Lex Fridman’s latest podcast with Mark Zuckerberg is billed as the “first podcast in the Metaverse“. The picture above is NOT of them, but a digital representation of them!
My impression of the Metaverse up until now is this – It’s a massive project which Zuckerberg has spent years working on. It’s required a shitload of money and the outside interest in using the Metaverse is pretty low. The head gear is clunky, the experience, though immersive, isn’t quite there yet, and Meta is wasting a ton of money on it.
If you only used Reddit, you would think the Metaverse is a complete waste of time and that Zuckerberg is a delusional billionaire. The viral screenshot from about a year ago showed Zuckerberg’s own ‘avatar’ in the Metaverse and it looked frightening.
Here’s the podcast in its entirety.
Skip to 1:00 in or so and watch for just a minute. I found this absolutely mind blowing. This feels like a huge leap in what’s possible and I think entirely validates the money and effort that’s gone into it.
What exactly is happening here?
Lex and Mark each took a few hours to get full scans of their faces into the Metaverse. Then, using those scans they each put on a Quest headset and joined each other from across the country for a conversation in the Metaverse with their avatars representing themselves.
You can see Lex’s immediate reaction to the whole thing. The immersion is one thing. Previous head sets have been super immersive. But the realism is insane.
The hour conversation is full of amazing things, but here was the craziest use / idea to me:
I could theoretically upload myself and go through thousands of hours of interaction in the metaverse. Then, an AI could essentially replicate my behavior, speech, mannerisms, etc. Then, when I die, all of my loved ones could log in for a conversation with me just as Lex and Mark do above as if I were still alive at any time. It would look exactly like me, talk like me, laugh like me, everything.
Centuries down the road you could actually interact with people who died long ago. It’d be like actually being able to see / talk to Ben Franklin or something like that. This is fully approaching black mirror territory.
Another idea – Zuckerberg sees augmented reality as more practical than full immersion. The example was if you’re playing a shooter game with digital zombies, but you can be running through your actual house and ducking behind real things to dodge fake bullets.
He also mentioned an AI Studio, where you would be able to build your own AI and all of its characteristics. All of a sudden it’s very easy to imagine people having these ‘in person’ conversations with AI builds of their own.
They didn’t touch on many of the darker ideas, for example an ‘intimate’ relationship with a self-created AI using the avatar of someone you know or some celebrity is a common and kind of disturbing thought.
Up until now this was always more of a thought experiment instead of right around the corner. Now I’m a believer and I give Zuckerberg a ton of credit for relentlessly pursuing this despite the constant mockery people have made of it. Just goes to show don’t always believe social media!
It’s impossible to imagine all the ways this may impact every day life and people much smarter than me will write much cooler things about the possibilties.
Perhaps this isn’t a bold statement anymore, but down the line I see this (or something like it) as being every where and totally enmeshed into society.