Sunday, March 3, 2024

8 ways how AI makes the Metaverse smarter

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The Metaverse has become one of the hottest technology and socioeconomic topic. Combining different technologies like VR, 3D animation, blockchain, and many others, lots of companies are already working on creating services for this new digital world. Even tech giant Facebook changed its name to Meta, demonstrating that the Metaverse is truly targeting to become the next big mainstream technology.

Before we dive into how AI and the Metaverse, it’s important to first understand what a metaverse exactly is. More importantly, to define what characteristics are necessary for something to be called a Metaverse.

Defining a Metaverse

One of the most recent versions of the Metaverse is the one published by Coinbase, which borrows the definition by venture capitalist and writer Matthew Ball:

The future of the internet: A massively-scaled, persistent, interactive, and interoperable real-time platform comprised of interconnected virtual worlds where people can socialize, work, transact, play, and create. The Metaverse is the distant evolution of Web3. In its most complete form, it will be a series of decentralized, interconnected virtual worlds with a fully functioning economy where people can do just about anything they can do in the physical world.

According to Coinbase, a Metaverse must include a predefined set of characteristics:

Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds form the foundation of the Metaverse. These are immersive, computer-generated environments where users can interact with each other and with digital objects. These worlds may vary in theme, design, and purpose, offering diverse experiences and opportunities for exploration.

Massive Scalability

A Metaverse platform must possess the capability to accommodate a large number of users simultaneously. It should be able to handle substantial user traffic and interactions without significant performance issues, ensuring a seamless and immersive experience for everyone involved.

Persistency

Persistency refers to the enduring nature of the Metaverse. Virtual worlds within the Metaverse should persist over time, meaning that changes made by users or through dynamic events should be retained even when users are not actively present. This enables a sense of continuity and a persistent existence in the virtual environment.

Always On & Synchronicity

The Metaverse should be accessible at all times, allowing users to engage with it whenever they desire. Moreover, the platform should maintain synchronicity, ensuring that events and interactions within the Metaverse occur in real-time and are consistent across all users, regardless of their location or time zone.

Platform to Build Upon

A Metaverse platform should serve as a foundation for creators and developers to build upon. It should provide tools, frameworks, and APIs that enable users to create and contribute their own content, such as virtual objects, avatars, or experiences. This fosters an ecosystem of innovation, customization, and continuous expansion within the Metaverse.

Fully Functioning Economy

An integral aspect of the Metaverse is the existence of a fully functioning economy. The platform should support the creation and exchange of virtual assets, services, and currencies. This allows for the establishment of vibrant marketplaces, trade systems, and economic activities within the virtual realm, facilitating transactions and economic interactions among users.

Openness and Decentralization

Openness and decentralization are crucial principles of the Metaverse. The platform should be built on open standards, allowing interoperability and compatibility with other platforms, applications, and services. It should also embrace decentralized technologies, such as blockchain, to ensure transparency, security, and user ownership of virtual assets and identities.

Interoperability

Interoperability is the ability of different systems or platforms to seamlessly interact and exchange data with each other. In the context of the Metaverse, interoperability allows users to move seamlessly between virtual worlds, carrying their virtual assets and identities with them. This enables a connected and fluid experience, where users can explore diverse virtual environments without constraints.

With the incoming of Artificial Intelligence, more specifically generative AI, we are now in the realm of letting AI support our creative efforts in various settings.

Role of AI in the Metaverse

The metaverse refers to a virtual reality space where people can interact with each other and digital objects in a simulated environment. AI can enhance various aspects of the metaverse to make it more intelligent, immersive, and engaging.

But to truly understand how AI can help build a better Metaverse, we need to first understand how a Metaverse is built. There are 7 main layers to the Metaverse.

The Seven Layers of the Metaverse, by Jon Radoff, under CC BY license.

Areas in which AI can play a relevant role in the future of the metaverse, not only from a product perspective but also considering how AI could make the Metaverse more inclusive.

AI potential applications in the Metaverse, based on “Building the Metaverse” by Jon Radoff, under CC BY license

Furthermore, AI can take a step further in building a Metaverse, to make the Metaverse smarter.

Making the Metaverse smarter with AI

As we embark on this journey into the metaverse, AI emerges as a transformative force, imbuing virtual realms with intelligence and realism. Personalized experiences, intelligent avatars, realistic simulations, content generation, AI-driven economies, safety measures, and collaborative workspaces are just a glimpse of the vast potential AI holds within the metaverse.

1. Personalized Experiences: AI’s Key Role

AI algorithms possess the ability to analyze vast amounts of user data, preferences, and behaviors. This capability enables AI to create personalized experiences within the metaverse. By tailoring virtual environments, objects, and interactions to individual interests and needs, AI enhances user engagement and immersion. Imagine stepping into a virtual world perfectly crafted to cater to your unique desires, creating an experience unlike any other.

2. Intelligent Avatars: Bridging the Gap

One of the most captivating aspects of the metaverse lies in the interactions between users and intelligent avatars. AI-powered avatars have the potential to understand and respond to natural language, gestures, and emotions, adding a human-like touch to virtual interactions. These avatars will break barriers, fostering more meaningful social connections and expanding the possibilities of communication within the metaverse.

3. Realistic Simulation: Blurring the Lines

The metaverse strives to replicate the physical world, but AI takes realism to a whole new level. Through machine learning techniques, AI enhances physics, graphics, and rendering capabilities within virtual environments, resulting in a more lifelike experience. Imagine strolling through a digital cityscape that is almost indistinguishable from reality, immersing yourself in its vivid details and breathtaking scenery.

4. Content Generation: AI as a Creative Catalyst

The creation of content for the metaverse is an intricate and time-consuming process. AI steps in as a valuable ally, generating vast amounts of diverse content, including landscapes, objects, characters, and interactive elements. With generative AI models, the metaverse can quickly expand, offering endless possibilities and saving designers substantial time and effort.

5. Intelligent NPCs: Enriching Interactions

Non-player characters (NPCs) play a pivotal role in shaping metaverse experiences. By harnessing natural language processing and computer vision capabilities, AI can empower NPCs with intelligence, enabling them to understand and respond to user interactions more convincingly. Engaging in a virtual conversation with an NPC that grasps context and exhibits realistic behavior enhances the depth and realism of metaverse interactions.

6. AI-driven Economy: Balancing Transactions

Virtual economies and currencies are integral to the metaverse experience. AI algorithms can efficiently manage and optimize these economies, ensuring fair transactions, balancing supply and demand, and preventing fraud or exploitation. Trust and efficiency are the pillars upon which AI-driven metaverse economies can thrive.

7. Safety and Moderation: Cultivating a Secure Space

Ensuring a safe and inclusive environment within the metaverse is paramount. AI can play a crucial role in monitoring and moderating content, filtering out inappropriate or harmful material, preventing harassment, and enforcing community guidelines. AI-powered systems create an atmosphere of safety, promoting positive interactions, and nurturing healthy virtual communities.

8. Collaboration and Remote Work: The Metaverse at Work

The metaverse is not only a realm for entertainment and exploration but also a potential workspace. AI can facilitate remote collaboration within the metaverse, assisting users in their virtual workspaces. Virtual assistants, powered by AI, can aid in task management, organization, and communication, bridging the physical gap between team members and fostering seamless collaboration in a digital environment.

It’s important to note that the development and implementation of AI in the metaverse come with ethical considerations, privacy concerns, and the need for human oversight. Striking a balance between AI-driven enhancements and user control is essential for creating a metaverse that is both intelligent and user-friendly.

Safety is still a priority

It is essential to strike a delicate balance between AI-driven enhancements and maintaining human oversight. Ethical considerations, privacy concerns, and user control are critical aspects that need to be addressed to shape the metaverse into a smarter and more inclusive space. With AI as our ally, we can unlock the full potential of the metaverse, creating a world where imagination meets reality.

While AI has the potential to make the metaverse smarter, it’s important to consider ethical considerations, privacy concerns, and ensuring human oversight to maintain a balance between AI-driven enhancements and user control.

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