With crypto sceptics on the rise, an over diluted NFT space and Twitter getting messier by the minute, many people feel as if the metaverse hype, so popular earlier this year, is on the decline.
But perhaps it is populating itself in a way different to what we initially expected. Rather than heralding the demise of the metaverse, generative AI may well prove to be its catalyst, fueling accelerated development in extended reality technologies on the part of both metaverse platforms and metaverse citizens.
Metaverse popularity also requires the world to catch up. Let’s use YouTube as a comparison for this. When it launched in 2005, in the age of handheld camcorders, shooting, editing and uploading video required effort, patience and skill. Only a few years later the iPhone changed all that, enabling users to capture and broadcast moving images with limited or no friction, and the number of content creators exploded.
Generative AI could do the same thing for XR content creation. As both the usability and the accessibility of AI tools improve, the bar will drop for becoming a coder or a world builder. A whole range of forward-looking companies, including Google, Nvidia and OpenAI, has invested in early models for AI text-to-image generators. Meanwhile, AI image tool Midjourney is reportedly working on a text-to-3D model, and OpenAI released Shap-E earlier this month, allowing users to transform images or text into 3D objects.
Mass adoption also requires company benefits. Remember when they introduced ads to YouTube? Well, AI needs that kind of moment. Advertising might be one option, as are digital marketplaces where XR creators can ply their digital wares, which both Snap and Meta’s Spark AR have invested heavily in. With the impending release of Apple’s XR headset, which is said to rely on apps and professional use cases, all these companies must have a compelling strategy for enabling organic, user-generated content creation if they want to remain competitive.
I’d like to conclude this piece with a fantastic conclusion by Brittan Heller;
“A common pitfall of media hype cycles is the tendency to lose sight of the big picture. If we want to understand the evolution of emerging technologies, we must resist this temptation. Technologies do not evolve in a vacuum. Virtual worlds need real users. We need to take a holistic view, understanding that these technologies are not evolving in isolation but rather in tandem, each one reinforcing and amplifying the others. When XR users can craft their own digital architecture and platforms can refine the user experience with effective, reliable moderation, the masses may follow.”