Metaverse

Discover the Power of ChatGPT: How it Can Improve Your Business and Help You Make Better Decisions

Today, we’ll discuss two important players in the artificial intelligence (AI) world. First, let’s talk about ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is a type of AI model called a language generation model. It was developed by a research institute called OpenAI, which we will discuss later.

ChatGPT is a variant of the Generative Pre-trained Transformer language generation model developed by OpenAI. It is trained on a large text dataset, specifically real human conversations. It can generate responses to user inputs in a conversational context.

OpenAI offers a free version of the GPT-3 language model, which includes ChatGPT, through its Application Programming Interface. This allows developers to build ChatGPT into their own applications and use it to generate responses to user inputs. However, there are limits on the number of API requests and the size of the model that can be used with the free version. If you want to use larger models or make more API requests, you need to pay for a subscription.

There are several data sources that a small business owner can use with ChatGPT to find ways to improve their business. To use ChatGPT, you typically provide a question or statement, and it generates a response based on that input.  

Ways to improve their business with ChatGPT

  1. Customer feedback: One of a small business’s most valuable data sources is customer feedback. ChatGPT can help you analyze this data and generate insights and recommendations based on it. By gathering customer feedback through surveys, online reviews, social media comments, and other channels, you can learn more about what your customers like and dislike about your business and identify areas for improvement.
  2. Sales data: Another important data source for small businesses is sales data. This includes information about what products or services are selling well, which channels drive the most sales, and which customer segments are the most valuable. By analyzing this data, you can identify trends and patterns to help you make better business decisions. ChatGPT can help you extract insights from your sales data and generate recommendations for improving your sales and revenue.
  3. Marketing data: Marketing data can also be a valuable source of information for a small business. This includes data on the effectiveness of your campaigns, the performance of your website, social media channels, and your customers’ behavior. By analyzing this data, you can identify what’s working well and what’s not and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. ChatGPT can help you analyze your marketing data and generate recommendations for improving your marketing efforts.
  4. Industry data: In addition to data specific to your business, it can be helpful to look at industry data to get a broader perspective on trends and best practices. This can include data on the overall market size, growth rates, key players in your industry, and consumer behavior and preferences. ChatGPT can help you analyze industry data and generate insights and recommendations for improving your business in the context of your industry.

But ChatGPT isn’t just useful for chatbot applications. You can also use ChatGPT to gather valuable customer feedback and insights as a small business owner. By integrating ChatGPT into your customer surveys or feedback forms, you can get real-time customer responses and identify areas for improvement.  

Ten prompts that you can test today and see the responses from ChatGPT

  1. “Build me a customer satisfaction survey with 10 questions about my products.”
  2. Develop a customer loyalty program for my business.”
  3. “Design a referral program to encourage customers to refer friends and family.”
  4. “Generate a list of potential influencers to work with.”
  5. “Create a social media marketing plan to engage with customers and drive traffic to the website.”
  6. “Create a list of potential keywords for my website’s search engine optimization organic and paid campaigns.”
  7. “Implement an email marketing campaign to nurture leads and build customer relationships.”
  8. “Create a customer persona for my target audience.”
  9. “Design a customer journey map to understand the customer experience and identify opportunities for improvement.”
  10. “Utilize user-generated content (UGC) to showcase customer experiences and increase brand trust.”

Now, let’s talk about OpenAI. OpenAI is a research institute founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs and researchers, including Elon Musk and Sam Altman. The goal of OpenAI is to advance the field of Artificial Intelligence in a way that is responsible and beneficial to society. To do this, they research various AI-related areas, such as machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics. They also release their research findings and open-source software to the broader AI community.

Examples of how small business owners can start using ChatGPT to benefit their business

  1. Sign up for the OpenAI API: The first step to using ChatGPT is to sign up for the OpenAI API. This will give you access to the free version of GPT-3, which includes ChatGPT, and allow you to start experimenting with the model. You can sign up for the API at the OpenAI website.
  2. Experiment with different prompts: Once you have access to the API, you can try out different prompts and see what responses ChatGPT generates. You might want to start by testing out some of the prompts like “Generate ideas for high-quality, SEO-friendly content that will attract and engage visitors.” This will give you a sense of how ChatGPT works and what it can do.
  3. Think about how you can use ChatGPT in your business: As you experiment with ChatGPT, start thinking about how to use it. Consider using ChatGPT to handle customer inquiries and complaints, generate product recommendations, or handle frequently asked questions. You could also use ChatGPT to improve your customer onboarding process or gather customer feedback. 


Thank you for watching our video on ChatGPT, and OpenAI, and remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more AI, VR, and AR content to help your business.

Metaverse

The Transformative Power of Technology Conferences

  • Web3, Metaverse, and Blockchain Take Center Stage at CES 2023

The Consumer Electronics Show, now known as CES and produced by the Consumer Technology Association, is a major industry event that showcases the latest in consumer technology. Although the conference is not open to the public, several media outlets report on the innovations unveiled at CES. Join me as I share how CES, and before that COMDEX, have shaped my career.

First Impressions: The Difference Between God And Larry Ellison

As I prepared to start my new job at Oracle Corporation, I had the chance to attend my first COMDEX conference in Las Vegas. This event, COMDEX Fall 2000, was my first opportunity to see the latest technology before the rest of the world. I was immediately struck by the innovative products and services at the event. The experience sparked my passion for attending technology conferences like WebSummit, SXSW, and CES.

I did not understand The Difference Between God And Larry Ellison*, and I can’t take credit for the clever book title from Mike Wilson (*God Doesn’t Think He’s Larry Ellison), but I remember being impressed by the combative keynote of my new CEO. Ellison’s “Software Powers the Internet” speech took aim at Microsoft and its CEO Bill Gates. But Microsoft was ready for Ellison. As I walked out of the Las Vegas Convention Center, I saw a team of people distributing coffee mugs with a list of reasons why Microsoft was better than Oracle. It was my first taste of the power of guerrilla marketing in action, and I wish I still had that coffee mug.

I don’t Know What It Is, But I Like It

In 2009, I became an early adopter of the Qik live video streaming app (before it was available on the Apps Store). I used it to capture videos from all over CES in 2010, including the unveiling of the Parrot AR. Drone and demonstrations of the iOS apps used to control it. You can watch my reaction to the drone in this video and notice the quality of the video.

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I also captured Lady Gaga being named creative director for Polaroid at CES 2010; what do you think of the video quality from 2010?


Google Glass and Shaquille O’Neal

Four years later, I attended CES with a better device for capturing the conference: Google Glass. This voice and motion-controlled Android device resembles eyeglasses and displays information directly in the user’s field of vision. I remember NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal extending his long arms to borrow my Google Glass to record Nick Cannon during CES 2014; watch Shaq here.

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Later that day, my friend Jeff Cutler and I were asked to leave the Wynn Casino for wearing the device while playing roulette.

Where Are They Now? 

Today, iPhone and Android users have many options for high-quality live streaming. “Cinematic mode” on the iPhone 14 series allows for 4K recording at 30 fps and 24 fps.

The Parrot AR. Drone received a CES Innovations award in 2010 for Electronic Gaming Hardware. By early 2013, around half a million units of the AR. Drone and its successor had been sold. The company has since shifted its focus to commercial drone solutions.

Instant film pioneer Polaroid was a cultural icon for decades, but the company could not withstand the shift to digital technology and shut down all production in 2008.

CES During the COVID Era

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, CES featured over 4,000 exhibitors and 170,000 attendees from all over the world. Due to the pandemic, the show went entirely virtual in 2021. It returned in January 2022 as a hybrid live and digital event. However, a winter COVID surge caused CES 2022 to be a debacle, with exhibitors and journalists asking the Consumer Technology Association to cancel the show.

Looking Forward to CES 2023 

CES 2023 will take over Las Vegas Convention Center, with overflow at other venues, including the Venetian Expo and C Space at Aria. More than 1,300 confirmed exhibitors and 323 Fortune Global 500 companies have registered for the event. The Web3 Studio at LVCC’s Central Hall will be the hub of all things Web3, metaverse, and blockchain at CES. Industry leaders and visionaries will gather to discuss the most significant advancements in these areas across various industries, technologies, and capabilities.

One of the exhibitors I am looking forward to seeing is Magic Leap, a company founded by fellow University of Miami alumni Rony Abovitz. In the early 90s, Abovitz was responsible for the weekly cartoon for The Miami Hurricane student newspaper, where I was the business manager. In their two-story exhibit (Tech East, LVCC Central, Booth #15875), Magic Leap will showcase the power of their platform and eight of the latest AR solutions on Magic Leap 2, including Cisco’s Webex Hologram

Webex Hologram allows meeting participants to collaborate in more profoundly inclusive and engaging ways than ever before. By projecting the presenter and their content into the viewer’s physical space, Webex Hologram creates an unprecedented experience of co-presence.

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to attend CES and witness firsthand its impact on the industry. It offers a glimpse into the future of technology and provides valuable insights into emerging trends and innovations.

As a technology enthusiast, I am always eager to share my experiences and insights with others. Please let me know if you have any specific topics or areas of interest that you would like me to cover in my next article. Whether you are a tech professional, an industry expert, or someone interested in staying up to date on the latest trends, I hope you will continue to follow my articles and join me in exploring the exciting world of consumer electronics.

Metaverse

Virtual Reality Headset Sales Decline in 2022: Impact on the Metaverse

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology have the potential to revolutionize industries such as entertainment, education, and healthcare. However, the declining sales of VR headsets in 2022 raises questions about the potential success of the metaverse.

According to NPD Group, sales of virtual reality headsets in the U.S. declined 2% year over year to $1.1 billion as of early December. Worldwide shipments of VR headsets and augmented reality devices dropped more than 12% to 9.6 million in 2022.

“The metaverse has the potential to transform how we work, learn, and interact with one another, but widespread adoption of VR headsets has been slow,” said Peggy Johnson, CEO of Magic Leap, the developer of lightweight mixed reality headset Magic Leap 2.

“AR has the potential to revolutionize industries such as healthcare, education, and retail,” said Johnson. “Meanwhile, VR is expected to focus on more specialized and immersive experiences, such as gaming and entertainment.”

Differences Between VR and AR

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets provide unique and immersive experiences, but they have some differences. VR headsets fully immerse the user in a simulated environment. In contrast, AR headsets show digital information on top of the user’s real-world surroundings. VR headsets completely block out the real world and transport the user to a virtual environment, while AR headsets let the user see and interact with both the real and digital worlds simultaneously.

Top VR Headsets

When considering purchasing a VR headset, it is essential to consider your needs and budget. Think about what you want to use the headset and the hardware you already have before deciding. Some top VR headsets currently available include the Oculus Quest 2, Valve Index, HTC Vive, and Sony PlayStation VR.

Conclusion

The sales decline of VR headsets in 2022 does not necessarily mean there are problems with the metaverse, as the metaverse can be accessed through various technologies like AR headsets, smartphones, and other devices. However, the decline in VR headset sales could indicate that the market for VR technology is not as thriving as some expected, which could pose challenges for the VR industry in the future. Changes in consumer preferences or the economic conditions in 2022 could also cause the decline in sales. Still, the good news is that our team will attend CES 2023 and report back with any new findings.

Metaverse

Why TikTok is Being Banned by Universities, Governments

  • Learn about the major concerns surrounding TikTok and take action to protect yourself

U.S. Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) have introduced a bipartisan bill that would ban TikTok and other social media platforms controlled or influenced by America’s foreign adversaries, including China, Russia, and Iran. 

This legislation follows decisive action by at least ten Governors to ban TikTok from public devices in their states and comes on the heels of a new wave of bipartisan concern with TikTok. 

Administration officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray and the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, have spoken out publicly about concerning threats posed by TikTok. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has stated that there is now widespread consensus in the U.S. that TikTok presents an unacceptable risk to national security and the safety and privacy of millions of Americans, and has called for the Administration to complete its ongoing national security review of TikTok, which is being run out of the Treasury Department. 

With this bipartisan consensus in mind, Commissioner Carr has reiterated his call for the Administration to act with the urgency that this national security threat demands and ban TikTok.

Universities Ban TikTok

Auburn University and 26 public universities and colleges in Georgia have reportedly been required to ban TikTok due to state government bans. TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter stated that the bans are based on “unfounded falsehoods” and that the company is working with the U.S. government to address national security concerns. 

The University of Oklahoma is joining the growing list of universities, governments, and organizations that are banning TikTok. According to an email sent to students on Tuesday, the school will be barring internet access for the app in compliance with Governor Kevin Stitt’s executive order prohibiting the use of TikTok on state devices. “Effective immediately, no University employee or student shall access the TikTok application or website on University-owned or operated devices, including O.U. wired and wireless networks,” wrote David Horton, the Chief Information Officer, and Senior Associate Vice President. 

Iowa State University has mandated the removal of TikTok from all devices owned, leased, or controlled by the university. This decision comes following a directive from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to ban TikTok on state-owned devices due to national security risks. “It is clear that TikTok represents a national security risk to our country, and I refuse to subject the citizens of Iowa to that risk,” Reynolds stated. “They trust us with their personal and confidential information, and we will take every step possible to protect it, including from the Chinese government.”

One primary concern is the issue of data privacy and security. Some experts are raising concerns about the company’s ability to collect and use personal data in potentially harmful ways. “There are genuine concerns about TikTok’s data collection practices and whether the company is fully transparent about how it uses and protects user data,” said John Reed Stark, a cybersecurity expert and former SEC enforcement official, in an interview with NPR.

There are also fears that TikTok may share user data with third parties, including the Chinese government, which has raised concerns about the potential for data misuse or abuse. For example, in August 2021, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it would ban TikTok on government-owned devices due to concerns about the platform’s data collection practices. “There are genuine concerns about the potential for TikTok to collect and use personal data in ways that may be unethical or harmful to users, as well as fears that the company may share user data with third parties, including the Chinese government,” according to an article in Forbes.

Political censorship is another major concern, as there have been allegations that TikTok censors or suppresses content related to sensitive political topics, particularly in the Chinese market. “TikTok has been accused of censoring content related to sensitive political topics, particularly in the Chinese market, which raises concerns about the company’s commitment to freedom of expression,” according to The Guardian. This has raised concerns about the potential for TikTok to be used to spread government propaganda or suppress dissent, as well as questions about TikTok’s commitment to freedom of expression and open dialogue.

Other concerns raised include the potential for TikTok to contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and social comparison and the potential for the app to become addictive or lead to excessive use. There have also been concerns about TikTok’s handling of online safety issues, including the potential for the platform to be used for cyberbullying and other harmful behavior.

In light of these concerns, universities, governments, and other organizations have mandated the removal of TikTok.

So, what can you do to protect yourself regarding TikTok and other social media platforms? Here are some recommendations:

  • Review your privacy and security settings: Make sure you are aware of the information you share on TikTok and take steps to protect your personal data. This may include adjusting your privacy settings and being cautious about sharing sensitive information.
  • Stay up to date on the latest developments: Keep an eye on the news and stay informed about the latest developments related to TikTok’s data collection practices and other concerns. This can help you make informed decisions about your use of the app.
  • Consider alternative platforms: If you are concerned about the risks associated with TikTok, consider using alternative platforms offering similar features and functionality.
  • Support efforts to promote transparency and accountability: Consider supporting efforts to promote transparency and accountability in the social media industry, including efforts to address data privacy and security concerns.
  • Seek support if you are struggling: If you are struggling with addiction or overuse of TikTok or any other social media platform, or if you are experiencing negative impacts on your mental health, it is important to seek support. This may include seeking help from a mental health professional or seeking support from friends and family.
Metaverse

Understanding  Ethereum Name Service (ENS) Domains: A Primer for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, it’s essential to stay ahead of the game and keep up with the latest technology trends, such as the Ethereum Name Service (ENS). ENS is a decentralized platform that allows users to access decentralized applications – or dApps – and other Ethereum-based resources using human-readable domain names, providing a simple and intuitive way for users to access your business’s dApp or other resources. This article will explore the benefits of using an ENS domain, including improved user experience, enhanced security, and continuing to build your brand and reputation. We will also cover the steps for registering an ENS domain and tips for managing and securing your domain to protect your business and its assets. Don’t miss out on the benefits of using an ENS domain – start exploring and planning for your own ENS domain today.

What is an ENS Domain?

An ENS domain is a unique name registered on the Ethereum blockchain. Unlike traditional domain names, which are controlled by central authorities like ICANN, ENS domains are decentralized and operate on the Ethereum network. This means they resist censorship, manipulation, and other forms of interference.

ENS domains link a human-readable name, such as my personal sociajulio.eth domain to a specific Ethereum address. This allows users to easily access and interact with smart contracts and dApps using a simple and memorable name rather than having to remember a long and complex Ethereum address. ENS domains can be used to access a wide range of decentralized resources, including web applications, files, and other data.

Benefits of Using an ENS Domain

There are several benefits of using an ENS domain for businesses and dApps. Some of the main advantages include the following:

  • Improved user experience: ENS domains provide a simple and intuitive way for users to access and interact with smart contracts and dApps. This can help improve the user experience and make it easier for people to discover and use your business’s decentralized resources.
  • Enhanced security: ENS domains can help improve security by reducing the risk of phishing attacks and other forms of fraud. Since ENS domains are decentralized, it is much more difficult for attackers to impersonate legitimate domains and trick users into visiting fake locations.
  • Building brand and reputation: ENS domains can help businesses and dApps build brand and reputation by providing a unique and memorable way for users to access their products and services. This can help differentiate businesses from competitors and build trust with customers.

Registering an ENS Domain

To register an ENS domain, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Choose a name: The first step in registering an ENS domain is to choose a unique and memorable name. It is a good idea to choose a name that is easy to remember and that accurately reflects your business or dApp. ENS domain names must end in “.eth,” and they can be up to 32 characters long.
  2. Check availability: Once you have chosen a name, you will need to check if it is available. You can do this by using a tool like the ENS domain checker, or our team can help you.
  3. Purchase the domain: If the name you have chosen is available, you will need to purchase the domain from ENS.domains.
  4. Set up DNS records: Once you have purchased your ENS domain, you need to set up DNS records to link it to your smart contract or dApp. This involves creating a “resolver” contract that points to your Ethereum address and setting up a “TLD registrar” contract that controls the “.eth” portion of your domain.

Using an ENS Domain to Access dApps

One of the main benefits of using an ENS domain is easily accessing dApps and other Ethereum-based resources. Instead of remembering long and complex Ethereum addresses, users can enter the ENS domain into their web browser or Ethereum wallet to access the desired resource.

For example, if a business has an ENS domain of “mydapp.eth,” users can access the business’s dApp by typing “mydapp.eth” into their web browser or Ethereum wallet. This can significantly improve the user experience of accessing dApps and make it easier for businesses to promote their dApps to potential users.

Managing and Securing an ENS Domain

Managing and securing an ENS domain is crucial for protecting your business and its assets. Here are some best practices to follow when managing your ENS domain:

  • Choose a unique and memorable name: To ensure that your ENS domain is easy to remember and distinguishable from other domains, choose a unique and memorable name. Avoid using generic or common terms that may be difficult to differentiate from different domains.
  • Set up DNS records: To ensure that your ENS domain points to the correct resources, set up your DNS records properly. This may involve using a tool like EthereumDNS to manage your DNS records.
  • Regularly update your domain: ENS domains are not automatically renewed, so it is important to regularly update your domain to ensure that it stays active. You can do this by manually renewing your domain through your registrar or setting up an automatic renewal process.

There are also several legal considerations to keep in mind when using ENS domains. For example, ensuring that your ENS domain does not infringe on any trademarks or intellectual property rights is essential. 

Conclusion

In summary, ENS domains provide a convenient and user-friendly way to access Ethereum-based resources, including dApps, smart contracts, and other data. Businesses and dApps can improve the user experience, enhance security, and build brand and reputation by using an ENS domain. If you are interested in using an ENS domain for your business or dApp, follow best practices for choosing a unique and memorable name, setting up DNS records, and regularly updating your domain. To learn more about ENS domains and how to register one, visit the ENS website or contact our team and we can register your ENS domain for you.

Metaverse

Driverless Racing Cars Will Benefit All Drivers

Indy Autonomous Challenge Returns To CES 2023 

Driverless racing cars, also known as autonomous racing cars or self-driving racing cars, have the potential to bring many benefits to all drivers. 

The Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) returns to CES 2023 to push the boundaries of head-to-head autonomous racing and showcase the benefits of autonomous mobility. 

Some of these benefits include:

  1. Improved safety: Driverless cars have the potential to reduce the number of accidents on the road significantly. Because they are programmed to follow traffic laws and can react more quickly to changing conditions, they may be less likely to get into accidents than human drivers.
  2. Increased efficiency: Driverless cars can also help to improve the efficiency of transportation. By optimizing routes and speeds, they can reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
  3. Enhanced convenience: Driverless cars may also provide enhanced comfort for drivers. For example, they could allow drivers to relax while the car handles the driving or enable people who cannot drive due to disability or age to get around more easily.
  4. Better use of resources: Driverless cars may also help to make better use of resources, such as reducing the need for parking spaces and allowing for more efficient use of roads.

The nine university teams seeking to compete in the Autonomous Challenge at CES 2023 are

When: Saturday, January 7, 2023, Las Vegas Motor Speedway

  • 10 a.m. PST – Time trials and elimination rounds begin
  • 1–3 p.m. PST – Live broadcast of semi and final competition rounds
Metaverse

Web3 Improves Digital Health Records

Join us as we cover the top tech-for-good startups revolutionizing Digital Health

A number of technologies and approaches are being developed and used today to create more secure health records. Here are a few examples:

  1.  Health records are often stored in centralized databases, which can be vulnerable to data breaches and may not be easily accessible to patients and their healthcare providers. Blockchain-based health records give patients control over their data and make it easier for healthcare providers to access and share information with proper data encryption. This involves converting sensitive data into a coded form that only those with the appropriate decryption key can access.
  2. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) enable the creation of new types of decentralized health applications. For example, companies could use Web3 technology to create applications that allow patients to track their health data and connect with healthcare providers, potentially improving the quality of care they receive.

Join us as we cover the top tech-for-good startups revolutionizing Digital Health in a live pitch competition during CES 2023, as well as a conversation with Dr. Susan Turney, CEO, Marshfield Clinic Health System and Dr. Vidya Raman-Tangella, Chief Medical Officer, Teladoc on “The Future of Care in America: A New Hybrid Model.” 

Find our team at CES 2023, Jan. 5-8, 2023 – Las Vegas.

Metaverse

Human-Machine Interactions of the Future: Unpopular Opinions [Part 3]

This is third and final installation of a 3-part blog series on a Futurist’s perspectives on some buzzy terms and technology trends.

Annie Hardy, Senior Visioneer

I’m responsible for looking at the future of human-machine interaction, where many buzzy terms and trends are being bandied about. In this blog series’s first and second installations, I defined some key concepts and shared my first three unpopular opinions about Web3, the Metaverse, and decentralization.

TL;DR on my first three opinions:

  • The Metaverse will be more potent as an augmented experience than a virtual one.
  • There are two types of Metaverses: Open and Closed.
  • The entire internet will not be decentralized.

So let’s move right into my last three unpopular opinions…

Most people won’t care about the ethics of a decentralized Internet.

Web3 is, in part, a movement to democratize the internet, but the desire for decentralization isn’t just about removing centralized control over data, money, and more. Supporters of the Web3 movement have been strongly motivated by a lack of trust.

  • Trust in institutions has fractured — especially in the United States.
  • Decentralized currency appeals to international investors who do business in certain volatile, unpredictable economies.
  • Many believe Wall Street has gated wealth. As such, non-traditional investors often seek alternative paths to generate wealth.

A fierce, vocal, passionate group of people are the ones leading the decentralization movement. They highly value its autonomy and advocate for decentralization on behalf of the Greater Good.

Today, the number of purists who care about the ethics of decentralization is relatively small, yet it represents a critical component in seeing the future of decentralization. Early adopters are more likely to care about transparency and the value of a democratized Wall Street than the average user. The middle of the bell curve will need persuading that Web3’s incentives — like lower transaction fees vs. a central bank (someday) or getting paid to allow a company to use your personal data — validate engaging in something new and unknown. Even some early adopters are getting hit by thieves who are faster to take advantage of security loopholes in today’s burgeoning Web3. 

Overcoming the ambivalence of the many will be critical to Web3’s adoption, and that’s not only related to why Web2 isn’t trustworthy. It’s also critical because for Web3 to succeed, we may have to change how we pay to use the Internet, leading to my next unpopular opinion. 

Convincing users to pay for Web3’s Creator Economy remains a challenge.

The Creator Economy is the movement of individuals creating internet content and media that is consumed, and it plays a significant role in driving Web3 forward. This Creator Economy is driving engagement, but millions of creators also seek to monetize their creativity. Increasingly, we are seeing creators charging for their experiences, sometimes in novel ways. It’s easier than ever to do that on Web3, where your crypto wallet can easily tap into the sites you visit, and cryptocurrency micropayments should be easy to make. 

But consumers aren’t used to paying for engagement. We get tons of the internet for free today, but it comes at a cost: our personal data. This harkens back to Redditor blue beetle’s famous quote in an August 2010 thread:

“If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

– Andrew Lewis, aka blue beetle on Reddit

With the centralized Web2 economy, the questionable use of personal data has been widely publicized and criticized, evidenced by the backlash against Google and Facebook over the past few years. That said, user data collection has long been the currency companies use in exchange for free experiences. Consider social media platforms like TikTok. Or collaboration tools like Google Docs. Or news sites like CNN.com.

User data collection drives the effective ad targeting these companies use to drive their advertising revenue. This is what allows them to forego subscription costs. Thus, to build Web3 business models, decentralized applications (dapps) will likely do one of the following:

  • Require users to opt-in to data collection (like we see in Web2), but with transparent user data on the blockchain. This would allow users to verify what is happening with their data. Given that some understand what happens with their data, it will be interesting to see whether consumers are interested in having control of their data on the blockchain. This is also given the collaborative nature of the community.
  • Reward users who opt-in to data collection with reduced or free site usage, charging higher fees to users who do not share their data.
  • Reward users who opt-in to data collection with public-or-proprietary cryptocurrency or tokens they can use to pay for experiences or products.
  • Create a business model that doesn’t rely on customer data, with enough substantial value that their site validates subscription usage fees, or uses publicly available data from the blockchain.

Selling, gamifying, tokenizing engagement

Selling within this new value model, and gamifying and tokenizing engagement is a critical step in bringing Web3 from the margins into the center of Internet interactions. Younger demographics have shown to be keener on expecting rewards for engaging with a brand. In fact, 78 percent of Millennials are more likely to select a brand with a loyalty/rewards program.* By the time Web3 truly emerges as a prominent aspect of the web, tokenized engagement might already be a larger portion of the actual economy.

However, Big Tech Web2 will still retain control of a portion of user data from those using their services. As long as they provide exceptional value, users will continue to pay by allowing them to retain their data on centralized servers.

This is why I believe Web2 will continue to have a strong presence in the Metaverse, among other consumer applications, even with the rise of Web3. Web2 represents the ability for companies to have more control over information. Information is money. And they will continue to build solutions that validate the value consumers get in exchange for the data they provide.

Now let’s look at how those companies engage in Web3, driving my next opinion…

The Internet of the Future isn’t as decentralized as many might hope.

The Metaverse’s democratic (or debatably, anarchic) roots have led many to characterize the Metaverse as “the Wild West.” That terminology has extended to Web3, crypto, and, more recently, NFTs, as they lack formal governance. But going back to the ethics of decentralization, that’s the point.

Decentralization offers freedom from central entities controlling the Internet. However, the tide is shifting toward a formal, transparent, democratized governance through establishing Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs).

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)

In DAOs, users partner in groups formally connected through blockchain-based contracts. They pool their crypto and vote on investments. Think of it as small, coordinated groups of people voting on rules and actions based on their own personal beliefs and preferences. It represents pockets of unified ethics developing around the type of experiences Web3 believers want to see. This collaborative DAO approach has extended into the Metaverse – and it is as close as we get to governance in both Web3 and the Metaverse.

Here is what is especially interesting to me, though. Although DAO investments are substantial enough to replace traditional VC investments in some areas, some see DAOs as a necessary evolution of VCs. But within that shift, entities — instead of individuals — will begin to insert themselves into Metaverse investments and experiences. It’s similar to how large shareholders can exert more pressure on publicly-traded companies than individual stakeholders. For instance, investors in the PleasrDAO include Andressen-Horowitz, a notable VC.

“There are a lot of people who have money to invest. They need some vision to throw money at.”
– James Grimmelmann, Cornell University Professor, Law and Technology

A DAO is at the mercy of its investors. Only if investors are willing to take risks and if their investment strategies align, can DAOs experiment dynamically and collaboratively, thus building Web3 and, by design, the open Metaverse. DAOs function just like stocks because investors purchase crypto tokens – like shares. The more crypto token investors own, the more power they have in their vote.

With an increasing presence of companies participating in DAOs, I expect well-resourced companies and VCs to exert more control than individuals in some decentralized investor pools. But when that happens, it will be interesting to see how they balance their interests without alienating or damaging the connected communities they are a part of.

“If we stay in the current paradigm, we will move further and further into a realm where a small handful of companies run by a small number of people run our experiences in cyberspace. And in that world, the problems of Big Tech are exacerbated.”
– Sam Williams, Founder of Arweave

Promises of human-machine interactions in the future

Let’s recap all six of my unpopular opinions.

  • Metaverse will be more potent as an augmented experience than a virtual one.
  • There are two types of Metaverses: Open and Closed.
  • The entire internet will not be fully decentralized.
  • Most people won’t care about the ethics of a decentralized Internet.
  • There is still work to do in persuading users to pay for the Creator Economy that is constructing Web3.
  • The Internet of the Future isn’t as much of a movement away from centralized control as many might hope.

These are my opinions as of now. However, in the next couple of months, I could learn new information that persuades me otherwise. That’s the beauty of learning. Our knowledge and opinions remain malleable as new developments evolve to impact them. I delight in keeping tabs on trends and watching them evolve, giving us runway to influence decisions. This leads to actionable outcomes, as my team and I are talking about adapting our customer experiences for this future, from tokenizing engagements to interacting virtually in the Internet of the Future.

Human-Machine Interactions of the Future: Unpopular Opinions [ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ]

Metaverse

Human-Machine Interactions of the Future: Unpopular Opinions [Part 2]

If you haven’t read the first installation of this series on human-machine interactions of the future, I highly recommend digging into the definitions of some of the concepts I’m going to share here. With that foundation, let’s move to my first unpopular opinion about the Metaverse.

The Metaverse will be more powerful as an augmented experience than a virtual one.

Gartner announced that by 2026, 25 percent of people would spend at least an hour a day in the Metaverse.* But how we define the Metaverse stands to reason. Many individuals associate the Metaverse with Virtual Realities and Worlds, commercialized by the Facebook rebrand to Meta. This immersive virtual reality is critical and core to the embodied web concept – but even with Apple’s announcement of their long-awaited VR headset, I don’t foresee us living our real lives largely in virtual worlds.

However, Augmented Reality is also rising as a valuable asset in creating the Metaverse. Webex Hologram is a great example of that physical-digital hybrid through Augmented Reality collaboration. Although Webex Hologram leverages AR headsets, other AR applications like Google Maps and Pokémon Go! show us that even a mobile phone can unlock meaningful, powerful extended reality experiences.

Unlike VR, AR is more accessible to devices across the socio-economic spectrum. It has more use cases. It takes less bandwidth. It generally makes more logical sense. I believe the most powerful Metaverse will be accessible by all, via mobile devices that aren’t just reflecting virtual worlds, but devices that add a digital layer to augment the physical world.

That said, my next unpopular opinion reflects my belief that these interactions won’t all live on the blockchain.

There are two types of Metaverses: Open and Closed.

In my opinion, are two Metaverses: the Open Metaverse and the Closed Metaverse. I’ll explain the difference, but their core concept is how each relates to Web3.

In mass media, the Metaverse has been characterized as this collection of virtual worlds, where digital versions of themselves represent people – typically with avatars or in volumetric video. However, I consider the Metaverse as consisting of immersive and extended reality experiences – which encompass fully virtual reality worlds, but also augmented reality experiences that include a digital overlay on the physical world, haptics, voice assistants, gesture control, and more.

“The Open Metaverse is an interoperable world where users can carry
with them their proverbial blockchain-based baggage like NFTs.
The Closed Metaverse is where it gets stopped by customs.”

When engaging in the Metaverse, your experiences are often tokenized and require digital payment. Today, your purchases can be made by buying tokens in a world – just like in Fortnite today, or even the Chuck-E Cheeses out there – and then using those tokens to pay for experiences or digital assets. However, in open Metaverse worlds that run on Web3, the currency is a cryptocurrency built on blockchains with multiple connecting smart contracts.

These two backends, a blockchain backend (likely Ethereum) for Web3 and a Web2 backend, will support the development of Extended Reality Metaverse spaces. Both will contribute to it – not just the decentralized web. But that difference in the backend creates an issue that although the vision for our Extended Reality experience is unified, I don’t foresee an easy route to evolving a Web2 backend to include persistent assets on the blockchain.

Thus, I’ve been using “open metaverse-closed metaverse” terminology to represent the XR experiences that will be interoperable (open) and those which will be separate (closed) based on whether or not they will be blockchain-based.

The decentralized Web3 paradigm requires a blockchain backend. But I, and others like me, see the future of the Internet as being less like Web3 and more like what I’ve been referring to as “Web2+.” That concept was also cited in the Exponential View podcast episode, albeit referred to as a “centralized Metaverse” and a “decentralized Metaverse.”

I like open-closed nomenclature because it strongly correlates to the experience I foresee users having. The Open Metaverse is an interoperable world where users can carry their proverbial blockchain-based baggage like NFTs. The Closed Metaverse is where it gets stopped by customs.

I even foresee Closed Metaverse applications with select integrations with blockchain – but not built fully on the blockchain itself. There will be myriad iterations of centralized-decentralized, open-closed experiences, leading to my next unpopular opinion.

The entire internet will not be fully decentralized.

The movement towards Web3 has gotten so much press and has a tremendous amount of investment and support. But many aren’t talking about how today’s Web3 is mainly running on the backbone of Web2. Right now, even cryptocurrency trading has high costs, and many of the platforms are built on Web2 infrastructure. Although many wish it weren’t so, Web2 is woven into the fabric of Web3.

This perspective was also discussed in the podcast, and at SXSW this year, I spoke with some Web3 investors who confirmed their perspective on the same. Other developers are saying the same. In addition, many large enterprises have spent considerable time investigating Web3, and they too see the value of Web3 in certain areas and contexts – assuming that we can solve the interoperability problem, which analysts estimate will take another 8-10 years.

According to Ghose in the podcast episode, the ideal he foresaw was that on a person’s mobile phone or personal device, you could seamlessly switch from Web2 to Web3 applications. The user experience of Web3 should mirror that in Web2, and they use the same front-end technologies (Java, CSS, HTML, etc.), but the backend shifts from the cloud to the blockchain. Web3 developers have some of the same tools in their toolkit, but then they add a few new ones depending on what they’re building and where. For example, Web3 SDKs like  web3.jsweb3.py, and ethers.js are essential for building any decentralized application, and programming languages like Solidity and Vyper are also key skills a Web3 developer needs.

To be sure, some purists are focused on a complete reinvention of the Internet, but that isn’t my perspective. In the future, I believe that consumers and companies will toggle between Web2 and Web3 experiences, focusing less on the ideology and more on the value.

Whereas many Web3 advocates predict it as the future of the Internet, others believe that Web3 will exist alongside Web2, but not replace it. I tend to agree with this concept of coexistence, a movement I’ve referred to as Web2+. Web 2+ has proven to be an unpopular opinion, but I stand by it based on what I’ve read and heard.

In the next installment, I’ll dig deeper into decentralization, Web3, and the Internet of the Future, so stay tuned!

Human-Machine Interactions of the Future: Unpopular Opinions [ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ]

Metaverse

Human-Machine Interactions of the Future: Unpopular Opinions [Part 1]

I’m responsible for looking at the future of human-machine interaction — from the future of trust and higher education to the future of quantum internet and IoT. And when looking at, and projecting out likely futures, there is no lack of differing perspectives, conflicting information, and challenges to the groupthink driving our companies and cultures in certain directions.

I recently listened to the Money in the Metaverse episode of Azeem Azhar’s Exponential View podcast, which addresses blockchain, cryptocurrency, and the Metaverse. The podcast’s two speakers, Azhar and Citi’s Rohit Ghose, discussed a couple of perspectives that I’ve also expressed and advocated for within my circle – opinions that have been considered unpopular.

In this series, I’d like to share my perspectives and opinions on Web3, the Metaverse, and the future of human-machine interaction. Perhaps together, we can challenge and grow and ultimately all end up better prepared for the Internet that will develop in the next decade.

I’m unintimidated in holding well-informed but counter-cultural opinions about certain things concerning the future of human-machine interaction. About the Metaverse. About Web3 and NFTs. About the Future of the Internet (and how we will interact with it). After all, the only weakness in holding an unpopular opinion is the unwillingness to change if new information invalidates it. I’m always willing to change my perspective with new information.

Defining terms for the future of human-machine interactions

A natural part of my role and responsibility has revolved around the Metaverse, which we’ve been actively engaged in exploring and building the infrastructure for over the past several years. For many, the Metaverse is a mysterious concept that brings to mind virtual reality gaming and blocky Roblox avatars. Some identify Second Life as the original Metaverse, with a robust GDP worth a shocking $500MM.

It makes sense for me to share a few definitions here to set the stage for the next installments in this blog series on human-machine interactions in the future.

What is the Metaverse?

Definitions of the Metaverse vary, but these are some of my favorite interpretations:

“The metaverse is the moment in time where our digital life is worth more to us than our physical life.”

— Shaan Puri, former Twitch Manager

“The ‘Metaverse Continuum…’ is a spectrum of digitally enhanced worlds, realities, andbusiness models poised to revolutionize life and enterprise in the next decade.”

— Accenture


“First coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 Sci-Fi novel Snowcrash, I see the Metaverse as the gradual convergence of the digital world with the physical world.
A world where we no longer notice a distinction between our digital avatars and our physical selves. A world where smart lenses and BCI devices enable us to be surrounded by information – interactive information for work, entertainment, education, and more. This is the next iteration of the internet.
And as dystopian it may sound, this is the next iteration of life.”

— Ryan Gill, Cofounder & CEO of Crucible

“Metaverse” isn’t the only term cited when discussing this new paradigm. Omniverse and Multiverse are others bandied about, and those concepts touch on a critical factor in defining the embodied internet. And there is also some debate about how the Metaverse will interact with the concept of Web3.

What is Web3?

Since Web3 is another buzzy term, I’ll also share my definition of Web3, which some people see as the next version of the Internet. However, a Web3 experience is different than our web experience today (Web2) in a few ways:

How Web3 differs from Web2, today’s web experience:

  • Instead of living on centralized servers, Web3 is hosted on a decentralized platform outside the control of large tech companies, making it a more neutral, democratic place.
  • Instead of content being created largely by companies, Web3 is creator-driven and collaborative, leveraging cryptocurrency as payment for creations and assets designed by anyone creative, sometimes minted as NFTs.
  • Instead of a place where Big Tech can collect user data, Web3 is a place where data is publicly verifiable. Users can see what happens with their data through the transparent ledgers innate on the blockchain, controlling and protecting personal data from being unethically used or abused.
  • Web3 is secure, allowing people to log in using blockchain-based authentication (such as “SIWE” & “EIP-4361”) and blockchain-based identity (such as “ENS”) instead of using human-generated passwords, or centralized password managers, which can be stolen from hacked sites.

The Web3 concept has been lauded by cryptocurrency investors, innovators, startups, and venture capitalists investing heavily in decentralization. Now that we’ve defined the Metaverse and Web3, we can move on to the six unpopular opinions I will share. Stay tuned for the next blog in this series!

Human-Machine Interactions of the Future: Unpopular Opinions [ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ]