The metaverse is most likely the future of the internet. To help our readers learn more, we’ve launched this metaverse interview series.
These are the questions we’ve compiled to ask blockchain, DAO, NFT, and game development experts in the HackerNoon community. The series is for tech professionals to contribute their insights into the current state and future of the Metaverse.
If you too would like to start contributing to Hacker Noon, you can do so here.
If you also want to post your thoughts on the Metaverse, respond to the template here.
So let’s get started! First, tell us a bit about yourself. For example, name, profession and personal interests.
I’m Alec Lazarescu, a technology and digital education industry veteran currently serving as Chief Messaging Architect at Synchronoss Technologies. I have overseen the technical aspects of a number of award-winning products serving tens of millions of users.
Over the past 5 years it has been exciting to see the metaverse begin to materialize and made possible by many emerging technologies that I have worked on and created communities with: AI, blockchain, chatbots and voice .
I’ve been a sci-fi reader since I was young and my first digital community ran a BBS as a teenager. I also like board games, computer games, volleyball and basketball.
Please summarize what the metaverse is in 1 to two paragraphs.
The metaverse is a persistent virtual world where humans have embodied telepresence/avatar and are able to immersively interact with content and each other in digital experiences and economies.
Are you currently working, directly or indirectly, on building a metaverse?
I created versetech.ai as an educational event and discussion group to bring in creators of all types; designers, developers and directors, together. I’m also still working on chatbots, blockchain, and AI projects that will tie in with metaverse experiences.
In your opinion, is the Metaverse inevitable, or is it just another trending tech topic that will lose popularity?
For decades, physical proximity has no longer been a prerequisite for social interaction via the Internet and the rise of all things social online. As more and more interactions take place online, the trend for people to pay more attention to their online presence and image is accelerating.
The internet had status messages and profile pictures for self-expression while the metaverse extends from avatars with fantastic clothes and accessories to designing your own virtual space. The Animal Crossing game is an interesting insight into the customization aspects of a virtual world and it was a huge hit. The Metaverse will greatly expand this dimension and add further immersion. The human need served by this expression will not disappear.
Why is the metaverse such a revolutionary concept?
Why should we be limited by distance and space in the physical world? The metaverse feels like a natural experience adjacent to the real world. I actually think it’s more inevitable than anything else. People yearn for connection, belonging and a self-expressed identity and we can amplify that in a positive way.
What can people build in the metaverse that we can’t build on the internet or in virtual reality today? From what limits of our current technology does the metaverse free us?
A flat online video chat with many people in a grid can’t compare to the more natural turn-taking, reading emotions, interest, and other qualities of in-person conversations. There are opportunities to significantly narrow this gap between in-person and online dating in the metaverse.
Whether with a hyper-realistic or animated avatar, using cameras and AI to transfer facial expressions, voice, and spatial audio will dramatically increase the lifelike quality of interactions and help speed up how quickly people relate. feel connected. Great friendships and other relationships have been created online from simple text chat, but it’s much slower and less likely to establish a solid connection.
Hopefully, the metaverse will also open up a global digital economy where billions of people can earn money by creating digital goods or providing services in the virtual world and get paid automatically and transparently. Collectives or businesses can form and transact, but the platform itself should enable even individuals to be effective creators, sellers, and workers without taking an inordinate share of the revenue generated.
How are the metaverse and the blockchain related? Can we build a metaverse without blockchain technology?
While in theory the metaverse doesn’t need to be blockchain-based or even decentralized, in reality it’s incredibly difficult to establish trust and ownership at scale while supporting many consumers and creators. . Companies aim to maximize shareholder profits not creator profits on their platforms and often discourage money from leaving their system. Blockchain-based systems can provide decentralized trust, transparency, and ownership.
Additionally, Blockchain opens up new models of governance to allow rules and controls to be created without central authority and more closely aligned with community desires.
How fast do you think the metaverse will grow? How far can we expect metaverse technology to grow in the next 5-10 years?
It won’t be a switch where suddenly the metaverse is there, but rather a continuum where richer immersive experiences are possible and growing economic activity takes place there, as does the growth of e-commerce. If AR/VR are not the only avenues for immersive experiences, they certainly enrich some of them. I expect that within 10 years we will have a consumer-friendly AR/VR hybrid headset, along with AI-based motion capture and animation that sets the bar higher high in facial expression transfer to avatars.
Many new and existing companies are already working on expanding physical entries into the Metaverse through face, body, and hand tracking, as well as continually improving text-to-speech. Although virtual interfaces like in the movie Minority Report look cool, they would become physically exhaustive to use compared to concise and effective understanding of voice commands.
What is your hope for the metaverse? Do you have any concerns or does the concept pose any threats?
There is potential for ultra-invasive surveillance and behavioral inducement. Incredible amounts of data can be collected through additional hardware tracking sensors and even paired with heart rate/health devices to find out what people are looking at, for how long, and even infer if they are feeling aroused .
I also hope that in the current excitement over artificial scarcity, we don’t create unnecessarily horrible base environments and experiences and, alongside negative social pressure, strongly incentivize people to pay dearly for a better look or to be ostracized.
The risk of hacking also reaches a whole new level in a virtual world with a greater amount of goods and currencies that can be stolen, perhaps irreversibly if purely blockchain-based. Worse still, there could be impersonation of trusted people or a diminished reality where real people or dangerous situations are covered with a digital veil.
Finally, there may be people who become completely lost and absorbed in virtual worlds and neglect their relationships and health in the real world.
Thank you for your time! One last word ?
“I’m pretty sure that at this point Omniverse or the Metaverse will be a new economy bigger than our current economy,” – Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang
Some of the biggest tech companies are betting big on the metaverse: Meta (aka Facebook), Nvidia, Microsoft, Google and many more. In the gaming space, there’s a similar shift from Epic’s Fortnite and Roblox along with newcomers like Sandbox. It would be shocking if nothing came of it.
We are still incredibly early though. There will be a natural and significant jolt of what Pets.com and Friendsters are against Amazon and PayPal of the metaverse world.
I’m optimistic about the long-term space and agree with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang who said, “I’m pretty sure at this point Omniverse or the Metaverse is going to be a new economy bigger than our current economy.”