The metaverse has virtually disappeared. Here’s why it’s generative AI’s fault

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    If a year is a long time in technology, two years is practically a lifetime. At the end of 2021, everyone was talking about the Metaverse. Two years later, almost no one is talking about it (except maybe Mark Zuckerberg). So what went wrong?

    One of the big problems is the hype. It can be difficult to convey the great excitement that comes with new technology. Ask the people who have worked on blockchain.

    Related article: 4 ways to detect generative AI hype from reality

    Gartner Director Analyst Samantha Searle told ZDNET that in many ways Metaverse’s fall from the front page is no surprise.

    “We’re basically going through Gartner’s hype cycle for emerging technologies,” she says. “We’ve had all the hype and now we’re seeing the reality. The Metaverse has captured people’s imaginations. But we’re still looking for proven use cases that create value. .”

    Searle’s argument that the Metaverse is suffering the same fate as other overhyped technologies is certainly one of the factors explaining the decline in interest in the Metaverse. But another big factor for him is the rapid rise of artificial intelligence (AI).

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    Twelve months after virtual worlds dominated the news agenda, a much-hyped new technology — a host of generative AI tools similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT — will emerge and capture media attention in late 2022. I collected it. Those who dabbled a little quickly discovered something. Using generative AI is easy.

    Anyone can go online, log in to ChatGPT, and receive instant answers to their questions. You can generate content in near real time, from essays to images to program code.

    Sasha Jory, CIO of Hastings Direct, says that for most users, these experiences are simple and enjoyable. This is a huge leap forward from some of the hyped technologies of the not-so-distant past.

    “This is not like blockchain. It’s all hype and it’s not going anywhere. Generative AI has legs because it’s democratized. It’s available to everyone and it’s everywhere,” she said. said on ZDNET. London leg of Snowflake’s Data Cloud World Tour. “Even my youngest son can access and use ChatGPT, whereas blockchain, for example, required very advanced skills to understand.”

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    Of course, the rapid adoption of generative AI is not the only story in this story. There are a series of potential concerns, including hallucinations, plagiarism, and ethics, that will need to be addressed sooner or later. But if you want to impress your family and friends with a tool that works like magic, generative AI is the way to go.

    The Metaverse, on the other hand, like blockchain before it, is a bit like a rabbit trapped in a magician’s hat. Entering the Metaverse is often not as easy as its proponents promise. Most people still have to enter a virtual environment. Experienced users, myself included, are often disappointed with the experience provided by hardware and software.

    Adobe CIO Cynthia Stoddard told ZDNET that the company has yet to find the right use case for Metaverse. “We’ve been experimenting with her VR headset,” she says, referring to her company’s explorations. “We don’t have a clear use case for our business yet. But I think headsets have real applications in several areas. Because it finds many applications in different vertical directions. ”

    This is an opinion echoed by Gartner’s Mr. Searle, who says it’s important not to give up hope just yet. “We think there are a lot of potential use cases for the metaverse,” she says. She says financial services companies are often keen to explore how technology can be used to provide customer service.

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    Mr. Searle is referring to JP Morgan. bet big on the metaverse This is a trillion dollar opportunity, opening the first bank in the virtual world. But even in the financial realm, some organizations are taking a more cautious approach.

    “I don’t think Metaverse is an immediate priority,” Kavin Mistry, head of digital marketing and personalization at TSB Bank, told ZDNET. “I see value in Metaverse-type technology, but I think it probably needs to mature so that we can understand the right way to make it happen for customers. I also think the market is still not well-informed. I don’t think I’m mature enough to offer a decision about the right path to take. ”

    Gartner’s Searle also acknowledges that the metaverse is still far from maturity. “We know that some of the underlying immersive technologies still have some work to do in terms of form factor and comfort,” she says.

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    There’s a lot of construction work that needs to be completed, from using headsets to creating lifelike avatars to building fun virtual environments, Searle says. But these construction sites could still lead to exciting developments, especially considering that tech giant Apple has started showing interest in the area.

    Additionally, recruiter Nash Squared’s recent IT Leadership Report found that 26% of digital leaders are at least actively considering the metaverse.

    Bev White, CEO of Nash Squared, said in an interview with ZDNET that more organizations are starting to think about how virtual worlds can open up new business opportunities.

    “It’s definitely alive and kicking,” she says. “The Metaverse presents an incredible opportunity to run your business with your customer base in a completely different way than before. The Metaverse is actually creating a completely new platform because your customers can pick up, see, and experience things. To do.”

    It’s an approach that echoes that of Lalo Luna, Heineken’s global head of strategy and insights. He says his company is busy exploring virtual worlds.

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    “One of the main projects I led over the past 12 months was understanding the future of socialization. We need to understand what role technology will play in social spaces. And of course the Metaverse would be one of those things. He told ZDNET that perspective is important and that the metaverse will not be built overnight.

    Just as generative AI is the tangible manifestation of years of research and development work, Luna expects virtual worlds to grow in importance over the rest of the decade. And smart experts are already looking for ways to drive stakes into the ground, he says.

    “Heineken was one of the first breweries to open a bar and brewery in the Metaverse. We take these developments very seriously and are looking to get us where we need to be,” he said. say. “Obviously, we’re exploring and we’re in the experimental phase. Some of our big brands are passionate about technology. They’re rapidly moving into different types of platforms, not just the Metaverse. Heineken, as a company, is curious and experimental, and I think that’s important to success.”


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