Why the arrival of ChatGPT is a good thing for the metaverse

Why the arrival of ChatGPT is a good thing for the metaverse


Feb 23, 2023

Blog Information Technology Why the arrival of ChatGPT is a good thing for the metaverse

Ah, the metaverse. This blue-sky concept has divided enterprises and the public alike, generating significant social media buzz and becoming one of tech’s biggest talking points. But since the arrival of ChatGPT, Google search traffic for ‘metaverse’ has nosedived by around 80% compared to this time last year. Conversational AI has steamrolled the metaverse hype, offering a more useful and immediate way of engaging with artificial intelligence. 

But what does this mean for the metaverse?

In the long term, not much, but it does highlight some fundamental issues. While ChatGPT has in no way reached its full potential, it’s also already a functioning platform. Professionals are incorporating the technology into their workflows, making the impact of the technology real and tangible to everyday folk. 

The metaverse, on the other hand, is still in its infancy. Not only is the technology not up to spec, but conceptually, it’s still a grey area. No one quite knows what the metaverse will look like, whether it will be a fully decentralized open world to roam and socialize, or whether it will be a commercialized, NFT, crypto-dominated zone. Given the fact that a functioning metaverse is still probably decades away from realization, it’s natural that the hype has plummeted.

Plus, there’s the fact that many people were only introduced to the metaverse relatively recently. Facebook’s official rebranding to Meta back in October 2021 brought the concept of the metaverse into the public sphere. It follows that the buzz would be strongest in the months following this announcement and then naturally subside.

And a bit of hush regarding the metaverse may well be a good thing. Less focus on what the metaverse will be and when it will arrive will offer some much-needed breathing space for big tech companies to formally conceptualize the idea. Developers can continue to advance relevant technologies like VR while quietly inching the metaverse closer to existence. Meanwhile, public expectations will wane, which, upon a second “social relaunch”, may help the metaverse achieve more realistic long-term success.

Financially, the metaverse remains strong. By 2027, BCC Research anticipates market growth to land at a CAGR of 34.3%, reaching $231 billion. Although conversational AI has stolen the spotlight from the metaverse, we’re entering an era in which all technology interconnects. AI will be integral to the metaverse, meaning that any advancements on AI’s side will only be a good thing for the advancement of a virtual world.

The technological side

It all boils down to technology. Before the metaverse can live up to its promise of providing an immersive virtual reality, VR will need to be far beyond its current capabilities. Zuckerberg’s ambitions for the metaverse prioritize virtual reality – he has stated categorically that the next phase of the internet revolution would feature greater levels of digital escapism than ever. He is not, however, the only one who supports the arrival of the VR paradigm change. 

Technophiles have been evangelizing the advent of the new VR age for decades. Created in 1956, VR has a lengthy history. Sensorama, one of the earliest VR systems, was developed around this time. Since the 1980s, when the term VR first gained popularity, tech enthusiasts have eagerly anticipated the arrival of a technological environment resembling that of Ready Player One – but this has yet to happen. 

And what about AI?

The advancement of AI goes hand in hand with the metaverse. In the back end, smart algorithms and conversation interfaces will create a seamless experience for the user. AI will be essential in creating virtual environments where social interactions can take place. Natural Language Processing (NLP), augmented reality, speech recognition, and computer vision are just a few branches of AI that will be put to good use in the metaverse.

In terms of gameplay, AI will also help create reactive and intelligent NPCs, or non-player characters. Nearly all video games feature NPCs, and with the help of AI, these characters’ responses and reactions will resemble real people more closely. As NPCs may do a variety of tasks independently and in a variety of languages, AI’s processing power can also be used to distribute NPCs across all areas of the metaverse and enhance user interface.

Realistic avatars have already featured heavily in Zuckerberg’s own public imagining of the metaverse, to mixed reactions from the public. But once this technology is finetuned, AI engines will be able to produce super realistic avatars, scanned from 2D and 3D images of the user. Picture categorization, facial recognition, and high-end computer imaging will be crucial technological pieces in bringing the metaverse to life.

So, what now?

First things first, the metaverse needs some ironing out. The big tech companies are struggling to agree on what the metaverse will even look like, which is leaving users feeling less than enthusiastic about a concept so abstract.

Then there’s the question of desire. At the minute, strapping on a chunky VR headset hasn’t served as a great advertisement for the metaverse. If VR technology can become more user-friendly, or be combined with other, more usable technologies, then it may take off. But what this technology will look like also needs to be considered.

In a nutshell

Sure, ChatGPT has overtaken the metaverse as the buzziest of all buzzwords . But as we all know, trends ebb and wane, and the metaverse is still receiving huge investments from all angles. It will undoubtedly impact how we interact virtually. But when this will happen and what form this will take still remains unclear.

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    Olivia Lowden

    Written By Olivia Lowden

    Olivia Lowden is a Junior Copywriter at BCC Research, writing content on everything from sustainability to fintech. Before beginning at BCC Research, she received a First-Class Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.

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