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The Origins of the Metaverse


Tony Parisi

In this episode of the Futurists, OG of Web 3 Tony Parisi joins Tercek and King to talk how the metaverse came to be, and why Web 3 isn’t just about the metaverse but foundational for our Augmented future.

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this week on the futurist my passion for 3d and real-time 3d as a media type across the board is whatfuels all of this including the applications modalities all theexperiences that we're going to see in a shared metaverse where we're together present together potentially in asolitary experience interacting with things if you're doing training for example in a virtual reality headset butmore often than not doing something collaboratively and in real time synchronously together at the same timeand this is the potential of this technology[Music] welcome back to the futurist myself androb terscheck hi rob hi yeah we we're going to get into the metaverse today which is is going to betremendously exciting um to do that we are inviting on theshow a good friend of uh robs a connection of of mine um he's ametaverse og old guy goes way back uh started as an entrepreneur and investorin the space you know he's he's the co-creator of the vrml uh protocol anduh gitf uh head of uh uh xr um and um you know the e-commercespace unity previously he's an author in the the he calls it the pre-apocalypticspace he's also a musician and uh he's just joined laminar onewhich is a metaverse virtual world startup with of course none other than neil stevenson who wehope to have on the show in the coming weeks tony parisi welcome to the futuristsoh thanks for having me gents great to see you robert hi tony the clinton brettgreat to see you good to meet you yeah so tony uh as as brett mentioned a second ago the metaverse is sort of thebig topic of the day um one thing we've noticed is that in the last month or two as the crypto world has collapsed andprices have plummeted and projects are failing all over the place a lot of web 3 companies are pivoting tometaverse now because metaverse seems like it's a little bit more adorable than idea which is sort of funny becausetwo years ago uh you know it was a bit of a joke uh the term when it was first introduced you know bywhen when zuckerberg came out and uh mark zuckerberg facebook came out and started to talk a lot about the metaverse and his pivot toward themetaverse it kind of smelled of desperation at the time like people were thinking wait a minute you know is itreally the facebook brand so toxic that you need to change the name of your company to meta platforms or is there areal strategic intent here um now it's important i think to recognize that facebook's not the only company in thisspace there's more than a thousand companies that are currently developing metaverse technologies or full-onvirtual worlds that we'll call metaverse one thing that's interesting about this subject though is thatwhile there's a lot of hoopla around metaverse in the context of web 3 and decentralized techi think it's really important for people who are listening to understand that there's a second trend and the metaverse exists at the intersection of two reallyreally big trends certainly web 3 that's one that gets a lot of attention and broadly speaking web3 is a decentralized architecture forthe web it's meant to replace existing web infrastructure which happens to be highly centralized particularly the applayer on top of the web network um is so it's the idea of using the blockchain todecentralize internet technology so that web 3 approach has gotten a lot of hoopla and a lot of hype and there's been a tremendous amount of investoractivity and speculation and so forth particularly since 2018 but there's another trend there's asecond trend and funny enough this one is overlooked and nobody's talking about it and i find it so astounding that thissubject hasn't come up to the forefront because it's way bigger than web 3.and let me offer this just as a parenthetical uh in case people are listening i'm not sure what i'm referring to if you take all ofcryptocurrency including bitcoin and ethereum and all of the 17 000 othercryptocurrencies and all the web 3d stuff and all the other blockchain projects and put them togetherthe total market capitalization of all of that activity is less than the share price of appleit's less than the market cap of apple so one stock is bigger than all of that web free stuff it's not to say it's notgoing to be big in the future of course it will be there's a tremendous amount of developer activity there right now but the point is that it's at an earlystage but the other trend that i'm talking about the second trend the one that's overlooked is way bigger todayand the trend i'm talking about is real time 3d real time 3d is massive it's bigger thanthe metaverse it's bigger than games there are three billion people how does it test the autopilot it's uhyeah obviously it's exactly right spatial computing and mapping and bringing things to iot after 10 years ofinvestment in iot we now have sensors all over the place you know embedded in the networks and buildings andindustrial processes those network those sensors throw off a lot of real-time data and that could be rendered as 3dnot necessarily for entertainment or for social media but more for industrial uses so there's a second specialcomponent yeah yeah that's right there's uh this idea of an industrial metaverse if you will or industrial what they calldigital twins where we build uh high fidelity simulations or high fidelity replicas using real-time data the keypoint here that 3d itself is not new the 3d technology has been around for many many years as certainly tony's going totell us about he drafted some of the original protocols for vrml way back in 1993. amazing 30 years agoso 3d itself is not necessarily new but what is new and what's growing fast is real time 3dso with that as kind of a rolling preamble tony tell us a little bit about real-time 3d and the significance of ityeah so i mean it's great that you're uh you're launching into this this way robert because what personally got meexcited about doing any of this starting back in around 1993was my excitement about 3d graphics and i was working on some early real-time 3dgraphics for data visualization in a scientific computing company back in the bostonarea before i moved out to san francisco with my new wife to make our way in the wild west and youknow see what was going on with the internet um i met this fella named mark pesci and we were both new englanders wealready knew each other from new england but we reconnected out here in san francisco and he's showing me this 3d graphics in real time on auh an ibm ibm like an intel 386 chip and whatever it was you know as a pc clonewhatever that was at the time and spinning around a chessboard or something i was like yeah i love that 3d graphics and and you know i'm reallyinto coding it and mark said yeah let's put this on the internet and i turned him and said like in neuromancerdo you mean or snow crash i'd read these cyber punk novels of that were published in the early 90s rightand he said yeah exactly like that almost patting me on the head because he'd already drunk all the silicon valley kool-aid and been living here afew years before me and that's just how you roll out here in the the west coast it's like no idea is too absurd and toocrazy so i said and i was kind of telecommuting from this this job that i was mentallydisengaging from anyway and i just got my first apartment in sf and i said why not so i started prototypingcode to do this and i was working on the 3d graphics part and a little compiler that would load files in that had themodel data and mark was writing the network code and these were all based actually on really open source worldwide web libraries but for me the excitement was hey this is the next computer interface we canuse this to render anything i was thinking about it for creative media and advertising possible industrial usecases like you were talking about i don't know designing cars walking through buildings um helping doctorswith you know operations i mean that's not my you know that doesn't excite me that much it's great obviously it's anamazing use case but i wouldn't build that personally but the technology to be able to do that amazing less so forgaming i mean i'm not a gamer i'm all as i was mentioning i'm a musician or you were mentioning brett um so you knowwhen i play video games it's like rock band or vr it's like beat saber if you have a vr headset i mean these are great i'mnot a hardcore gamer which is a deep dark secret so i you know considering i worked at unityfor six years for example but they hired me now for fast forwarding exactly because i was in all these other areasyou know information visualization digital twin and what we were seeing was the rise of real-time 3d for non-gameuse cases 25 plus years later and for those who are listening to any oculus headsets and all this it was a big boomaround that of 2016. and for the people who are listening if you're not familiar with unity technologies and unity software that's the leading provider ofreal-time 3d technology other technologies and use around the world they have presence in 45 cities aroundthe world and unity is powering about 70 of the games on your mobile phone rightnow so it's a widely adopted 3d technology so you can consider it a kind of platform although they don't presentit that way uh so tony what were you focused on there though you were focused on kind of extending outside of uhtraditional platforms like screen again gaming compute game devices and computers into xtar rightyeah yeah so the thing was there was this boom on with uh consumer virtual reality which had gone through a lot oftwists and turns when we go back into the way back there was an attempt to do this in the late 80s and early 90s thatwas way too early tech was not cheap enough there were all kinds of you know usability humanfactors issues i think i met you somewhere in that period of time yeah just post that bust of vr consumer vr inthe back when we called it cyber arts remember cyber cyber usso you know these things again they go in waves this is like decades and decades of waves of trying to make this technology work same withtablet computing we can go down the list of of the ai things like this right remember that big headset you would wearthat came out like this and you could see like a flying pterodactyl you were trying to climb up a pyramid and it wasall wire framed out yeah underground you're talking i don't know if it was the vpl i don't think so you're talking about a different oneright but vpl was jarrod lanier's headset yeah so you know refugees from that wave were part of the wholething we got together when we started with vrml but anyway coming back to recent past um i met the i knew somefolks on the management team at unity already and then around 2016 they approached me and saideveryone's using our engine you know what you're using to build games for mobile console whateverthey're using it now to build experiences for the oculus or for the microsoft hololens so these virtualreality mixed reality headsets um creators needed easy tools to make the content and arguably unity is one of theeasier platforms for building this stuff but creating 3d is pretty intensive you know it's a new set of skills itrequires modeling animation programming a combination of skills of team and teams that can work on this stuff together and unity provided a relativelyeasy way to get going on that and free to start and an expensive cost of ownership if you were paying forcommercial licenses so a lot of vr creators started using the company's tools but the company did not know howto service them as creators didn't have the right set of product features maybe the right business models that cost youknow structures um and then creators in the automotive industry were starting to use it and the licensing was just notyou know appropriate for them versus game developers so the company found themselves in this enviable positionwhere everyone was using their tech to build things for virtual and mixed reality um and you know hammer nailsituation but they really only know how to service the game industry so they hired me to oversee the expansion into afew of these other industries and initially it was film media and entertainment automotive eventually uhcreative media and advertising which is where i spent most of my focus for the almost six years i was there so startedsort of broadly looking at all these industries quickly found my lane that i was really into which is i moved over toour advertising team because unity also has a big in-game mobile ad network and started pushing the boundaries on whatyou could do with 3d and augmented reality in ad units you would see on a mobile phone and that's where i spent most of my time until the last year orso where i really started looking at what we were doing with e-commerce how people were uni using unity's technologies to create interestinge-commerce applications that i could spin a product around in 3d maybe use augmented reality to see how it lookedin my house or on my face if it was a pair of sunglasses or an accessory or on my body with clothing and there's a lotgoing on there we've seen you know with snap and instagram and these try ons and try out situations in ar there's a lotof interest in that or shopify has got a 3d um set of apps now so you can shop in 3d spin a product around so that wasreally exciting to me so for me it's advertising creative media ecommerce kind of traditionally web use cases itturns out and where 3d can add the most value to those so you know it's an interesting thing topsi love robert well it's an interesting topic right you know it's easy for people when they think about 3d they think of a gamebecause that's how most of us see it like i said there's 3.1 billion people playing games so that's how most of usthink of 3d i'm a gamer but what most of us don't think about is what we do on the web and what we do on the web is wedo a lot of search we do a lot of reading watching video we do a lot of shopping and um if youlook at say amazon's interface i'm always astounded that amazon has been so lame or so conservative in terms ofupdating their interfaces it hasn't changed much in 20 years uh when are we going to start to have shopping that's like shopping in thereal world ready like you know like when he's in the store yeah i mean that is a great topici mean we're seeing some people trying to do kind of what we'd call uh in the business skeuomorphicversions of virtual malls you know trying to make things look like a physical mall it's not clear to methat's the right approach to take to doing this but there's something there in terms of making theshopping experience more engaging and immersive people i don't remember who first said this but someone observedrightly i think that amazon solves for buying but not shopping like thatexperience is good it makes buying efficient but it takes all of the fun out of shopping and there's the marketing world it sucks right now likeyeah amazon marketplace is a little bit of trivia for you guys do you know do you get guys know where the the titlethe mall comes from no well you know it used to be that you'd go and see a single shop right ora single convenience store store but then you could see the mole at the mall oh my god yeah that's trueit's true is it true yeah i love it see them all i believe you so yeah i think um there'ssomething there and i i'm really i want to see how this plays out becausein a digital environment i think a lot of the shopping could be serendipitousit might not be were you thoughtfully saying i'm going to go into a 3d world in order to shop maybe the content comesto you i mean none of the we just have no idea how this is all going to play out and we won't know just the way we idon't think could have predicted say uber or pick any of your favorite companies that vaporized some industryor two robert um you know we don't know what digital technology can do to transcend time and space when we have anew set of 3d tools that are at our disposal right so again my passion for3d and real-time 3d as a media type across the board is what fuels all of this includingthe applications modalities all the experiences that we're going to see in ashared metaverse where we're together present together potentially in a solitary experience interacting withthings if you're doing training for example in a virtual reality headset but more often than not doing something collaboratively and in real timesynchronously together at the same time and this is the potential of this technologyso yeah sorry tony you talk about vr but of course the other element is augmentedreality um you know do you separate the metaverse into a virtual world and thenwhen you talk about augmented reality it's sort of a mixed reality world or isis the med is versions of the metaverse going to be both you know virtual vr and ar basedi i'd say more of the latter i have a very expansionist view of these things again if you if you look at it from mylens it's always about real-time 3d being the enabling technology for all ofthese use cases and all of these use cases have to include being connected and together in real time because ourlives are inextricably tied in with the digital now so there is no distinctionto me and also because i'm a software person um what matters is the contentand the application layers that enable this um are you know going to be natively 3dand using all the newest real-time 3d technology let's click sensing the real world and integratingit for ar or whether you go into a completely artificial place to escape for whatever reason for entertainment orfor training or learning it doesn't matter from my point of view and all these experiences can beconnected and potentially experienced in both modes or multiple modes go ahead robert let's let's click on that ideathis you you talked about uh the the the need for standards uh and the abilitythe ability to write natively and so i think a lot of folks might not realize might not be aware that the apps thatthey use on their phone right now are captive to an ecosystem uh particularly if you're using an iphone if you'reusing an apple iphone and that's not an open ecosystem that is an ecosystem that is controlled top to bottom by applethey exert tremendous amounts of control including rejecting apps from developers that might be perfectly reasonable appsyou know they're not like offensive or pornographic or something just something apple doesn't want you to publish andthey can do that um you know in the developer community this is a lively topic but outside of that most folks have no idea they think they're actuallyyou know on the world wide web when they're using an app but they're not they're in a contained ecosystem so forthe people who are listening who might not be technically savvy uh tell us a little bit about your work with html5what's that's about um the idea of you know liberty from an app store and maybe the idea that standards can free us uhfrom centralization or from domination by these big internet platforms oh what a topic and as an avid andslavish fan to all apple products i find myself in a really interesting positionbecause in my opinion they're the best and they all work together and as a consumer thereof it's fabulous as adeveloper myself or a creator i can it can be frustrating as you said there are arbitrary gatekeepers who may justdecide for one reason or another that i am not allowed to publish a certain experienceum that is unfortunate it's i guess the cost of all of the convenience andsafety that may come with a platform like that and or you know the tithe that large companies like apple decidethey're just going to extract from the economies that they serve it's not you know however well for whatever reasonyou know for whatever reason i was going to say vague but that's a little bit like you know well no it's more than atithe which is 10 apple takes a whopping 30 oh and by the way facebook came outrecently to talk about their metaverse fees for stuff that people create they're going to take 48 percent wowyeah these are not going to fly i hope we're all right exactly terrible economics for developersterrible economics for developers so i think we'll probably get to a little bit of the web 3 part of this conversationin a minute but before we just jump off the precipice on that stuff robert i think yeahthe the open web always it was born of this promise that anyone could publish i mean if you just go back to what madethe web work it was a few things it was i all i needed was a text editor i write a little text create a few tagsand then someone gave me a really cheap web server you know easy to access and ispstuff the economics of this was so easy that mom pop anyone you want to publish your recipes you want to slap up asimple store the cost of doing that the activate activation energy you do it was small the tools were basically free orreally inexpensive and hell if i liked the web page i could even you know viewsource and copy paste so the sharing and remixing was amazing we need to get back to that and for the men and that's likecirca 1996 to 1998 right and then we have this third crash and after thecrash what emerges are these centralized platforms not overnight but gradually right by the way we opted into themright we as users yeah we chose that we chose that right but interestingly and ironically they are all built on theback of open standards like html5 all of that content is coming from that it'snot coming from using one company's set of tools it never would have scaled upwhich i think we're going to get to when we talk about where the metaverse needs to go this never would have scaled up without some basic simple tools andthose open standards and interoperable pieces of technology and you wrote the book on on 3d codingfor html5 i did i wrote a couple of books on webgl which is 3d rendering technology for inyour browser um it's a bit long in the tooth now i mean i love it i'm a big fan of the tech and it was a great way tounleash a lot of 3d creation that anybody could experience inside an html5capable browser but now we're getting to a place where we need probably need some upgrade in the tech beyond what we havein uh you know browsers today and in webgl but it's given a lot of folks on the web training wheels for creating 3dcontent which is great and i think we'll be able to start seeing uh an influx of professional 3d creatorsand or you know sort of prosumer 3d creators who use these other tools blenders game engines like unitystarting to get comfortable publishing for the web as well as we move into this open metaverse i i'm really interestedbefore we get a break rob i'm really interested in how this might develop operating systems rightparticularly with the head mana displays you know iar glasses you know a lot of people talk about thefact that in with ar glasses you'll be able to project your laptop you know ononto your field of view using you know like a laptop screen but then um you know as you've sort of rightlypointed out well you don't have to use that sort of proxy design templatebecause you've now got this virtual space you can work with so you you coulddo that quite differently you know in a 3d operating system but umyeah we're still we're still thinking you know um in in some limited terms iguess about that potential it's interesting it's true i mean this part of the conversation has mostly beenabout the foundational elements that are necessary to create these experiences and to get them to run on variousdevices so that everybody can get access to them nobody wants to build a metaverse that only works in one devicei think maybe maybe mark zuckerberg does i don't know um but uh but thanks tony for taking this on that quick tour 30years of 3d development and open standards and so forth um let's take abreak now and then when we come back we'll talk about how all of this sets the stagefor an open metaverse versus a closed metaverse you're listening to the futurists i'm rob terzik my co-host isbrett king and our guest this week is tony parisi he's a metaverse og in thesense that he's one of the very earliest pioneers of this technology a lot of folks don't realize it but this is notthe first time in the history we've been talking about meta verses the topic keeps coming up once again and againand we're going to get deeper into it after the break so hank and ty we'll see you just a secondwelcome to breaking banks the number one global fintech radio show and podcasti'm brett king and i'm jason henricks every week since 2013 we explored the personalitiesstartups innovators and industry players driving disruption in financial servicesfrom incumbents to unicorns and from cutting edge technology to the people using it to help create a moreinnovative inclusive and healthy financial future i'm jp nichols and thisis breaking banks [Music]hey there welcome back you're listening to the futurists i'm rob chersek with my co-host brett king and our guest thisweek is tony parisi tony's going to talk to us all about the metaverse topic thatwe seem to have been hearing an awful lot about in recent months and just to put it in perspective i've seen researchnow from bernstein jp morgan citibank and other big financial institutions andall that research has one common refrain it's not a question of if they're going to build a metaverse it's a question ofwhen it's a certainty that 3d immersive interfaces in spatial computing are coming because already on the techroadmap every major tech company is invested into this every hardware company's invested in it and for those who are interested thesize and scope of this opportunity is absolutely massive i just read research yesterday that says that in china andthe u.s each of those two markets alone could account for 8 to 13 trillion dollars of the economic activityso it's a great big juicy target no surprise then that everybody in the tech industry is racing after it as fast asthey can tony give me your perspective on what's happening with the mataverse right nowi love those numbers so yeah adjusting for inflation i don't know how much that's really going to beworth in the next decade but that's a different podcast isn't it hey guys um great to be backlook um yeah it's big all of this technology is gettingcheaper by the minute in terms of real-time 3d graphics in everybody's hands super computer power in ourpockets all getting connected up through faster networks all getting driven byso many forces in the economy and in society and in the world in general to get us to a place a few years down theline where our primary interface to information is going to be spatial andexperienced through either vr or augmented mixed reality headsets are still on flat screens but predominantlywith 3d interaction and that's exciting and so the questions are you know how big i mean those numbers could be off byan order of magnitude either way and still be incredible i think um but how how does that get builtthat's what's interesting scale a lot of folks don't realize that this phoneis already capable of a lot more than they realize just this thing on the back of the phone i'm holding up an apple iphone the newest version of the iphonemax three cameras what are the three cameras for tell us about spatial computing wellyou got one that's just doing your rgb and you get two for depth right so this is the thing and with thatdepth you actually can create a scanned version of a room or a space you're pointing at so yeah so thesenewer generations of iphones can effectively capture the entire worldokay so when i'm taking a photograph of the grand canyon is it actually scanning depth in that shot as well is it likemapping it or when i take a picture of my house am i am i sort of secretly mapping it for for applewell i don't think so because i think you actually have to opt into all that you tell me robert because um i haven'tactually done that on the newer iphones but they're apple's pretty good about security so i don't think you're doinganything like room scanning without you know opting in for that so but when you do those cameras are allturned on um or maybe that depth information stored but cannot be shared with anybodyelse we'd have to go check terms of service honestly i don't know on that one but you know if anybody's guarding your privacy on that stuff apple doesthe best at all that okay but the takeaway there is that your phone that's they're really good at that stuff okaybut the takeaway there is your phone whether it's app or samsung or any other hardware it already has three cameras uhand that means it's already capable of a spatial computing experience and inside the phone there's also thecapability of rendering that i think a lot of folks don't realize that because i think we have to like wait until there's a headset that we can wear andso then you hear whenever you bring that up people go google glass didn't work it's not going to work and i think thisis just all the wrong way to think about this opportunity because it's all backward looking it's all like focused on the pastfor sure hardware gets cheaper faster and better every single year but clearly apple's approach i can't speak to othercompanies but clearly apple's approach is that the headset whenever it arrives is going to be a peripheral to thesmartphone because that's their stronghold that's their money maker that's what they're going to reinforce and they've already shown us with applewatch and airpods that they're quite capable of selling accessories that are fashion devices making them cool enoughfor mass market consumption and building a robust business there people don't realize how big that business is airpodsis about a 25 billion dollar business for apple right now and um and and they uh they're doingsomething similar with watches you know apple now sells more apple watches than all of switzerlanduh in terms of revenue and and that is an enormous achievement in just about five years when when apple first cameout with the watch that would have been a ridiculous statement to make wouldn't it right there oh people laughs i rememberyeah yeah john claude bva who's one of the heads of lmvh he supervises the watches for them including like tagheuer and other great brands for that fashion level he came out he was openly dismissive he said oh this is terrible it looks like it was done by a thirdyear design student who didn't pass his course he was very very dismissive of it and in the first year the numbersweren't very good because the first generation of hardware is always kind of disappointing what people don't realize is by yearthree apple was second only to rolex by year four apple surpassed rolex interms of revenue on watches and by year five apple outstalled all of switzerland in terms of watches they've absolutelycrushed the watch industry but now today apple is considered to be the world's largest seller of jewelry get thisbecause they sell watches and ear pods so they sell these accessories that we wear like jewelry they don't seem like jewelry tells usthat's interesting oh robert there goes another industry yeah another vaporization gettingvaporized again yeah if you don't if you don't have your diamonds in your earpods then yeah oh my goodness but you can doan augmented reality experience on your phone right now you're from the last three generations of fun perfectly capable of this so talk to us a littlebit about what's available today i mean pokemon go is a great example of you know conditioning hundreds of millionsof people to the idea that you can actually play a game in space around you yeah of course and so as we've alreadykind of touched on the phone can be used to scan to capture an environment but it could also just be as those cameras andthis technology we already have in our pockets can also be just used to track so you're moving the phone around and ithas a sense of what's going on in the environment and then you can use that tracking to overlay digital informationso for example i could point my phone in my living room and see how a piece of furniture looks in that living room ifi'm shopping for it and we've seen plenty of demonstrations of that now ikea has an app that does that uhshopify enabled stores can do this uh unity's been doing some stuff but we were doing it with advertising you cantry on your makeup with youtube all these thingsenabled by either the front or back facing camera on your phone and a little bit of computer vision softwaretechnology so there's an ai component to this too i mean this is all powered by machine learningthat drives these computer vision algorithms and so yeah when they think of people think about the metaversethey're often thinking about yeah there's pure immersion in this artificial world but so many of these use cases are going to be happening withthis mixed reality or augmented reality of the type that we're talking about alreadysuper exciting we've talked about about the phone but but bear mind you before the pandemic already some of the bigfashion labels were experimenting with smart mirrors which effectively were just a big smartphone in a dressing roombut in the smart mirror you could try on a garment in the store and then click touch the mirror like a touchscreen right right to select different colors of that garment which is a really cool idea right so it's like i don'twant to try on six of the same item i have this one this is a size that fits me now show it to me in green you know show it to me in blue and you can dothat uh i think that's kind of magical for people and this is the essence of marketing in the digital era is it'slike a magic trick you know you amaze people with this and there's a huge amazement or magic element i think in arwhen it works well absolutely okay so so those are some of the use cases we're talking about devices that we're kind ofextending out of like the apple domain which we're all fanboys of so we'll talk about that all day long um but i thinkwe should probably get to this notion then of open and closed ecosystems andopen and closed metaverses um everybody thinks they know what those things are but let's talk a little bitabout that so that people really understand what's at stake here uh what happens when a developer or communityare locked into a single platform there's a high switching cost it makes it hard for them to migrate out to another platform you're kind of existingat the whim of that platform owner if you have a active group on facebook right now you know exactly what i'mtalking about you're trying to figure out how to migrate that group off of that platform so tell me about the race to buildclosed ecosystems or lamina one's mission to build an open ecosystem or just oneother example maybe you're an avid twitter user like myself and you're worried about the company's direction and leadership in the near future andthinking about that investment you've made in that user base right um but understood yeah i mean we've talked alittle bit about the potential creator frustration of having gatekeepers say what you can publish and notif we'd been in the world of web one web one would have not taken off if there were those kind of gatekeepers back thenif we're old enough to remember there were those original proprietary information services that were walledgardens aol prodigy compuserve they gave us the dial-up access they gave us the cd-rom with the software and they gaveus that interface to actually you know publish and communicate and that got a lot of people online but the web did notexplode to global scale until it was completely opened up and i think we're going to see the samething as we get to the next stage of the metaverse what we're seeing now in these proprietary closed systems thatare notable in the metaverse and pick your favorite example fortnite uh where it's not just a game but it's acommunity and you know sandbox creation system and a community platform roblox would be another oneum these are the prototype proof points for an open metaverse where anybody canpublish content like that obviously this is production intensive some of these things are going to have budgetaryrestrictions and whatnot but i think what we're going to see is an opening up and a creator-drivensystem open to all more like what second life was doing 20 years ago if anyoneremembers that virtual world second life though they weren't open they had very flexible tools it was very inexpensiveand people they were very it was a very good platform for self-expression and commerce they had a working economy inthere i still want to get linden dollars linden dollars right they pioneered a lot of this stuff also inspired phil itwas also inspired by snow crash by the way and then you know my work and mark's work before him umand i think it's i don't think it's visually necessarily going to be like that and the features will be different but the idea is that anybody can gettheir own zone space plot of land whatever you want to call it build a community withfree and open tools and anybody can join that if the people who built that want them to be there will allow them to bethere and it's not going to be some platform provider telling them that it's appropriate or not to have thatoh you know you want to build some zone in the metaverse to train people on howto do ninja sword fighting oh we don't like that because it's like i don't know it's not child safe i'm just making arandom example up but yeah nobody should be the judge at that uh you know within the confines of the law and uh you knowother aspects that they're beyond the scope of this discussion but certainly no platform provider should be justdeciding what is appropriate there and limiting people's ability to create and publish although we live in a time where eventwitter is deciding what's appropriate to publish on their platform and so you know this is a very live issue uh withrespect to the metaverse it's not just writing a statement or you know a tweet you're talking about building stuff andwhere one thing that that second life absolutely got right and i think some of the current metaverses are not gettingright is that they allowed people freedom total freedom to create whatever they thought was appropriate um you know it'ssome people's idea of a libertarian paradise because if you want to go around looking like a giant plush toyyou can do that you can do that that's available to you if you want that um whereas you've seen we've all seen othermeta verses today that give you these kind of avatars that are kind of prescriptive in the sense you can pick your skin tone and your hairstylebut you can't turn yourself into a giant plush bunny rabbit if that's what you wanted to do and why not it's a different world whyaren't we trying on different personas after all you know why should we have to be slavishly recreating the world thatexists in the virtual uh so that's one aspect of freedom yeah but there's a second aspect of freedomwhich is that if i create something in a world i'd like to have the ability to bring that with me if i go to a different world right whether assets uhyeah if you create if you create space i understand buying real estate you knowin a platform may require certain elements where you you know you you arelocked into a certain environment but your avatar your characteristics youryour virtual clothes your tools your artwork executive stuff that you make so here's an interesting question uh isyour metaverse one that allows you to own stuff what is the concept of ownership and i think it's gonna become a very lively discussion because rightnow there isn't any um people say these nice things about it someright to the point that's exactly it and this is a key point about what uh what tony's working on nowuh this this idea that if you want to take it with you then the metaverses have to be interoperablenow that term is cumbersome what we mean by that is that um software that's written for one platform works onanother platform and it's why um you know the lack of interoperability is why sometimes youcan't get a playstation game on the xbox for instance because those worlds are not necessarily interoperable uh there'sa lot of geeky stuff it has a lot to do with standards a lot to do with the stuff we're talking about before the break the net result though is itimposes constraints on users it's going to shrink community it's going to shrink free speech and it'sgoing to impose a real burden on people that want to switch out of one platform and go to another because you're kind of locked inand that's by design platform like that versus android today right you got it and it's you know if you wantto put an android app on apple you got to port the thing over non non-trivial task there right and you got to submitit to the apple store and so forth so tony talk to us a little bit about lamina one and this vision of an openinteroperable standards-based uh blockchain that enables the transactionsthat i described that you can port stuff from one world to another so lamina one is a new venture i just joined up as thechief strategy officer recently it was founded by peter vicennis who is a blockchain uh pioneer uh founder of thefirst bitcoin the bitcoin foundation one of the first organizations dedicated to you know education and evangelism aroundthese new blockchain technologies and uh something of a cryptographictechnology expert which i am not in fact i break into a cold sweat when i think about those kind of cryptography algorithms that are required to power uhcurrency and and nfts so thankfully there's other people around to do that and neil stevenson the author who wrotesnow crap the originator of the woman the imaginator of the word metaverse exactly brett not but but check this outin snow crash which was published in 1992 neil predicted a future internet wherewe were interfacing with it using virtual reality hardware so fair guess that was that was cool and inspired somany of us to do our spatial computing work but he also predicted a future where late stage capitalism was showing signsof decline and there was a rise of these sort of a narco-feudalist structures to take its placeand cryptocurrency all in that one novel and he continued the cryptocurrency thread throughdiamond age the next novel um and cryptonomicon which uh in no small wayinspired bitcoin and you're the original crypto gangs that built this stuff adecade ago now so this is fascinating we're kind of living in neil's world so imaginemy delight when i first finally met him in person recently well over zoomedbecause that's our lives right now um and we talked it was a 30 minute conversation that ended up being a 90minute conversation it was thrilling and by the end we concluded that we just we kind of have a moral imperative rightnow to build an open metaverse there is so much at stake when we see whathappened in web 2 and the consolidation of platform power we believe that it's on us to create a set of initialconditions and inner interoperable pieces to do what we can to foster thecreation of an open metaverse and we've touched on the whys of the open metaverse more creator choice orconsumer choice more abilities for the creators to actually get paid fairly again you mentioned the take rate onsome of these platforms robert's absurd right now up to 50 percent in some of these systems that's not going to flyand robert you know my background on this as a musician i started looking at web 3 as a musician a year agothinking okay i have a new music project i'm a nobody in that industry how am i going to publish this am i going to do all this work pay them my own money tomake an album which i'm doing now and then go pay more money so i can get discovered on spotify all to make threethousand dollars for a million streams no way so i started working with a lot of music creators and getting to knowthem and their single nft drops they're making what they would make on millions of streams and and if they can connectwith a few thousand fans they can actually make a living now so so neil's biguh one of his big things is let's make sure creators get paid i couldn't agree more and then there's one final elementto this besides being able to scale up and provide the most choice which is that we want this to be carbon negativewhich is a tall ask so we're not i mean yeah crypto's got its handful hands fulljust to get to carbon neutral and while you know and we're just getting started as lamina so i can't describe the wholestrategy for that but we're putting a stake in the ground and saying as people are operating nodes in this network theyare actually there's carbon carbon credit stuff happening so that we are at least starting to participate incarbon credit economies and we'll go beyond that over time to even more aggressive techniques but you know i'mnot an expert on how these technologies work so it wouldn't be it wouldn't be suitable for me to go into the details on this and maybe thisis something that if you haven't but for the benefit of the listeners the big issue with both bitcoin and ethereum hasbeen the absolutely grotesque computational cost of operating a consensus network on a blockchain andfor those who don't know what that works algorithms yes yeah for those who don't know what that means what proof-of-work means is that each computer on thenetwork has to run the exact same computational problem and arrive at the exact same conclusion in order to attainconsensus you have to do that if you want a decentralized system otherwise in a centralized system it's easy you run the computation once that's it that'sthe record but if you want to decentralize then all the machines have to do the same works that there's thousands of machines it's thousands oftimes more computational energy it's going to be consumed which is why bitcoin iscurrently consuming as much energy as the country of denmark which is kind of obscene uh for a currency that nobodyactually uses to buy anything so that's a fair criticism now that's not an accident people say oh that's a bug inthe code no it's not in a decentralized world that's by design that's that's security uh the way vitalik buterin putsit uh you can optimize for two of three things but you can't get all three you can have security scalability anddecentralization so if you want decentralization you're gonna give up some scalability now today there's a lotof new thinking on this subject because now we're in you know third and fourth generation blockchains where people are starting to say actually we probably canget closer to all three of those things and also this notion of like absolute decentralization is a little bit of areligious war and then secondly you know this this notion that like the only way to secureit is to like run this on every single note well there's all kinds of experimentation going on with side chainsthe issues but also you know proven state consensus algorithms which are much more friendly on compute resourcesbasically uh not negligible but you know much lower resource load nothing like theobscene amount that we're talking about for bitcoin and that's where the industry is today and i think that's only just going to get better and againwe're taking that extra step further and saying can we devote some of the network resources to actuallydoing what we can you know some of that economy to eventually pull carbon out of theatmosphere but we'll start with making sure people pollute less right let's talk about the benefits for the users of the community uh sowe've heard almost the same thing from decentraland from the people at injin the people that are creating sandbox andactually even you know facebook's uh facebook horizon they're saying open interoperableeverybody can own the stuff they create you can own your own avatar is that true is that about the same areyou doing something different so first of all lamina one's not going to do all of this so what we're creatingis a blockchain designed from the ground up to handle what we consider to be unique needs forthe spatial version of the metaverse i mean a lot of these web three people are saying metaverse right nowbut what they're doing is trading bitmaps as nfts right there this was designed for very simple units fortransactions and very simple assets and we're seeing all kinds of shortcomings on performance scalabilityuh you know just transactions it's not great transaction speed and throughput so if you think about this from firstprinciples of we're building virtual worlds that have a lot of people in them a lot of 3d content lots of objects richenvironments that need to get rendered rendered potentially these virtual land systems where people want to sayi'm building something and i'm going to let people put zones inside my world that you know all of these things needfeatures that can work with performance and scalability and so we are building a blockchain to supportthat it's forked off another blockchain called avalanche which is already proven to have high transaction throughput andall these proof-of-stake you know benefits we already talked about but we anticipate we're going to have morefunctional requirements because again we're going to build virtual worlds and a universe of them on the backs of ablockchain like that we're also going to supply a handful of pieces of ecosystem technology to on youknow tools basic starter tools to unlock this decentralized game services because it's not just about the blockchain it'sabout streaming the assets it's about multiplayer messaging all these things you need to do in a realmmo or a game or metaverse environment virtual world environment and we're not going to build all those pieces andwe're probably going to work with lots of industry partners and open standards groups to create the specs so that lotsof people can build all these pieces together because no one is going to be able to build on this so if you're interestedand you're listening and you're you care a lot about this and you're working on say open standards for the metaverse and tony's a guy out of reachabsolutely um before we get into some long visioning future stuff to wrap up the show i justwant to ask you one one point in respect to your comments there is um you knowobviously i get the application of blockchain in terms of digital asset infrastructure i i think that makestotal sense having as digital assets can move from one virtual world to another thedecentralized blockchain um you know uh to to record not only the ownership of that and andlicensing around that but um you know have the portability i think is key but on the other side of it creatingreally compelling virtual worlds is going to take a ton of compute power you know you know advanced graphic cardsmaybe edge computing and so forth how can that be centralized isn't by nature the computing demands of it goingto require i mean decentralized it isn't by nature the computing requirements of thesevirtual worlds going to require some centralization i mean that's a fascinating topicyou don't really decentralize you know one gpu but you can create clusters of those anddistribute rendering for example my friend jules erbach does that at otoy and he's even got the render token to dothat you can on the show yeah you're gonna have them on the show or have you already for sure yeah it'salways great it's a genius yeah decentralized rendering it's such a brilliant idea and they're all fullyover subscribed like there's a ton of interest it's one of the great examples of decentralized platforms yeah no that's not real timebut that's fine because you know what you're doing is instead of a render farm that would take overnight to do this you distribute you know this is the wayhollywood does a lot of this um you're getting a distributed network of people sharingthat load and so things will still happen faster and cheaper um and you can you know abstract these kind of ideas todistributed network computing i'm an advisor a company called croquet founded by david smith the guy who createdvirtus vr i don't know if you remember david at all robert so he's been in this same world for about 30 years as welland yeah and he's got this system called croquet that's basically a distributed network layer so you and i will see the same simulation and it's got it workingpretty well over the web so we're going to see services like that com come up that just basically what it means brettis it's not like every little have to have this running on their laptop necessarily or on theirphone pieces will run on the phone like maybe the rendering will be located on your mobile device but there will bethousands of network operators offering compute resources offering system services all connected up so intheory it is decentralizable in practice you know we're going to find out where the hard problems are going to be andwe're going to start solving them as an industry we don't have all the answers yet but you know there is alsomany decades now there are many decades of experience on distributed simulation cloud rendering and all these otherfundamental technologies so we're not really starting from scratch it's not theoretical white paper land we're goingto start bringing these to bear soon and then the other real thing and i'll justfinish this answer up not to be long-winded brett is that it's not clear we have to have millions of people inone virtual world at a time which is what you know it's there's a hobgoblin that a lot of people on the virtualworld side will trot out and say if it doesn't scale to a million people in this world that i'm in it's not you knowa truly scalable solution but go to a concert you don't interact with a million people you know you interact with three or four and then there's acrowd around you that's sort of this vague murmuring mess and then there's the band on stage i mean i think that'show virtual worlds are going to take shape as well or shopping or whatever you're never going to see the million people at once so it's just a bit of abug bear in my my opinion so no i get it i think i think we've got the foundation for a lot of great distributed opentechnology to do 3d today great answer so tony you've talked a little bit uh inyour blog which by the way if you haven't looked at tony's medium blog it's tony parisi on medium he writesbrilliantly about his views 30-year perspective on the metaverse you wrote about the third wave um and your pointwas hey folks this is not the first rodeo people been trying to solve these problems for a mighty long timetell us about what you have learned over the last 30 years and what you look forward to in the next 30 yearswhat i've learned in the last 30 is definitely the the i'll have to paraphrase what bill gates saidand i think you know the quote um you accomplish a lot less than you think you you're going to in a three-year timeframe but what you can do in a decade is unbelievable and i'm just totally paraphrasing him here um these thingstend to roll out and take a little longer than we think uh and in the case of real time 3d for the internetthat has been a 30-year journey so far so we're definitely jumping the gun uhi've also learned that there's no solving for some folks who are going to have a manic defenseagainst change that they're you know the status quo is a real thing and i think you guys bothknow this really well um and you just need to compartmentalize it i've learned that there's really noway to talk people out of it one day folks will wake up and see that new world that they were not seeingi'll never get on facebook yes you know or the electric guitar is a fad that would be you know something my dad saidhe was a professional pianist you know you would say that in the 50s and 60s that's funny yeah or no one will everown a personal computer the ibm insects saying that right so but there's just so how do you see this going never see thatand you can't yeah what excites you what excites you about the future what what inspires you to get up every morning andand you know you like like the rest of us as futurists we're in a hurry to get to the future because of the promise itprovides what what excites you about that future yeah we will definitely try no future before it's time at this pointwe've learned that lesson it's going to come when it comes here's what excites me um well first of all before i start withthat here's what's not scaring me we're not going to build the matrixwe're not going to build ready player one people are fully freaked out that we're going to be trapped in a world of uhquest devices and i don't know our very bloodstream you know hooked into it or something it's not going to go down thatway and you know even even the folks who are building devices that are potentially or systems that arepotentially addictive they don't start that way i mean i think there's very few people in the world that get up in themorning and say how can i make the world a shittier place you know what can i do to like perpetrate mass of you no so imean clearly there are folks who don't care you know what what happens in the wake of their actions but that's a different story so i think in thebalance what excites me is i'm very optimistic that this technology is goingto a solve the things in front of us that we desperately need to solve for right now and i'd say in my personal order climateis number one and then two uh the erosion of trust in institutionsworldwide needs to get restored somehow so i'm hoping that we have a new set of communication tools to start bridgingthat gap and we get out the other end of what's clearly a geopolitical global crisis timeum and i think these tools have the possibility to help with both of those in the near termthen beyond that i don't know where where we'll be robert i don't trackwhere space tech's going to be in 30 years but you know to me this is all on that long vision ofpreservation of knowledge uh distribution of information and facilitating communication as we becometrans-human or space-faring or whatever that next thing is it feels like it may pop even in my our lifetimes evenus being middle-aged at this point we'll see um and so we have new tools forunderstanding we have new tools for communication so that is what gets me out of bed every day notnot what i consider to be still something i'm on which is a holy crusade to prevent a closed metaverse i i thinkthat's something i'm vigilant about but what drives me is the future possibilitiesvery cool i think sometimes people may not make the connection to those robotic systems when you talk about space it'sworth pointing out to people that most deep space exploration right now actually all of it is being done byrobotic systems and we're sending people humans up to the space soul inhabitants of marsrobots at the moment that's right and so you can think of those robotic systems as an extension of human consciousnessoff this planet and the way we're going to deal with those robots is 3d simulations so therewill be digital twins for all the systems the original 3d digital twin was developed by nasa for the voyagerspacecraft that are you know circling around in saturn or wherever the heck they are in the solar system right they're in the aortic cloud now dudethey're they've left the uh the heliosphere amazing but the way you monitor that system here on the groundis you've got a 3d model and that is a real time model that is rendered in 3d so that makes it a digital twin and itfits perfectly into what we've been describing this whole time there's just a lot of use cases for this stuffyeah but bring it back to earth and a lot of these technologies and techniques can make our cities safer and smartermake us more energy efficient get us to a place maybe where we're making less stuff and putting it in fewer boxes andputting it on fewer planes to ship around and these are all to the good as well and and soyeah it isn't just about xr or distributed computing it's also about robotics aiuh new generations of network and all that i mean it's really hard to see that's how those save the world i meanrobots will see the world using 3d tech yeah absolutelywell it's been a fantastic show tony thank you um obviously we want to hear more aboutlamina one when the time is right hopefully we'll get neal on as well but you know continue to keep us informed onthat super exciting stuff and um definitely um the other thing i think isonce apple does announce what they're doing with their ar glasses it'd be it'd be great to have you back on maybe withrobert scoble or someone like that talking about the implications of all of that so watch out for that but um yeah very keento continue this conversation thanks for thanks for being on how can people find out more about what you're doing and andmore you know get in touch with you yeah so you can come to my medium blog at sign tony parisi on medium my twitterat sign aura deluxe a-u-r-a-d-e-l-u-x-e those are my main entry points in themetaverse right now uh this new company is called lamina1 l-a-m-i-n-aone that's the number dot-com uh those that's how you can find meand the greater metaverse fantastic well that's it for another week of the futurist podcast thisepisode was produced by our us-based production team that includes elizabeth severance a producer audio engineerkevin hersham social media support from carlo navarra and sylvie johnson if youliked uh the futurist this week as with every week you know tweet us out post it on linkedin or whatever it is your yourfavorite social media uh platform is leave us a review on itunes podcastergoogle podcast facebook wherever it is that you listen to the show because that helps other people find the futuristsand in turn that helps us build audience that helps us get sponsorship so we can continue to do this um even thoughrobert and robin and i love this and we'd probably do it for free anyway you know there are some costs involved butum thanks for joining us on the futurist this week and rob and i will see youin the future future [Music] well that's it for the futurists thisweek if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share it with people in your community and don'tforget to leave us a 5 review that really helps other people find the showand you can ping us anytime on instagram and twitter at futurist podcastfor the folks that you'd like to see on the show or the questions you'd like us to ask thanks for joining and as always we'llsee you in the future

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