Spatial News™ #037
Updated: Jan 12
This week we focus on Roblox, XR & accessibility, future of XR, digital real estate, HTML of the metaverse, Generative AI, AI for business management, robot CEO, & more!
Welcome to Spatial News™ 37, the leaven of the emerging tech world! “Children are our most valuable resource.” —Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States
<Note to self: try not to be so ornery this time>
XR: Past, Present, and Future
Here is what experts recommended in 1991 to get started in VR
“Turns out, if you replace VR by XR a lot of it ring true to this day! 1) Get Independent Commercial Advice 2) Make sure you have defined your future business and IT strategies to see where XR might fit. 3) At an early stage in the proceedings, make all attempts to ‘educate’ the XR organization about your business. 4) Don't instantly believe account managers from XR companies who say ‘XR will solve all your IT, engineering, marketing, training, retail, (etc...) problems’! 5) Don't forget the ‘hidden costs"‘— installation, annual maintenance costs, software upgrades, and so on make sure these are made explicit from an early stage.”
Excellent post by Jean-Baptiste (JB) Farge (& Prof Bob Stone, the VR expert in the CD from 1991!)
This is called a CD cover, younglings.
XR Accessibility & Instructional Designers
Dr. Heather Dodds provides 7 examples (current as of August 2022) of organizations and people working for accessibility in XR from sound to sight and mobility.
“Don't count XR out when it comes to accessibility. Not by a long shot.”
The Future of Extended Reality
KPMG’s latest white paper on the future of XR has 10 predictions and 15 experts.
Crystal ball gaze at things like
#1 “The Mars landing by 2026 will be a watershed moment for XR as viewers step with the first astronaut onto Mars,”
#2 “Digital real-estate, currencies, and other assets in the metaverse will be commonly included in wills.”
Hey, that’s exactly was I was going to write about next. Weird…
Digital Real Estate in the Metaverse as an Emerging Asset Class
Here are some highlights from the Blockchain Research Lab’s scientific report, but you have to download the report to get the rest.
“Digital real estate is a billion-dollar market.
LAND prices do not correlate with other assets.
Location is a major driver of LAND pricing.
Digital real estate or virtual land is a high-performing asset.”
I have a question. Why is location a major driver of land pricing?
Clyde DeSouza addresses that and more in
The fallacy of scarcity in the Metaverse
“The Metaverse is a world of Abundance not of Scarcity Scarcity if at all, will be driven not by rarity of NFTs (another fallacy there) or ‘Land parcels’ but by bandwidth demands and the spatial mandates of avatar ‘personal space’ when accessing desirable hot-spots where like minded ‘minds’ hang-out. Even then, it depends on the Telco gate or portal entered.”
Food for thinking.
Who said the Metaverse Doesn’t Exist?
Kelly Vero, writer and now Editor-in-Chief of Metacrun.ch, adds more to the plate and with a dash of that Himalayan salt.
So who actually has said that the metaverse doesn’t exist? Prof Bob Stone has said that. Louis Rosenberg has said it. Rafael Brown has said that. I’ve said that.
Why did I say it? Because the metaverse is aspirational. Right now, I could tell you how the Internet or the Web works (see SN #031 for the basics), but I could only tell you how the metaverse might work.
Granted, there are virtual worlds (like Second Life or Avakin Life), games (like Fortnite or World of Warcraft) and so on that currently exist giving us glimpses of the metversal future, but I’d call them ‘metaverse-like’ or ‘proto-metaverses’. None of these, in and of themselves, are the ‘next evolution of the Internet’, which, as I’ve read enough times, is the ultimate aim of the metaverse.
Perhaps the technologies that could make it so aren’t ready or haven’t even been invented yet.
Further still, despite the infusion of open source philosophy into the metaverse project, can it truly belong to everybody if it’s built on the Internet? Should the aim actually be to make the metaverse something totally different from the Internet? (See Dragan Stiglic’s recommendations in SN #033, for example.)
Back on earth,
there are “hard working [folks…] working tirelessly to create something that everybody can enjoy[…] [who] really believe in the application of the metaverse as an opportunity to do a variety of different tasks; from creating a sustainable universe for both creation and for communication, as well as awareness and simulation.”
I respect that.
Okay, so does the metaverse exist because people are working on building it into existence?
(Ah, Kelly… you have me playing a game of semantic Twister with me, myself, and I, and all that’s left on the mat is that koan.)
The “HTML of the metaverse”
“Much like HTML forms a description of a webpage—which can be hosted anywhere on the internet—and is retrieved and rendered locally by a web browser, USD [Universal Scene Description originally invented by Pixar Animation Studios] is a protocol for describing complex virtual scenes which can be retrieved and rendered to varying degrees depending upon local hardware capabilities. With a ‘USD browser’ of sorts, Nvidia is suggesting that USD could be the common method by which virtual spaces are defined in a way that’s easy for anyone to decipher and render.” Meaning that it could allow “users to seamlessly move from one virtual space to the next” (in other words, interoperability).
The idea of using USD as a foundation seems to be gaining traction in the Metaverse Standards Forum, in which NVidia is one of the largest partners (see, SN #032).
Continuing our discussion last week of text-to-image and text-to-video AI Louis Rosenberg’s latest article delves into
Generative AI and the future of art
and argues, as in his LI post, that neither he, who “enter[ed] a text prompt and ma[d]e a variety of choices and revisions nor “the software, which has no understanding of what it created and has no ability to think or feel” are the artists. Instead,
“we all created the artwork – humanity itself. I believe we should be the artist of record. I don’t just mean people who are alive today, but every person who contributed to the millions of artifacts that generative AI systems are trained upon.”
I highly recommend the comment section of his LI post as well for alternative and supporting views.
On Twitter Droid Boy (@boydroid) actually used my prompt "a beige Chihuahua dressed up as Superman fighting a black kitten dressed up as Doomsday in a ravaged city" from last week’s SN to create the masterpieces you see below. Sure, “needs more kitten, needs more Doomsday” but the bottom left of both pictures really captures the duality of the chihuahua- fearless and menacing.
Thanks Droid Boy!
From AI in art to
AI in Business Management
“The use of artificial intelligence in business management is a sound practice due to many benefits that this technology offers and an opportunity to secure operational controls. The scopes of these algorithms are diverse and include decision-making, strategic planning and other fields. Among the undeniable advantages, one can pay attention to the width of AI use, its ease of utilisation in multi-structured tasks, as well as chances to test the current performance. In the future, the application of this technology will become widespread due to the constantly evolving mechanisms for regulating AI systems and the possibility of combining human efforts with machine operations.”
China: “Hold my Tsingtao”. (Original? Hardly. Plus,I have no idea who I borrowed it from.)
(Thanks to Ivan Cavan for finding the article.)
Chinese video game company NetDragon has a new robot CEO in world first
A couple of weeks ago NetDragon, a Chinese ‘metaverse’ company (read: mobile and online gaming developer), appointed Ms. Tang Yu, a female “AI-powered virtual humanoid robot”, as CEO (really its "Rotating CEO") of its main subsidiary Fujian.
What a boon for inclusion and diversity (and key word stuffing)!
According to the company’s press release,
“She will streamline process flow, enhance quality of work tasks, and improve speed of execution.”
She’ll act as as a “real-time data hub and analytical tool to support rational decision-making in daily operations.”
She’ll enable a more effective risk management system.
She’ll also help “development of talents[…] ensuring a fair and efficient workplace for all employees.”
The article continues, “with perfect recall, unlimited working hours, and ability to jostle millions of lines of data, AIs could stand to replace free-wheeling or toxic human executives.”
So, if you’re not ‘free-wheeling’ or ‘toxic’ you can breathe easy ‘cause your job is safe.
Though, I must admit, dear reader, I’m a bit nervous because I’m not sure if I’m too free-wheeling. I’m still waiting for last month’s social credit score to find out. But if I am, rest assured that I will go back to being akin to Conan pushing the Wheel.
And while we’re on the topic of barbaric child labor…
The trouble with Roblox
As of September 01, 2022 Roblox is worth $21.33Bn. Apparently, Herbert Hoover never spoke truer words.
“Young developers on the platform used by many millions of children claim they have been financially exploited, threatened with dismissal and sexually harassed.” Read on, but be warned, you might feel a little gross afterwards.
Image from theguardian.com
If this is an example of a “proto-metaverse” we have A LOT of work to do to make sure that children are protected from any kind of exploitation.
I tried not to be so ornery this time. I really did/n’t.*
Either way, with me, what you see is what you get (unless your observation of this writing is effecting its very appearance).
* Apparently in linguistics, these are called “Schrödingerian expressions”.
Thanks for partaking with us, Spatialists!
Joh of Spatial8, hunched over my laptop like a crow, in a doom-y mood, brooding over dark sentences