January 31, 2023

Metaverse Highlights: Week of January 31, 2023

This week, we highlight the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) for the metaverse. Far from a competing technology, AI might power virtual worlds and accelerate their adoption. Polygon Labs, for instance, just launched an AI-powered NFT project that allows users to create NFT avatars through text-based prompts. More broadly, thanks to recent developments in AI like ChatGPT and DALL-E, a future in which users can create their own strange, immersive worlds is not far off. As Time Magazine reports, three new text-to-3D generators were announced recently: GET3D from Nvidia, Make-a-Video from Meta, and DreamFusion from Google.

This trend is accelerating alongside more and less positive developments. On the less positive side, the tech layoffs are impacting the metaverse sector, with Microsoft firing most of its virtual reality team. On the more positive side, countries such as South Korea, and institutions like the World Economic Forum, are treating the metaverse seriously – and pioneering experimental projects. Together, these developments might mean that the tech layoffs will have little effect in the long run. Backed by new technologies and an increasing number of large players, the metaverse is here to stay.


  • Alethea AI and Polygon Labs are jumping on the AI hype with the launch of an AI-powered NFT project that allows users to create NFT avatars through text-based prompts similar to OpenAi’s Dall-E image generator.

  • The project plans to allow “anyone to rapidly create, train and trade AI Characters as NFTs on Polygon.” CharacterGPT, created by Alethea AI, claims to go “beyond traditional text-to-image engines like Open AI’s Dall-E 2… to generate fully interactive and intelligent AI characters with a single-line prompt in natural language.” 

  • Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal said: “I have seen firsthand how Alethea AI has developed this technology over the last few years and through their CharacterGPT AI engine…We are excited to continue supporting Alethea as it builds on Polygon and to bring the power and potential of generative AI to the thriving ecosystem.”

  • Many of the trends and ideas that shape America come to California first, so it’s worth noting that the state has introduced a big tech upgrade at its Department of Motor Vehicles. As Fortune was the first to report, the agency is in the final stages of replicating its title database on the Tezos blockchain. Itexpects to launch consumer-facing applications tied to the blockchain within three months.

  • In practice, this means California drivers will soon be able to hold their car titles as NFTs in their digital wallets, and the DMV will streamline the cumbersome process of title transfers. Based on comments from the agency’s chief digital officer and the software firm overseeing the project, the initiative sounds serious—and potentially transformative.

  • In a vast studio outside Seoul, technicians huddled in front of monitors, watching cartoon K-pop singers — at least one of whom had a tail — dance in front of a psychedelic backdrop. A woman with fairy wings fluttered by.
  • Everyone onscreen was real, sort of. The singers had human counterparts in the studio, isolated in cubicles, with headsets on their faces and joysticks in both hands. Immersed in a virtual world, they were competing to become part of (hopefully) the next big Korean girl band.

  • The stakes were high. A few of their competitors, after failing to make the cut, had been dropped into bubbling lava. This, some say, is the future of entertainment in the metaverse, brought to you by South Korea, the world’s testing ground for all things technological.

  • The WEF agenda featured two workshops directly addressing the metaverse as part of the conference’s “Defining and Building the Metaverse” initiative in 2023.

  • The first workshop, “A New Reality: Building the Metaverse,” featured Meta’s chief product officer Chris Cox, while a second, titled “Deployment in the Industrial Metaverse,” explored how industries can tap into the benefits of the metaverse while avoiding its disruptive potential.

  • The World Economic Forum is exploring metaverse experiences within the convention as well. The 2023 conference allowed delegates to experience the forum in its own 3D immersive digital sessions called the Global Collaboration Village. 

  • A custom digital avatar allowed WEF delegates to explore Davos in the metaverse and experience tailor-made experiences during the weeklong conference. Decentralized or not, the organization is tapping into the potential of Web3 to offer more to delegates through virtual experiences.

  • Two leading tech firms co-authored an Industrial IoT Consortium (IIC) article introducing the machine economy, a new IoT digital transformation frontier that, according to PwC, will contribute to 70% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next seven years.

  • In a convergence of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology, the machine economy could contribute up to $15 trillion to the global economy by 2030, a PwC report said.

  • The Research conducted by IoTeX and Siemens explores why IoT and distributed ledger technology (DLT), such as blockchain, will enable machine economy growth and unlock new opportunities for IoT manufacturers and end-users. The report also describes some of the disruptive business models that the industry is witnessing and highlights implementation examples.

  • The NBA has sealed a deal to bring some of its games freely to the metaverse. On Jan. 23, the company announced an extension of its current partnership with Meta to broadcast its games using VR (virtual reality) technology. 

  • The games will be broadcasted using Xtadium, a metaverse app used to broadcast immersive sports experiences using Meta’s consumer headset, the Meta Quest 2.With this move, the league aims for existing fans to have a more interactive experience, and bring new fans that are familiarized with these new technologies to the sport.

  • The league will present 52 games in Horizon Worlds, Meta’s flagship metaverse app, for users to enjoy and watch. Five of these games will be presented in a more immersive way, using 180-degree monoscopic tech. This means that the user will be able to experience the game as if they were sitting close to the court, changing the point of view as the match advances.

  • Thanks to recent developments in AI like ChatGPT and DALL-E, a future in which users will be able to create their own strange, immersive worlds is not far off. In the fall, three new text-to-3D generators were announced: GET3D from Nvidia, Make-a-Video from Meta and DreamFusion from Google.
  • And metaverse builders are already using text generators like ChatGPT—which responds to text prompts with startling poise and intelligence—and visual generators like DALL-E—which creates images out of text prompts—to ideate new worlds and designs. 

  • Metaverse industry insiders say that these AI technologies will be crucial toward building virtual worlds that are detail-rich and customizable—that they hold the key toward creating metaverses that regular people will actually want to spend time in.

  • A month into 2023, the buzz around AI is only growing louder. Despite a lull in investment, severalmetaverse platforms are bullish about future virtual worlds. Even amid a global economic slowdown, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) predicts 60% of companies will increase tech and digital transformation investments in 2023. So what can we expect from AI and the metaverse in 2023? We asked the experts.

  • “The next 10 years are going to be even more disruptive from a technology perspective than the last 10 years have been, mainly because we’re beginning to see a confluence of three different technologies — the metaverse, web3, and very advanced AI,” says Ajay Chowdhury, managing director and senior partner at BCG X, Boston Consulting Group’s tech build and design unit, with a focus on deep tech. 

  • The sector is estimated to have raised $70.9bn by the end of 2022, and the US, UK, Germany, Singapore, and Switzerland have more than doubled their AI unicorn count, according to the State of AI report.

  • Big tech companies across the spectrum, including Meta, Microsoft, and Apple, are scaling back on virtual reality research and development. The technological demands of the metaverse are more advanced than CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg have anticipated, and employees are feeling the impact.

  • Microsoft recently laid off 10,000 workers, cutting funding from the lab responsible for producing its mixed-reality “HoloLens.” The army was originally in the works to use the Microsoft lens for aids in combat and training, but the technology has since been labeled as “dangerous and poorly designed.”

  • Meta laid off 11,000 employees last November and continues to struggle to gain interest and traction for its ambitious metaverse project. A report from Insider notes that a combination of obstacles keeps Zuckerberg’s meta-dreams shackled. 

  • Metaverse tech is starting to change the landscape of job hunting and recruiting in Japan. More than 2,000 students attended a metaverse job fair, that allowed them to use digital avatars to communicate with recruiters and examine the possibilities of each job offer available.
  • Due to the anonymity in the metaverse, participants were allowed to ask questions on delicate matters concerning these job offerings, according to reports of the Asahi Shimbun. 179 companies participated in this effort, which was organized by Neo Career Co., which took care of the job-related activities, and X Inc., which carried the metaverse-related tasks.

  • The companies stated that this was likely one of the biggest events of this kind in Japan and also reinforced the advantages that the metaverse brings for these recruiting processes.

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