Exploring the Relationship Between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Metaverse

2023-03-01

Main Takeaways

  • The term metaverse most commonly describes an immersive, 3D, online world where users are represented by custom avatars.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is an emerging technology that uses computers to simulate human intelligence and perform sophisticated tasks such as decision-making, problem-solving, and learning.

  • AI can help make the user experience in the already immersive metaverse more inclusive, compelling, and secure. 

Wondering how artificial intelligence (AI) and the metaverse can work together synergistically? We’ve rounded up five ways in which the metaverse makes use of AI. There's plenty for us to unpack, so buckle up and hang on for the educational ride.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and the metaverse are some of the most captivating technologies of the 21st century so far. Both are believed to have the potential to change many aspects of our lives, disrupt different industries, and enhance the efficiency of traditional workflows. While these two technologies are often looked at separately, they're more connected than we may think. Before we explore the relationship between AI and the metaverse, let's start by defining both terms.

What Is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is a concept describing a hypothetical future design of the internet. It features an immersive, 3D online world where users are represented by custom avatars and access information with the help of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and similar technologies. Instead of accessing the internet via their screens, users access the metaverse via a combination of the physical and digital. The metaverse will enable people to socialize, play, and work alongside others in different 3D virtual spaces.

A similar arrangement was described in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science-fiction novel Snow Crash. While it was perceived as a fantasy mere three decades ago, it seems like it could become a reality sooner rather than later. Although the metaverse isn't fully in existence yet, some online platforms incorporate elements of it. For example, video games like Fortnite and Horizon World port multiple elements of our day-to-day lives into the online world. 

For a more in-depth exploration of the metaverse, check out our article What Is the Metaverse?

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

In simple terms, artificial intelligence (AI) is an array of technologies that leverage computers to mimic human intelligence in performing sophisticated tasks such as decision-making, problem-solving, and learning. AI has seen tremendous growth in the past ten years, and it's becoming increasingly intertwined with many aspects of our daily lives. Customer support chatbots and voice assistants like Siri and Alexa are great examples of AI technology that many of us may have interacted with. 

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How AI and the Metaverse Work Together

24/7 support

AI chatbots are commonly used to assist with answering basic customer queries, facilitate onboarding, and troubleshoot simple issues instantly. This form of communication can also be applied in the metaverse. AI chatbots can help users by providing them with information about different services, answering simple product queries, taking orders, and more. For example, if you can't find the specific pair of shoes you want while shopping in the metaverse, an AI chatbot could help you locate the store and direct you to them. 

Inclusivity

Thanks to the power of AI, metaverses can become more inclusive. Natural language processing (NLP), a branch of AI, can potentially break down human language barriers. NLP allows machines to understand, read, and even deduce different languages, making it much easier for people worldwide to communicate with each other in the metaverse. 

To take this up a notch, NLP, speech recognition, computer vision, AI-powered translation, and AR can further enhance user-metaverse and user-user interactions. For instance, you can interact with the metaverse in your native language and receive feedback in the form of images and videos. 

The promise of a truly immersive experience is a massive driving force for the metaverse. However, for people with limited digital skills or those suffering from disabilities, a highly digitized space could potentially be less accessible. AI technology can help create an inclusive and accessible user interface, thus ensuring that everyone makes the most of their online experiences. 

User experience

One of the basic metaverse moves is creating your own avatar. AI applications could help people build realistic avatars by generating an array of options based on user inputs.

Many online platforms we use daily, like shopping sites and social media, utilize AI-based recommendation systems to get user data and provide customized recommendations tailored to users’ browsing habits. This feature can also be employed in the metaverse to make your experiences more bespoke. 

Spam detection

AI can also play a huge part in fighting cyber security threats in the metaverse. For example, implementing AI-powered spam filters could help stamp out annoying and potentially dangerous incoming messages, whatever form they take in the immersive world of the metaverse.

Gaming

AI can be used to create dynamic and responsive, human-like non-player characters (NPCs) to interact with users in a virtual environment. These characters can "see" and "listen to" users to comprehend what they are saying, elevating the traditional gaming experience. Moreover, AI-infused gaming characters in the metaverse can offer users more meaningful interactions by using body language and speech to develop more compelling conversations. 

Conclusion

AI is not a cure-all to create the perfect metaverse, but there are many areas where it can take the user experience to the next level. If these two emerging technologies can live up to their potential, they'll surely create a lasting impact in the virtual world. We may uncover more innovation by harnessing both technologies as they develop. 

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Further Reading

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