Technological developments have long been at the heart of many societal fears. Breakthroughs like nuclear energy and even WiFi ignited many people’s imaginations, leading them to believe that these things meant to make life easier would instead end the world as they knew it.
An entire genre of fiction and film exploring dystopian societies or alternate universes has added fuel to the fire encompassing technological fears, especially those surrounding the once-futuristic artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Technology very well may have ended life as it was once known, but any net-positive societal advancement, such as electricity and vaccines, can claim the same.
People will always fear what they don’t know or understand, and there are a lot of nuances to new technology that people understandably struggle to grasp.
With AI, one of the greatest fears currently circulating is how people will be able to differentiate between what is real and what is not, particularly in digital environments like the metaverse.
The need for proof-of-humanity in the age of AI is a major concern, and the metaverse is not only taking these fears seriously, but many developers are doing something to solve it.
How the metaverse can integrate AI
While many people are speculating and fearful about the rise of AI, metaverse creators are excited about its potential. They see this as a great way to integrate technology and make their worlds more realistic for their users.
Roberto de Arquer Jaumandreu, co-founder of metaverse and digital identity firm Gamium, told Cointelegraph that AI will improve metaverse experiences in three specific ways in the near future: environment, effects and NPCs (non-playable characters).
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“Environments are the most common when it comes to AI experiences. You can ask the AI to create anything with you. No matter how outlandish, you can create anything with the right prompt. This is something that is about to also come in 3D. You can start from an asset, you can ask for a table, and you can even ask for a whole world,” said Jaumandreu. “The only limitation is your imagination.”
This ask-and-you-shall-receive model has already been seen with the creation of ChatGPT. Users can ask for a paragraph or an entire essay on pretty much any subject, going so far as to request specific information or statistics, and the AI will deliver it to them just as they asked it to. With the creation focus of many metaverses, this technology entering Web3 on a wider scale seems like a natural transition.
Jaumandreu added that AI will help improve the experience of filters in the metaverse.
“You can do anything with filters: be more handsome, change colors of things. And this is something that can be done through AI. Filters in the metaverse will be one of the most successful markets because people will be able to use them to alter their entire environments and make everything look cooler. AI will make all the difference with effects in the metaverse,” he said.
Another aspect that many people are simultaneously excited about and fear is the use of AI to create walking, talking, realistic NPCs.
“AI will improve NPCs through behavior integration. The behavior is not only you asking a question and then the NPC answering it, but also you asking them to behave a certain way and them doing it. You can use AI to move the skeletons of those NPCs to make them behave as if they were an actual person, doing what you asked them to do like they were role-playing,” Jaumandreu said. “More realistic movements from NPCs are a feature we are developing now.”
Essentially, AI is going to bring the metaverse to life and make it more interactive, and this is a belief that is shared by others in the Web3 space, like Raj Rajkotia, founder of sports metaverse LootMogul.
Rajkotia told Cointelegraph, “The metaverse is a perfect spot for the integration of AI technologies. It is one of the key elements inside our metaverse when it comes to avatars and personal profiles.”
Similar to what Jaumandreu said about the NPCs, Rajkotia believes that AI technology will transform the way avatars improve gameplay.
“When you’re playing a game, the game generally levels up through a database or usage. Incorporating AI into this makes that more interesting because as the machine learns your talents, your AI character in the game can also learn. So, your character will constantly learn and improve and get better at the game, and that will be done through the use of AI technology,” he said.
This integration has the potential to change gaming as players currently know it. If games, or stories within games, are directly connected to NPCs or avatars — especially ones with their own behaviors — every time a user restarts a game or story, they get to experience an entirely new game or story.
The main issue surrounding the integration of AI into the metaverse, however, revolves around how users will be able to differentiate between the AI characters and other real users.
The biggest concern people have with AI really boils down to trust. How can they trust that what they are interacting with is what they think they are interacting with? As the metaverse fills up with more and more AIs, this trust issue will have to be addressed in a way that makes users feel safe. Otherwise, they may no longer have a desire to interact within the metaverse at all.
“Due to the amount of AIs that are appearing right now, every time it’s more and more difficult to differentiate between what is AI and what is an actual person, so humanity proofs are going to be amassed in the very near future. We are focused on verifying and creating a unique identity for all of the internet,” said Jaumandreu.
All digital media by the end of 2023: pic.twitter.com/GWx1xgShTl— Smoke-away (@SmokeAwayyy) March 31, 2023
This “proof-of-humanity” tool uses people’s biometrics to prove that they are human. Similar to the blue check on Instagram that tells users they are dealing with a notable person, the “check” in the metaverse would let people know that they are actually interacting with a real person and not AI.
Another concern with AI in the metaverse is that AI-based personalities could potentially flood the space. A solution to this issue would be to limit the amount of AI allowed within a certain metaverse or game.
“You have to be careful with how many AI characters are inside the crowd. Otherwise, what happens is people get discouraged and then lose trust in the environment,” Rajkotia added. “If people want to meet with their friends for a game and are expecting to play with a certain person but the game is full of AI characters, they’ll start to wonder if they are actually playing with that person at all.”
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The solution to this problem is a hybrid environment with a healthy mix of both. Users have the AI and self-learning that brings the metaverse to life, but there is also the desired human connection. The sense of community is important within the metaverse, and the community is created when there is actual human connection.
When the balance between AI and human characters leans too far in either direction, the metaverse ends up limited in a way that is not conducive to the purpose of the space. Without AI technology, there are limitations placed on what can be developed and how people can interact. With too much AI, there is no need for humans and, in turn, humans would not enter the metaverse.
While there will always be some concern surrounding AI technology, creators are working hard to show proof-of-humanity through biometrics. As more people develop within Web3 and create metaverses, the right balance will likely be figured out with time.