The metaverse has arrived. While most of us are quite aware of the potential changes the metaverse will bring, very few of us are fully prepared. The metaverse will bring some significant changes to how businesses, people, and even devices interact. Changes that will demand more data scientists, data engineers, and artificial intelligence developers to be on their best game to leverage what the metaverse will have to offer.
The new environment of the metaverse will blur the lines between what is physical and what is digital. After all, the reality of the metaverse will be fully represented digitally, meaning that every individual, every object, every action, every decision, and even every intention generates data. Perhaps even more data can be readily recorded in the physical world. This situation has multiple implications.
As reality will be digitally represented in the metaverse, every single object (table, chairs, windows, homes, clothing, etc…) has to be digitally created. Every ‘avatar’ (digital representation of human beings) has to be also digitally created. And like that, every animal, every plant, every scenario, environment, etc. My colleague Kieron Allen describes very well what is the metaverse at his article The Metaverse Explained: What It Is and Why Does It Matter?
The digital realm of the metaverse will require a burst of digital creation and many virtual reality / augmented reality developers will be needed. Potentially numbering more than ever seen before. A situation that will prove similar to the explosive growth of the internet back in the early 2000’s. However, I’m more focused on the ‘data’ that it will be generated on the metaverse, not just the metaverse itself.
The internet as we know today, every human interaction when surfing on multiple websites or apps can be measured and all the data generated due to that interaction is analyzed. Applying machine learning / artificial intelligence generates insights about customer segmentation, purchase forecasting, and a lot more.
Why is the Metaverse So Interesting for Machine Learning and AI?
Artificial Intelligence is the technology discipline where machines or systems imitate the human cognitive process. In other words, machines imitate how human beings learn, interact or behave.
As a technology, AI is only possible if the data associated with human learning, interaction or behavior can be measured. That data is already being gathered in the metaverse and being further bolstered by how we interact with the internet. That gathering of data is creating an extensive pool of digital information, which extends beyond the simple interactions we have with just the internet.
Human interaction in the metaverse will provide much more data than what we are accustomed to on the internet. After all, the metaverse will immerse us in a 3D environment, where all interactions will be digital and recorded, creating a tremendous amount of data. That means there is much more to measure and our ability to touch, act and move -virtually- within a 3D environment will become the basis to garner more insights. What’s more, there is the potential for us to do much more in the metaverse, such as entering virtual shops or offices, perhaps even operating cars, planes, ships or any other ‘virtual’ machine.
All these interactions, including our ‘virtual emotions’, will be measured and be recorded along with all of the underlying data produced.
Ultimately, artificial intelligence will become the key to driving the metaverse into new realms and interactions. Simply put, machines and systems will be able to perform much more comprehensive predictive analytics on human interaction and behavior, leading to new insights and opportunities, like never seen before.
In my opinion, the downside of all of this is the fact that metaverse is a virtual representation of the world and ourselves interacting in such a world. Let me explain.
We all know about ‘fake news and ‘fake social media’ posting, as well as ‘fake profiles’ on the internet -today estimated at 30%. Yes, almost one-third of social media posts and profiles are fake-. In addition, the behavior of humans on social media and the internet differs significantly from the behavior in real life.
Well, now imagine that but in the metaverse, a much more immersive, virtual, digital, unreal-that-looks-very-real environment.
Yet, there is still great opportunity with the metaverse, where a virtual representation of reality makes it possible to reproduce any real environment, which can then be used like a digital sandbox. The metaverse will allow us to perform scenario analysis, training, anticipate possible results, or even improve human behavior when facing specific situations.
The applications to many industries, professions, and businesses where it is possible to pre-train humans in a replicated scenario, are simply immense.
Here is where Artificial Intelligence will play a key role.
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