In a recent podcast hosted by Lex Fridman, the intended guest was Mark Zuckerberg. However, what listeners witnessed was something entirely novel, the first podcast to take place within the metaverse. Through the use of hyper-realistic avatars, both personalities were able to participate in the conversation from nearly 2,000 miles apart, creating an immersive experience for all involved.
Both Fridman and Zuckerberg had previously undergone body scanning for Meta’s Kodak Avatars project. Rather than utilizing cartoonish avatars transmitted via video, their realistic likenesses were captured and converted into encoded data for online transmission. Not only do these avatars offer a photorealistic experience, but they also require less bandwidth than traditional video, particularly 3D-immersive videos. According to Zuckerberg, this technology aligns with the ultimate goal of virtual and augmented reality, which is to provide a strong sense of presence regardless of physical location.
Fridman revealed that he traveled to Pittsburgh for the comprehensive scanning process, which turned out to be a time-consuming endeavor lasting several hours. This raises questions about the feasibility of such a process for all users interested in these developments. However, the ultimate objective is crystal clear: to develop a streamlined scanning process that can be completed quickly and easily using a smartphone.
The technology demonstrated in the podcast between Fridman and Zuckerberg has far-reaching implications and could revolutionize various industries in the coming decade. With the ability to create photorealistic avatars that can interact with each other in a virtual environment, the need for physical gatherings may significantly diminish. Hyper-realistic avatars could enable remote workers to collaborate in a more immersive and engaging way, fostering greater productivity and teamwork.
Photorealistic avatars have the potential to become the standard in video games, movies, and TV shows, providing a more engaging and immersive experience for viewers. Moreover, these avatars could facilitate novel forms of interaction between keynote speakers like myself and audiences globally, transcending linguistic and geographical barriers. My own development, Edgar Perez AI, aligns with this trend, as I can simultaneously exist in multiple locations and communicate in any language, thanks to the power of artificial intelligence. Additionally, social media platforms may incorporate this technology, enabling users to connect with their friends and family in a more realistic manner, even when they are not physically present.
E-learning and education will be completely transformed. Students will learn from teachers or instructors from anywhere in the world, without the need for physical classrooms. This technology could democratize access to high-quality education. Similarly, medical professionals could consult with patients remotely, while still maintaining a human connection through photorealistic avatars. This could expand healthcare access to underserved communities and enhance patient care.
People could explore destinations virtually, reducing the need for physical travel and its associated environmental impact. Moreover, architects and builders could use photorealistic avatars to showcase designs and walk clients through virtual models before they are built, streamlining the design and construction process.
The advent of photorealistic avatars is poised to revolutionize numerous facets of our existence in the forthcoming decade. As this technology continues to evolve and becomes more widely available, we can expect its impact to transcend boundaries, precipitating novel applications across a broad spectrum of industries. In fact, it’s not unreasonable to predict that physical gatherings will soon become the exception rather than the norm, as virtual interactions become increasingly prevalent. Indeed, Mr. Fridman, you are now partaking in the Metaverse, the latest manifestation of the internet.