Symbols of the future, catalysts of promise for some, of fear and misunderstanding for others, artificial intelligence (AI) and the metaverse are two buzzwords. At first glance, artificial intelligence and the metaverse seem to have only the complexity of their technology and theirs in common utility cases. However, the metaverse relies heavily on AI!
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a virtual world connected to the Internet where individuals can interact with each other through their avatars or by handling digital objects. It therefore refers to the development of the Internet towards Web3, with 3D or virtually integrated environments that users experience thanks to virtual reality and augmented reality. The metaverse is thus an interactive digital world.
What is artificial intelligence?
Simply put, AI refers to systems, algorithms or machines that mimic human intelligence. Its purpose is to enable computers to think and act like humans. By combining AI with machine learning, these computers learn over time from user behavior and errors in their predictions. Often, AI analyzes a huge pile of data very quickly (big data) to then make better decisions or act automatically.
AI is the main technology used by the metaverse
The metaverse uses many technologies, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain, 3D, AI, and even NFTs in some cases. Of all these new technologies, AI is arguably the most important piece of the puzzle. It can effectively help build the metaverse, develop it, customize it for each user and improve their experience…
In a theoretical way: why is artificial intelligence essential to the metaverse?
The metaverse represents the digital future. Much more than a simple virtual environment, it would be a parallel world. Within this new world, individuals will be able to work, attend events, play, travel, visit, buy, interact with each other… In a parallel digital world, it is not normal and reassuring to have human intelligence through a computer program? In other words, inserting artificial intelligence into the metaverse?
Pragmatic: what is the use of artificial intelligence for the metaverse?
Let’s get to the most interesting and concrete part of this article. Five major benefits of using AI for the metaverse can be distinguished:
- Virtual characters;
- The Avatar;
- Automation of repetitive tasks;
1. Virtual characters
This term refers to robots, characters found only in the metaverse, and 3D versions of chatbots. It does not refer to avatars of individuals in the metaverse. These virtual people will then be able to interact with the avatars by communicating and moving. They will have previously been programmed by AI algorithms. These virtual humans are essential to the functioning of the metaverse. They add a presence that enhances the user experience. A comparison can be made with non-playing characters in video games such as Grand Theft Auto.
AI can also make it possible to create an avatar that perfectly matches your appearance (face, build, size, etc.) rather than a completely different avatar. With AI, the user will be able to create his ” right avatar in the metaverse in addition to controlling it. AI is truly a powerful tool that has become practically indispensable for certain beauty, cosmetic or clothing brands. AI actually allows a better selection of products offered by e-commerce brands when they use it to have a 360-degree view of users’ physicality.
3. Automation of repetitive tasks
As we mentioned earlier, the metaverse should be thought of as a parallel digital world. Within this world, users (via their avatar) will perform many activities. For example, they can send a letter, visit a brand’s virtual store, buy goods… Technologies such as conversational AI platforms (CAIP), or more generally AIOps, will allow brands to design more attractive and engaging user experiences in an automated way. The term AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) refers to the use of Big Data, Machine Learning and AI to automate the identification and resolution of common IT problems.
The metaverse removes boundaries. However, language differences remain. And they can interfere with user interactions. AI can then be the solution. It can instantly translate what an avatar is saying into the language of another avatar or virtual character it’s interacting with. Technically, the challenge is to combine conversational AI (CAIP), voice recognition and self-directed learning (self-directed learning).
Specifically, the AI captures what was said by the avatar, analyzes it and converts it into the other person’s language and transmits it to him. If the AI has been trained (and collected enough data) in different languages, then it can easily translate. If you have trouble imagining the creation of such a tool, I invite you to see the level of the Deepl translator. After collecting millions of texts translated into hundreds of languages, this translator instantly translates complex sentences without grammatical errors while respecting language differences.
Historical data can be exploited by combining ML (machine learning) and AI. This can then be used to make predictions about what the user wants or suggestions for what they might like. The more time the user has spent in the metaverse, the more personal data there is about them, the better the AI is able to pin down the person and become accurate in these suggestions and predictions. Therefore, the scalability of the metaverse can only improve over time spent inside.
Zuckerberg, AI and the Metaverse
In this February 2022 video, Mark Zuckerberg highlights the importance of AI to the metaverse. The founder of Meta presents several ambitious artificial intelligence projects for the metaverse.
According to him, AI is the key to unlocking the growth and development of the metaverse. During this video, we see his avatar in a basic virtual world that he builds using the AI Builder Bot feature. He very quickly creates an island, trees and a beach in this world. In the video, Mark Zuckerbeg also reveals a universal voice translator project developed using AI. With such a translator, avatars of people who speak different languages will then be able to “to communicate with anyone in any language. It’s a superpower we’ve always dreamed of.”.
Obstacles to overcome
It is important to remember that the metaverse is only in the early stages of development. Many options require time (and money) in research and development before they can be operational. In particular, the incorporation of AI into the metaverse must overcome several challenges. For example, we can quote:
- Protection of privacy. How to use AI ethically? What consent policies should be put in place?
- Collecting a lot of data is necessary for artificial intelligence, which takes time. Until the metaverse is used frequently, AI models will run out of data. They won’t be able to learn enough to do effective forecasting and hyper-personalization.
- Creation and training of algorithms.
- Technological difficulties which are addressed in this article.
- The designation of the owner of the data in a virtual world built with AI and who therefore has the right to use it. Who owns the copyright?
Thus, the metaverse could reach its full potential with the help of AI. But incorporating AI for various uses in the metaverse is not easy. Several challenges must be overcome, and certain points of criticism will no doubt continue. But in time, artificial intelligence will surely emerge as the most important technology for the functioning of the metaverse. To quote Mark Zuckerberg, “ artificial intelligence is the key to unlocking the metaverse” .
Sources: VentureBeat, Coindesk, ITU, IntelligenceArtificielle.com, RealiteVirtuelle.com, KDNuggets, Meta, Sensorium, Fintelics
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