All big tech companies except Apple are laying off 10.000s of staff; most pivot away from VR/AR developments to Generative AI (GenAI) like ChatGPT. However, GenAI is a key ingredient for mainstream metaverses, which I expect to be built on augmented — rather than virtual — reality.
Key points in this post
Big tech companies shifting focus from VR/AR projects to generative AI
Generative AI is actually a key ingredient for (m)any mainstream metaverse
These metaverses are expected to be visually mainly built on AR tech
The (r)evolution towards GenAI is driven by the industry’s need to create new experiences for the “Next Big Thing” as new cash cow or power house
Tech companies changing direction should not be seen as a setback for the metaverse but as a sign of the industry’s evolution towards AR in combination with generative AI and the potential for new and exciting possibilities
Three megatrends are imminent. Each trend triggers a next paradigm metashift: a fundamental change of how we think about the metaverse and see our world. Literally.
Megatrends leading to Triple Paradigm Metashift
The first megatrend is the relocation of key functions in all-in-one mobile phones to mobile hubs with a wide range of wearable companions:
Wireless earplugs replaced your phone’s mic and speakers (speech)
Smartwatches take over phone controls (touch and gestures)
Smart (AR) eyewear might soon substitute your phone’s screen (sight)
This current megatrend, Modular Mobility, enables us to superimpose anything digital into our real-world easily with small-factor AR overlays
The rapid growth of Augmented Reality in the real-world instead of VR in simulated worlds, leads to the second megatrend: Reverse Virtuality
Reverse Virtuality (RV) is the new mindset that the metaverse is not about merely an online 3D world for VR gear but about the real-world application of truly Mixed Reality for our AR-first physical world.
These megatrends bring both big benefits and challenges that phase us to the third megatrend, ultimately leading to Societal Metamorphosis
First phase: Digital Disorder, bad actors abusing disruptive meta-tech
Next phase: Digital Renaissance, tech-for-good tackling global crises
Final phase: Digital Singularity, irrevocable transformation of society
The good news? A Digital Singularity would be so much better for human civilization than a Technological Singularity. The bad? It’ll be tough first.
Our world is on the brink of another technological revolution.
As we stand atop the steep slope of the S-Curve Pattern of Innovation, we can’t help but wonder what the future holds. Following the (mobile) internet revolution with the rise of the web and smartphones, it’s difficult to predict what lies ahead.
The Metashift Quadrant is a simple model to analyze the potential impact of one or multiple paradigm shift(s) caused by metaverse developments and its underpinning technologies like AI and XR. The four quadrants represent different types of impact.