Embark on a revealing exploration of the metaverse, and delve into the pivotal role of AI and Blockchain.

We invited Elmar, founder of Symbol Hub and research lead Metaverse at Deutsche Telekom, to understand the evolving dynamics of the metaverse, and the role of AI, Blockchain, and Cryptocurrencies.


Elmar Arunov

Who did we interview?

Elmar Arunov is a distinguished Metaverse expert and sought-after keynote speaker. Leading Metaverse research at T-Labs, Deutsche Telekom AG's innovative R&D division, he plays a crucial role in shaping digital futures. A pivotal figure in European media evolution, Elmar also contributes his expertise as a Steering Board Member for the New European Media initiative and has notably spearheaded the Metaverse Economy Lab with the Federal Association of Digital Economy (BVDW).

Let us quickly get to our expert's point of view.

  • Ques 1 : What inspired you to get involved in the metaverse industry, and what are your personal goals and motivations in this space?

    Ans : I was deeply inspired by Ernest Cline's book "Ready Player One" because it vividly depicted a future where the metaverse played a central role in people's lives. The concept of a fully immersive, interconnected virtual world where individuals could live, work, and play was both fascinating and thought-provoking. This vision of the metaverse sparked my interest and served as a catalyst for my involvement in the industry. My personal goals are twofold. I aim to drive metaverse innovations while ensuring ethical considerations are integrated into its development. This means creating a safe, inclusive environment and addressing issues like privacy, security, and accessibility.

  • Ques 2 : Are there any notable examples of successful metaverse projects or companies that you can share with our listeners?

    Ans : In recent years, several major companies, including Meta, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and Apple, have made impactful announcements and contributions that are poised to significantly influence the future success of the metaverse. Meta, for instance, has unveiled its ambitious plans for creating a shared immersive virtual environment through technologies like augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), exemplified by Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Worlds.

    Microsoft, on the other hand, has taken strides in the metaverse space with initiatives like Microsoft Mesh, enabling collaborative mixed-reality experiences. They've also been developing essential hardware like the HoloLens AR headset and cloud services through Azure. NVIDIA plays a pivotalrole by providing the hardware and software infrastructure crucial for rendering high-quality 3D metaverse environments. Their GPUs are instrumental in powering AR/VR applications. Apple, known for its vast ecosystem and innovative approaches to xR, just recently announced its Spatial Computing device.

    Additionally, companies like Roblox have already created metaverse-like environments where users can build, play, and interact in virtual worlds, showcasing the potential for user-generated content. Epic Games, with its Unreal Engine, is a staple for creating high-quality 3D environments. These companies and initiatives represent just a fraction of the rapidly expanding metaverse landscape.

  • Ques 3 : Can you discuss the role of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the metaverse?

    Ans : Since blockchain systems store data in a distributed manner, there is a major disadvantage in the slow decision-making process due to the consensus mechanism. Only when a simple majority agrees, the transaction is executed. To accurately execute this mechanism, there must be synchronization between the nodes at all times. This means that the more nodes there are, the slower the decision-making process becomes.

    In highly scalable applications such as the metaverse, decision-making could take a very long time. Therefore, it can be said that there is no need to use blockchain technology to realize the metaverse due to scalability issues. However, there may be new technological possibilities in the future that will enable the sensible integration of blockchain technology. It remains to be seen whether this will lead to a better user experience in the future.

  • Ques 4 : In your opinion, how will AI shape the development and evolution of the metaverse in the coming years?

    Ans : AI's role for and within the metaverse will be crucial, offering a diversity of applications limited only by our imagination. Some key areas where AI is set to make significant contributions include automated content creation, integration into metaverse applications, security and law enforcement, and ecosystem development. In terms of content creation, AI stands to revolutionize the construction of virtual worlds. It can swiftly convert 2D objects into real-time 3D counterparts, streamlining the creation process and enhancing quality.

    AI's potential extends beyond digital twins, enabling the creation of entire virtual experiences. Integration of AI into metaverse applications presents opportunities for advanced assistance systems. Voice-controlled AI bots, in particular, can enhance user interaction, offer real-time speech processing, and facilitate multilingual communication, making the metaverse accessible to diverse audiences.

    AI also plays an essential role in metaverse security. It can maintain infrastructure integrity and protect users by employing natural language processing to filter out abusive actions and content. However, ethical considerations regarding AI's decision-making authority and adherence to laws must be addressed, as AI is a tool trained on data and lacks true intelligence.

  • Ques 5 : Can you share examples of metaverse projects or companies that are pushing the boundaries of AI integration in virtual worlds?

    Ans : Based on my current knowledge, there are several companies that are pioneering the integration of AI in a metaverse-related context. One prominent example is Meta, which is heavily investing in the development of the metaverse and is leveraging AI for various applications within it (e.g. Meta's Horizon Worlds). Another notable company is Roblox, which uses AI to power its virtual worlds and games. They employ AI for content moderation to ensure a safe environment for users and to generate in-game content, such as virtual characters and environments, enhancing the variety and creativity within the platform.

    In the gaming industry, Epic Games (the creator of Fortnite) is actively exploring AI integration into virtual worlds/games. They're e.g. working on AI-driven characters that can interact with players in a lifelike manner, making the gaming experience more dynamic and engaging. Furthermore, companies like NVIDIA are developing AI technologies for rendering, enabling more realistic and visually stunning virtual worlds. Their AI-driven graphics enhancements, like ray tracing and DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), contribute to the overall realism of the metaverse.

  • Ques 6 : Can you recommend resources or communities for individuals and organizations interested in exploring the metaverse further?

    Ans : For individuals and organizations interested in exploring the metaverse further, I recommend engaging with online communities such as Reddit's r/metaverse and Discord channels dedicated to the topic. Attending metaverse-related conferences and conventions is also a valuable resource, and it's crucial to stay updated by following existing standardization bodies like the Metaverse Standards Forum for industry insights and developments.

  • Ques 7 : What’s your success mantra?

    Ans : My success mantra is to relentlessly pursue my purpose of revolutionizing the way we communicate and interact with one another. I believe that unwavering dedication, continuous learning, and a passion for positive change are the keys to achieving this goal and making a meaningful impact on the world.

Aman Maan

Senior Consultant

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