and individuals to participate in economic activity in the same way they do today. Simply put, this means being able to build, trade, and invest in products, goods, and services.
Functional Problems of Creating a Metaverse
At first, the metaverse has some characteristics, which must be applied simultaneously:
- Infinity, which has no beginning and no end of work
- An unlimited number of users that can connect
- There must be an economic structure and a system for receiving remuneration
- Combination of digital and physical worlds
- Compatibility of all data from different digital worlds
- Filling with content created by users and businesses
- Independence from the outside world
- It cannot be paused or reset
Online games that exist today cannot be called full-fledged metauniverses, because they do not meet all these characteristics. It is the presence of many requirements that must be considered for a metaverse to be a metaverse and is the main difficulty of its creation.
The next problem is the fundamental technologies that would let people chat, own property, and do business across platforms and devices in a 3D virtual world. These have not been standardized in a way that makes it possible. To make it happen, it will take widely-adopted communication protocols that don’t exist yet and a reinterpretation of intellectual property law.
“It is clear that it is one of the most highly anticipated technology evolutions of the coming decade,”Dave Wright, chief innovation officer at IT provider ServiceNow.
- The future of the metaverse is a massively-scaled, persistent, interactive, and interoperable real-time platform comprised of interconnected virtual worlds where people can socialize, work, transact, play, and create – just about anything they can do in the physical world.
- We’re still in the conceptual stage of the metaverse, and no industry-wide standards are set yet.
- Some capabilities are already actively used, such as the organization of virtual concerts and events, but it is only the tip of the iceberg.
- The metaverse will have a great impact on the real-world economy and eventually become an extension of it.