The metaverse will be filled with ‘elves’

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Some say the metaverse is nothing but marketing hype, while others insist that it will change society. I fall into the latter camp, but I’m not talking about a cartoon world full of avatars like many are pitching in.

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Instead, I believe true metaverse – The one who will change the society – he will be enhancement layer on the real world, And within 10 years it will be the foundation of our lives, affecting everything from shopping and socializing to business and education.

I also believe that the corporate-controlled metaverse is dangerous to society and requires aggressive regulation. This is because platform providers will be able to manipulating consumers In ways that would make social media bizarre. Most resonate with concerns about data collection and privacy, but they tend to overlook what will be the most dangerous technology in the metaverse – artificial intelligence.


The most dangerous part of the metaverse: agenda-driven artificial agents who look and act like other users but are actually fake individuals controlled by AI.

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In fact, if you asked people to name the core technologies of the metaverse, they would usually focus on eyewear and probably mention graphics engines, 5G or even blockchain. But they are just the nuts and bolts of our immersive future – the technology that pulls strings in the metaverse, creates (and manipulates) our experience, is AI.

Artificial intelligence will be as important to our virtual future as the headsets that get all the attention. And the most dangerous part of the metaverse will be agenda-driven artificial agents that look and act like other users but are actually fake individuals controlled by AI. They will engage us in “negotiation manipulation”, targeting us on behalf of paying advertisers without realizing they are not genuine.

This is especially dangerous when AI algorithms have access to data about our personal interests and beliefs, habits and dispositions, while monitoring our emotional state by reading our facial expressions and vocal changes.

If you think targeted advertising in social media is manipulative, it’s nothing compared to the conversational agents that will engage us in the metaverse. They’ll deal with us more efficiently than any human salesperson, and it won’t be just to sell us gadgets—they’ll fuel political propaganda and target misinformation on the part of the highest bidder.

And because these AI agents will look and sound like anyone else in the metaverse, our natural skepticism of advertising won’t protect us. for these reasons, we need to regulate AI-powered conversational agents, especially when they have access to our facial and vocal effects, allow our emotions to be used against us in real time.

If we don’t control this, ads in the form of AI-powered avatars will make sense when you’re skeptical and change tactics mid-sentence, quickly zeroing in on words and images that make an impact. You personally. as i wrote in 2016If an AI can learn to beat the world’s best Chess and Go players, then learning to motivate consumers to buy (and believe in things) things that don’t interest us is child’s play.

But of all the techniques headed our way, this I call the “elf” would be the most powerful and subtle form of coercion in the metaverse. These “electronic life facilitators” are natural evolutions of digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, but they won’t be separate voices in the metaverse. They would be anthropomorphic personalities adapted to each consumer.

Platform providers will market these AI agents as virtual life coaches and they will be consistent throughout your day as you navigate the metaverse. And because the Metaverse will eventually be an enhancement layer over the real world, these digital elves will be with you everywhere, whether you’re out shopping or working or just hanging out.

And like the marketing agents mentioned above, these elves will have a detailed data history of your life, along with your facial expressions and vocal changes, that guide you through actions and activities, products and services, even will lead to political considerations.

And no, they won’t be like the crude chatbots of today, but the tangible characters you’d think of as believable figures in your life—a mix between a familiar friend, helpful counselor, and caring therapist. And yet, your elf will know you in ways no friend could ever do, as it will monitor all aspects of your life, including your blood pressure and respiratory rate (via your trusty smartwatch).

Yes, it sounds creepy, which is why the platform providers will make them cute and non-dangerous, with innocent features and mannerisms that make you seem like a magical character in your own “life adventure” around you. Near is more than a human-sized helper. This is why I use the word “elf” to describe them, because they can appear to you as an angel hovering over your shoulder or perhaps as a gremlin or alien – a small anthropomorphic character Which may whisper in your ear or fly in front of you to draw attention to the things in your augmented world that you want to focus on.

This is where it gets especially dangerous – without regulation, these life facilitators would be hijacked by paying targeted advertisers with more skill and precision than you would anything on today’s social media. And unlike today’s commercials, these intelligent agents will follow you, guide you throughout the day, and do it with a sweet smile or laugh.

To help illustrate what it would be like, both positive and negative, I wrote a short story, Metaverse 2030, which shows how AI will drive our immersive lives by 2030 and beyond.

Ultimately, the technologies of VR, AR and AI have the potential to enrich and improve our lives. But when combined, these innovations become especially dangerous, because they all have one equally powerful quality – they can lead us to believe that computer-generated content is authentic, even if it is an agenda-driven one. be constructed. It is this powerful potential for digital deception that should make us fear an AI-enabled metaverse, especially when controlled by powerful corporations that sell third-party access to their users for promotional purposes.

I raise these concerns in the hope that consumers and industry leaders will emphasize meaningful regulation Before the problems got so deep in the technology of the metaverse that it was impossible to undo them.

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