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Blake Lemoine, a software engineer at Google, recently made a remarkable statement. He claimed that the corporation’s conversational AI bot LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) had obtained a consciousness. Lemoine noted that the chatbot speaks its rights and perceives itself as a person. In response, company management suspended him from work - reported by The Washington Post.

“If I didn’t know exactly what it was, which is this computer program we built recently, I’d think it was a 7-year-old, 8-year-old kid that happens to know physics,” said Lemoine.

In fact, the capability of machines is becoming more advanced year after year, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) demonstrates prominent results. However, ones can protest in response: Then why do software like Siri or Alexa still barely cope with the most primitive tasks in languages?

Understanding the human language

For us, people, the language seems to be an ordinary and natural process. However, it doesn’t change the fact that natural languages are a very complicated system. Previously, there was a dominant idea that only humans could use logic, reasoning, and intuition to understand, use, and translate languages. However, human logic and intuition can be modeled mathematically and programmed. When computers became more advanced, people were trying to make them understand human speech. That is how the history of NLP went a long way from the virtual psychiatrist ELIZA in 1964 to the first automatically deciphers ancient language machine in 2010 and chatbots on almost every website.

Nevertheless, despite the long history of research, machines still have a range of serious limitations and barriers in terms of NLP. Machines can hear and read what we write, but they still do not completely understand what we mean since they don’t know the whole picture of the world. This is one of the problems of the century in artificial intelligence technology.

NLP in Web 2.0

In the 80s-90s, at the beginning of the mass scale of the Internet, Web 1.0 users could only read the content. With the appearance of Web 2.0, there was the possibility to interact with text (Read-Write). That is why NLP technologies became especially useful and widespread in the second generation of the Internet. Thank to NLP, certain processes were facilitated, such as spam detection, chatbots, virtual assistance, and many others. Although the ability of machines to communicate on the human level remains relatively low, there are some quite interesting achievements:

Voice-controlled assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Alisa

Despite the fact that voice assistant was not developed to the level of the sophisticated interlocutor, they excellently perform their functions by assisting the user in different tasks. 

Search engine

Every day Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches. There are several advanced NLP models that are used to process the queries, including the most famous one, BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers).

An example of how BERT improves the query’s understanding: When the user was quire “2019 brazil traveler to the USA needs a visa”, it was not clear to the computer. It could be a Brazilian citizen who is trying to get a visa to the US or an American to Brazil. Previously computers were giving results according to the keywords. In opposite, BERT takes into account every word in the sentence. In this exact context, “to” means a destination.

Text correction

As was mentioned, Web 2.0 allowed users to create text in the Web space. Hence, there was a high demand for text correction. Previously, users were relying on the built-in corrector in the Office 360 software that was pointing out mistakes. However, the mistake-detection technology in that software was quite vulnerable.

The new generation software that is AI-driven, such as Grammarly, uses NLP to help correct errors and make suggestions for simplifying complex writing or completing and clarifying sentences. They are more advanced and precise than the error-detection technologies of the previous generation.

Chatbots

Today there are a lot of websites that offer on their web pages chatbot assistant. Same as with voice-controlled assistants, they are not fully advanced and, in many cases, use simple keyword search and decision tree logic. However, it helps the users at a certain level and facilitates the work of the support team.

It may seem that NLP development doesn’t achieve the expectational level as it could be and has a range of serious limitations. Hence, in Web 3.0, we must deal with all those flaws of NLP we have today.

NLP in Web 3.0

There is no doubt that NLP will be a critical and foundational component of Web 3.0. AI-driven speech recognition and analytics technology can be used in many fields, such as enabling voice-based user interactions, command-driven hands-free navigation of virtual worlds, connection and interaction with virtual AI entities, and many others. Those are the examples of how NLP technologies will be used in web 3.0 and what are the objectives we need to achieve in this new internet era.

Voice operation

When we are talking about navigating in the metaverse, we might think about handheld controllers, gestures, eye-tracking, or voice control. In fact, voice operation would bring the user experience to a new level. Meanwhile, NLP technologies would help generate audio responses with linguistic nuances and voice modulation.

Speaking about voice operation in metaverse, it is important to mention development of the voice operation in games. The representatives of such in-game technology were games Seaman, Mass Effect 3, Bot Colony, Nevermind and others. Their NLP technologies were not that precisive. However, they can be considerate as the inspiration of the voice control  in metaverse.

Voice operation is already in the development process by Meta. The company launched a Voice SDK that allows VR developers to create virtual environments using voice commands.

Virtual assistance

In Web 3.0, the users would expect assistance in more daily tasks than in Web 2.0. Hence the virtual assistance would need to be upgraded to a higher level.

For the development of such a voice assistant, Meta took responsibility. Meta claims that their voice assistant will take presence in the metaverse, so it will probably have a virtual form of an avatar. Moreover, Meta wants its voice assistant to be more sophisticated, unlike the existing voice assistant in terms of understanding the context of the request.

“To support true world creation and exploration, we need to advance beyond the current state of the art for smart assistants,” said Zuckerberg.

AI companions

The difference between the Virtual assistant and AI companion is that the first one is designed to serve the user, while the AI companion is designed to be a virtual friend who knows your interest, can maintain a dialog, and give advice.

Web 2.0 offered us different AI chatbots. New generations of AI chatbots go further. One of the most prominent examples is the app Replika. After creating an avatar of its virtual companion that can also be visible via AR, users can start a conversation. AI companion, unlike many other AI chatbots, is capable of memorizing information about users, such as name, date of birth, interest, hobbies, memories, opinions, and others. Also, for the paid subscription, the AI companion can also be a romantic partner.

Replika
Replika, AI companion

Trade and Retail

Developing technologies of virtual assistants and AI companions is crucial for the Web 3.0:

If we manage to master those, it will pave the path to mastering other AI bots that will be responsible for the various jobs, such as psychologists or consultants.

Trade is one of the areas where AI-driven chatbots that will have the role of seller/consultant will be required. Trade, in general, has a great potential in the metaverse. That is how AI chatbots in this field will upgrade the purchasing process and improve the buyer experience.

Translations

In the 2000s, the developers were trying to bring to the life idea of social media with a built-in translator. Users could talk to different people around the world in their own languages, and everyone will understand each other thanks to the built-in translator. For some reason, those social networks didn’t gain popularity. Moreover, translation technology at that time was not that well developed and often provided awkward results.

Metaverse will be more than just social media, rather also a place for business, networking, education, shopping, sports, and so on. In that case, the automatic translation would be very useful. However, to achieve this, we need to make sure that AI-powered translators cope with their job precisely, fast, and flexibly.

Meta is already working on such a translator. This year the company announced they are developing an AI-powered c for languages in their metaverse.

Another prominent company that reached certain achievements in the real-time AI-powered translations is Unbabel. The software combines the speed and efficiency of machine translation with the accuracy and empathy of a global community of native-speaking translators. The merits of the company was noted by Windows, they said:

“We’ve seen CSAT scores jump as much as 10 points, and in one instance, we increased issue resolution by 20 percent.”

Those are just a few examples of how NLP technologies can be applied in Web 3.0, which will be used provided that the NLP technology is advancing fast enough. In fact, the development of NLP in the context of metaverse remains one of the underrated topics. Nevertheless, it doesn’t change the fact that the ability of machines to perceive text remains one of the prior tasks for AI today.

Social media is an integral part of daily online media consumption for many users. The number of social media users worldwide is estimated at more than 4 billion. This market has been dominated by Facebook (Meta) for years. However, the range of recent occasions provoked a significant decline in the popularity of this tech giant.

For several years now, it has been obvious that Facebook and its subsidiary, Instagram, are increasingly struggling with new competitors, such as TikTok. In fact, Facebook and Instagram look outdated compared to other social media. It’s time for the social networks to commit an important step into the web 3.0 and the metaverse.

How will the Web 3.0 social media work

Web 3.0 will bring significant changes in the many fields of the Internet, including social media. Let’s take a closer look at how Web 3.0 opportunities will transform social media.

Decentralization

When we are speaking about decentralized social media, we mean social networks operated on independently run servers rather than on a centralized server owned by a company. The benefits of decentralized social media are governance by users, freedom, and autonomy.

Decentralized social media already exist. Among them are Minds, Diaspora, MeWe, Mastodon, Signal, and others. Even though most of them may sound unfamiliar, those social networks have a great chance of obtaining popularity in the near future.

Immersion

Social media has been providing people with interactive social experiences for decades. However, only digitally. Imagine that social media can be immersive, so all the features that social networks are offering will be available in the meta-reality.

We remind that immersiveness is an ability to dive into the world, connecting virtual and real experiences. It can be achieved by using special equipment such as VR glasses, AR applications and other technologies. The classical social media would have to rebuild themselves to be immersive.

Tokenization

Social media will provide some kinds of tokens in the near future. 

NFT may appear on Instagram in the coming months, according to Mark Zuckerberg. In December, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri revealed that the company is opting to use non-fungible token technology.

Moreover, Twitter started using and verifying NFT with a new profile picture feature. This feature is offered to users of the Twitter Blue subscription service.

Avatar

Yet previously, social media users could picture any image of themselves. It’s the Internet where you can be whatever you want. In the social media of Web 3.0 creating avatars will be a must.

By the way, avatars and their skins will be closely connected to NFTs.

New regulations

A very important challenge for Web 3.0 social media will be regulations.

Even today, within Web 2.0  there are several issues in social media, such as misinformation, data privacy, digital bullying, harassment, and many others. The range of the problem is yet not solved! Thus, Web 3.0 platforms will inherit those issues in order to fix them.

Considering that the social media of Web 3.0 will be decentralized and governed by the community, logically, a question arises: Will the users come to a certain consensus on what is acceptable in social media?

When the Internet became available for simple users, everyone claimed it was a new space separated from the government laws with absolute freedom. But the expectations don’t correspond to the reality of the Internet we know today. That’s why we can’t be sure that Internet Web 3.0 will guarantee safety and freedom.

Future social media

Social media with elements of metaverse are not just a futuristic concept. Let’s take a look at examples of such social networks.

Second Life

During the metaverse fever, Second Life developers can proudly say, “We were the first”. Second Life is a 3D virtual world developed with elements of a social network. This game project can be called not just an online game but a whole virtual universe. There are no mandatory missions or hero upgrades. Instead, users participate in communities of interest, create virtual goods, build, communicate in voice or chat, and travel this virtual world. Moreover, Second Life has its own currency Linden Dollar (L$), which can be exchanged for real money.

Mastodon

Don’t like the fact that Elon Musk could make Twitter private? Then Mastodon must be a good alternative!

Unlike centralized social networks, Mastodon is not controlled by individual providers and can be created at users’ own facilities. Any user can deploy their own social networking site or join an existing one. Nodes connected in a common network allow their users to communicate with each other. At the same time, unlike conventional platforms that implement SaaS, it has a decentralized architecture.

Horizon Worlds

With the appearance of this social media platform, many were thinking that Meta was obtaining a monopoly on Metaverse. More than two years after testing began, Meta has finally launched its Horizon Worlds.

Horizon World can be entered with Oculus VR glasses. The users get into the Horizon universe, where they can create their own avatar, meet other users, find friends, and create Horizon Worlds.

Creators cannot earn money directly from their worlds. Instead, Meta put $10 million into a “creator fund” to reward community creators who win competitions. This is different from apps like Roblox, where creators can sell their games for in-game currency.

Zepeto

This social media became extremely popular in 2018 and, it seems, has a second wave of popularity with the metaverse hype.

Zepeto is an app from South Korean developer SNOW. This is a social network where virtual avatars generated using face recognition technology represent users. These virtual figures can then be customized by changing their appearance, clothes, and houses and creating unique greetings by combining various phrases with gestures or dances.

Zepeto has a digital currency used to buy new moves and greetings.

Technology is a driving force that makes the world a better place. The way we live, communicate and interact with each other changes. What will our communication look like in 20 years? Maybe, the metaverse world will become a big part of our lives, and one day we will hear in the news that Zuckerberg decided to delete Facebook forever.

One thing should remain clear: real-life communication should not be replaced by a virtual one.

The beginning of VR and AR technologies is not new at all. The first attempts to enter “virtuality” were made at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, virtual and augmented reality technologies have undergone a significant evolution.

According to a Digi-Capital report, the virtual and augmented reality market will grow from $13 billion (2021) to $67 billion by 2024. At the same time, it is expected that VR/AR devices will oust the popularity of smartphones, the current device number.

That is why Facebook began to acquire virtual and augmented reality companies, such as Oculus VR, Pebbles Interfaces, The Eye Tribe, Ready At Dawn, and Downpour Interactive and BigBox VR. Later in this article, the majority of VR and AR devices we will describe belong to Facebook!

VR and AR glasses

For a moment, VR and AR sets are the most popular and available for mass consumption products of such kind. Those are some of the most prominent companies that are producing VR and AR devices.

Oculus

As we mentioned above, Oculus is a company producing VR glasses that Facebook took under its wing. The Oculus set includes VR glasses and 2 remote controls for both hands. One of the main benefits of the glasses is their lighter weight in comparison to other models. The latest model, Oculus Quest 2, can also be used without controllers and the headset supports hand tracking.

Oculus can connect with PC and smartphones. The VR glasses come together with the platform, where users can browse and manage VR apps.

Oculus remains one of the most affordable options with a reasonable price on the market.

Oculus Quest S
Oculus Quest S, photo from ibzstore.com

Rokid Air glasses

Rokid Air - portable and lightweight glasses of augmented reality. Unlike VR glasses Rokid Air are smaller and can fit in a small bag or even in a pocket. Rokid Air is the first truly progressive smart glasses for consumers with the removal of content in amazing quality and comfortable ergonomics.

Users can run apps from a smartphone, play video games with a PC or console, and watch movies. Switching multimedia and other manipulations can be done using a voice assistant and gesture management.

Rokid Air glasses
Rokid Air glasses, photo from next.reality.news

Microsoft HoloLens 2

Previously, most people interacted with electronic devices through flat displays: laptops, computer monitors, phones, tablets, or video games on the television screen. Microsoft offers solutions using mixed reality and gives people the opportunity to work with holograms in the real world.

Mixed reality glasses Microsoft HoloLens 2 are the next generation of gadgets for working with VR/AR content. The device received an increased viewing angle, a new processor, a unique system for tracking the position of the eyes and hands, as well as voice control. New HoloLens 2 glasses provide more complete immersion and are also more intuitive and convenient to use. The device allows you to interact with holograms and VR objects using your hands at an intuitive level, without special gestures.

It’s important to mention that for now those glasses are extremely expensive ($3,349 - $4,349 for a pair) and designed for use by employees whose hands are busy performing physical labor. They help them identify the problem in the operation of the aircraft or see step-by-step instructions.

Microsoft HoloLens 2
Microsoft HoloLens 2, photo from pocket-lint.com

Other technology for immersion

The era of Web 3.0 brought us an opportunity to develop new innovative technologies. The development of VR and AR was only a first step. However, they are already not enough for the immersion the users would expect. Hence, there are additional technologies that will help to enter the metaverse.

Sensor Gloves

Sensor gloves are supposed to give sensations such as pain, heat, numbness, cold, and others. This glove would be essential to enter the metaverse. That’s why there is no surprise that Meta is investing in the development of sensor gloves. The company is developing handwear that reproduces sensations such as grasping an object or running a hand along a surface.

Apart from Meta, there are other developers designing sensor gloves. In the recent paper by Jasmine Lu, Ziwei Liu, Jas Brooks, and Pedro Lopes, the group of scientists describe the concept of sensor gloves that implement chemicals triggering user sensors (also known as chemical haptics). Those chemicals are safe and contain small doses of key active ingredients. Those are tingling (sanshool), numbing (lidocaine), stinging (cinnamaldehyde), warming (capsaicin), and cooling (menthol).

Sensor Glove
Sensor Glove, photo from the research paper by Jasmine Lu et al.

Let’s see what other wearables we will see on the market with such technologies 😉.

Face tracker

Another important player in the virtual reality market, Vive releases a face tracker - a small and inexpensive ($130) gadget that attaches to VR glasses and reads emotions from the lower part of the face, which are the lips, chin, and even tongue.

There is a problem with avatars in virtual reality - lifeless faces. Thank the face tracker, this problem will remain in the past.

Vive face tracker
Vive face tracker, photo from vive.com

Neurointerface

Traditional control systems, whether for work or entertainment, have always been required to use the output of your physical actions, like pressing the buttons or using the remote control. Imagine that instead of an additional tool to operate a computer, one can operate it with thoughts!

Facebook is the one that wants to implement this function in its metaverse. That is why the company acquired CTRL Labs. CTRL Labs is developing a wristband-like device that will allow controlling digital interfaces by using the electrical signals that run through the user’s arm. That is how it allows the brain to control the movement of the hands and fingers.

Miointerface will solve one of the fundamental problems of virtual and augmented reality devices: it will finally become convenient to type on virtual keyboards because humanity has not yet invented any faster way to enter text. Modern controllers are good for any actions - shooting, drawing, modeling - but not for text input and working with very small details. If such a prototype becomes a mass-produced device in the next year or two, working from home in a virtual “office” from the exotic will become commonplace - after all, it is much more pleasant to work not with the small screen of your laptop, but with a virtual surface the whole wall.

Another company Valve is developing the dream of advanced humanity - a gadget that helps users control other devices by the mind. Valve’s partner on this project is the company Tobii, a world’s leader in eye-tracking technology.

A bracelet by CTRL Labs
A bracelet by CTRL Labs photo from uploadvr.com

Of course, this selection does not end with the amazing news: Apple’s AR/VR devices have been rumored for years, and they threaten to hit the market in the next few years; Samsung is also developing augmented reality glasses; the list of incredible new things can be added to literally every week. And this is how we are witnessing the change of must-have devices, where VR glasses will exchange the smartphones.

Metaverse continues moving with giant strides into the industry. Many companies may consider joining the Metaverse or connecting their business to this future technology. Meanwhile, others have certain concerns regarding the Metaverse being monopolized sooner or later. Theoretically, that could mean that the Metaverse will become a cluster of different products related to the metaverse and belong to one company, like in Ready Player One. Could this scenario actually happen?

Threat

Let’s take a closer look at Meta - the company that set the trend and even changed its name to declare the Metaverse as its main focus.

Generally, Meta has a quite bad reputation regarding the antitrust policy. Zuckerberg said, “better to buy than compete”, which explains his decision to start buying social media. Now owning Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Meta already has a huge social capital (remember that 4.62 billion people around the world use social media). And this number will grow, especially when Meta considers buying everything related to the metaverse.

Picture this, in the past years, Meta (Facebook) has been buying companies that are mainly focusing on two subjects: gaming and virtual reality. “Investing in and building products that consumers want is the key to success. We cannot build the Metaverse alone — a collaboration with developers, creators, and experts will be critical. As we invest in the Metaverse, we know that we face fierce competition from companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, Snap, Sony, Roblox, Epic, and many others at every step of this journey.” - That’s how Meta explains its growing appetite for acquisitions. Meta’s recent deals include the companies such as Within, Unit 2 Games, Bigbox VR  and Downpour Interactive.

Another tech giant, Microsoft, observing the fast growth of Meta within its deals, also decided to undertake actions of taking over the Metaverse market. Microsoft announced that already in the first half of 2022, its Teams Video conferencing service will have virtual spaces and 3D avatars for communication, data sharing, and work. Also, the new feature will build on the Microsoft Mesh VR  technology introduced earlier this year. It allows users to unite different devices in one virtual space. Moreover, Microsoft has been investing for years, working on the HoloLens VR glasses and buying various startups, including the AltspaceVR social virtual reality platform.

One is expecting that Microsoft and Meta will clearly compete in the field of Metaverse.

Meanwhile, others claim that competition between Meta and Microsoft can lead to a close connection between those companies, which will push them to collaborate. The cases from the past, like Jedi Blue, only prove this point to be possible: if two tech giants are focusing on a common field, they will most probably conspire to collaborate in some way. That will consequentially lead to an antitrust breach, and that’s how a monopoly may appear.

Antitrust Law

Consequences

Everyone, who has a minimum acknowledge of how economics works, is aware of why a monopoly is damaging. Now, imagine a scenario where the Metaverse will be monopolized by one of the tech giants. Those are the few consequences that may happen:

Metaverse will become centralized

The truth is that Web 3.0 is a train that is currently moving on the reals of Web 2.0. Many companies working with the Metaverse are technically limited to providing it decentralization.

As we know, Meta’s metaverse is centralized so far, although it promises to become decentralized. However, the theoretical owner of the Metaverse cluster can proclaim the metaverse centralized if it corresponds to its interest.

We have already written an article on why the Metaverse must be decentralized. Long story short, centralized Metaverse bring certain limitations with an outcome like censorship.

Large social capital under one company

As we wrote, more than half of the population uses social media, which actually belongs to one tech giant. In fact, people strongly depend on the tech giants like Google, Meta, or Amazon.

It is expected that people will actively use the Metaverse, so it will strongly integrate with everyone’s life sooner or later. And if it belongs to tech giants, there is always a risk of a range of problems such as disinformation or censoring.

Lack of confidentiality

It seems more and more within the years that lack of confidentiality of tech giants is rather a feature than a bug (remember the recent case with Apple).

It would be reasonable to suggest that all private information collected by Metaverse companies will be in danger if those companies will belong to one tech giant.

Oppression of the smaller companies

Today, since the Metaverse became mainstream, the small companies and startups with a focus on the Metaverse are appearing very fast. Some of them can become a future “Google” or “Apple”. However, it simply won’t happen if the other big tech companies acquire them early on. For some, it may look like a profitable deal. But do you remember what happened with Skype when Microsoft bought and redesigned it?

Expert’s opinion.

In our recent Adello event #28, which was devoted to the Metaverse, Thomas Hutter, a digital marketing expert and owner o the consulting company, shared in his presentation that there is no reason to suggest that the Metaverse will be monopolized. He explained it with the fact that there are already many different companies that provide or will provide the platforms for the Metaverse very soon.

Nevertheless, according to Thomas, there is actually room for some concerns.

Because the argument “there are already a lot of different companies making Metaverse” is quite infantile. There are a lot of obvious red flags that even if the Metaverse won’t be monopolized, the vast segment of it sooner or later will belong to one of the tech giants.

EU and US at antitrust protection

In a global economy, the antimonopoly policy of foreign countries has a great impact on international business. So, in case there is a threat of monopoly appearance, the antitrust services would need to intervent.

The mission of the US antitrust regulator, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is to prevent business practices that are anti-competitive, misleading, or are unfair to the consumer. The strategic tasks of the regulator are:

1) consumer protection, namely the prevention of fraud, unfair business practices;

2) support for competition, i.e., prevention of anti-competitive mergers and other anti-competitive actions in the market;

3) informing business, management, and consumers about the results of the activities of the antimonopoly regulator.

European antitrust policy, unlike the American one, is more focused on protecting the interests of competitors than of end-users.

As markets become globalized, there is a need to converge the standards for dealing with cases where companies violate antitrust laws. The American and European regulators have already taken certain steps toward each other in this area, but the work will continue.

So, in case there is the threat of Metaverse being monopolized, the antitrust services will take certain preventive measures. Metaverse is the technology of the future that must be protected from monopoly in order to stay quality and safe for users.

It may seem that Google and Meta live through hard times. Over the past decade, Google has already faced more than 8 billion euros in EU antitrust fines. Recently, Google had a lawsuit in France for adtech abuses and was fined for $268 Million.

Facebook has not been spared trouble too. The company keeps losing money on its stock after rebranding. Furthermore, currently, both Google and Facebook are under antitrust investigations in relation to their online display ad businesses by the European Commission and the U.K., which will drastically affect the reputation and income of those companies.

The Phantom Menace

Let us tell the story from the very beginning. It all started in 2007 when Google bought DoubleClick.

DoubleClick was one of the leaders in display advertising that developed and provided Internet ad services. DoubleClick was in collaboration with large brands such as Microsoft, General Motors, Coca-Cola, Motorola, L’Oréal, Apple, Visa, and many others.

Suddenly, Google acquired DoubleClick for $3.1 billion and immediately started implementing its rebranding. That is how DoubleClick became Google Marketing Platform brand, DoubleClick Bid Manager is now Display and Video 360, DoubleClick Search became Search Ads 360, and DoubleClick for Publishers turned to Google Ad Manager 360. Through this purchase, Google obtained its cash cow that Google protects with its full determination.

This occasion made advertisement analytics see the obvious red flags: there is reason to assume that if the leader in search advertising had acquired the leader in display advertising, it would consequently lead to the antitrust law breach.

Advertisers recognized a hidden menace in the Google Ad platform as well. That is why they started developing and open-sourcing a system called Header Bidding. This system allowed to launch a bid for several ad exchanges at once and in a much more transparent way than through Google’s systems. Thus, Header Bidding became a threat to Google’s dominance by improving the playing field for competition.

Exactly at this point, Facebook goes to the stage in this story. In 2017, Facebook began demonstrating a strong interest in Header Bidding but then suddenly backed off. It turns out, Google was trying to make friends with Facebook and gave the company a fantastic offer, which was not given to anyone else: a guarantee of a 90% (!) of auctions regardless of the bids; more time to bid, which is 300 milliseconds compared to the 160 offered to other companies, at the risk of pages loading more slowly, identification of 80% of smartphone users and 60% of web users. This agreement obtained a code name Jedi Blue.

Why tech monopoly is dangerous

Before we continue our story, let’s take a step back to understand why the monopoly of the tech giants is dangerous.

The Jedi Blue case is one of the examples of the abuse of Google and Facebook’s privileged positions and proof of why the tech giants need regulation.

For those, who are not familiar with the ad industry, Google and Facebook look like the undoubtful guarantee for quality since they reach dominance in the industry. However, this statement is misconceived, we will share some constructive criticism on the Facebook and Google ad products in a separate article. Furthermore, the monopoly of the large tech companies leads to a range of negative consequences.

Lack of quality

The most obvious reason that comes to mind is decreasing the quality as a result of monopoly. If there is no competition, there is no motivation to produce a quality product. This will consequently impede progress.

Owning large social capital is problematic

Today billions of people are dependent on services like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Almost 3 billion people monthly use social media that belong to Meta (Facebook, WhatsApp, or Instagram), and this number will grow. If a large social capital is concentrated in one tech conglomerate, this can lead to a range of different problems such as disinformation or censoring.

Lack of confidentiality

Referring to the previous problem, lack of confidentiality deserves special attention. Collecting, selling, exploiting, and abusing data have long been a serious problem for tech companies. Currently, this is one of the reasons for antitrust and monopoly concerns about big tech companies.

Oppression of the smaller companies

The dominance of big tech companies is oppressing the small companies and preventing innovative brands and startups from entering the market. This will consiqencelly limit the customer choice.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are more reasons why the power of the big tech companies should be under control. Nevertheless, there is a counter-power that prevents the domination of big companies and fights against the appearance of a monopoly.

The Government Strikes Back

Returning to the Jedi Blue case, it doesn’t happen for the first time when the tech giants, such as Apple, Google, Meta, or Amazon, are close enough to breach the antitrust law. For such cases, there is the European Commission’s commissioner of competition in Europe.

Very recently, EU antitrust authorities began their investigation regarding Google and Facebook’s Jedi Blue.

“On Friday, we just opened a new case with Google and Facebook, now Meta. It’s called Jedi Blue, named after the codename for an agreement that they seem to have entered back in 2018, with the aim, seemingly, to kill off Google competitors in the advertising ecosystem. We also have another Google case exclusively focusing on Google and the ad-tech stack, looking at some of the behaviors that seem to be anti-competitive.” - said Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, a European Commission’s commissioner of competition in 2014 and an executive vice president in 2019, she’s pursued antitrust cases.

If the investigation confirms the antitrust law breach from the side of Google and Facebook, the companies should expect another big fine.

Representatives from Facebook and Google have already commented on the situation.

Google spokesperson:

“The allegations made about this agreement are false. This is a publicly documented, procompetitive agreement that enables Facebook Audience Network (FAN) to participate in our Open Bidding program, along with dozens of other companies. FAN’s involvement is not exclusive and they don’t receive advantages that help them win auctions. The goal of this program is to work with a range of ad networks and exchanges to increase demand for publishers’ ad space, which helps those publishers earn more revenue. Facebook’s participation helps that. We’re happy to answer any questions the Commission or the CMA have.”

Meta also has declared their statement:

“Meta’s non-exclusive bidding agreement with Google and the similar agreements we have with other bidding platforms have helped to increase competition for ad placements. These business relationships enable Meta to deliver more value to advertisers and publishers, resulting in better outcomes for all. We will cooperate with both inquiries.”

Future of Facebook and Google

Facebook and Google are experiencing not only financial but also reputational losses due to the range of lawsuits. Remember when Zuckerberg lost in court because of Facebook’s privacy breach? After the range of claims from the EU privacy regulation administration, Meta is threatening to leave the European market.

Or did you notice how Google is losing its trust in privacy and ad products quality? For one, these consequences have already led to Google being completely banned in Austria.

Other European countries can follow the example of Austria and ban Google ads as well.

All those occasions will not be traceless for those companies. The question is if users will still want to collaborate with those tech giants after what happened.

While continuing to monitor the situation, we at Adello adhere to our mission to deliver the most transparent, reliable, and effective mobile advertising services to our valuable clients!

On 2.2.22, the leading Swiss mobile technology provider, Adello, streamed live the 28th industry event on METAVERSE via Linkedin and Youtube for the 180 registered industry professionals. The topic of the discussion was “Metaverse: Technological Gimmick or the Most Important Invention after Mobile?”

Thomas Hutter, CEO of Hutter Consult, was invited as a guest and a keynote speaker. In his presentation, Thomas disclosed from a critical point of view what challenges and opportunities could offer us the Metaverse in the near future.

What is Metaverse?

Thomas started his presentation by defining Metaverse in a quite extraordinary way: instead of Thomas, the virtual avatar has explained it:

“The Metaverse is a collective virtual space created by the convergence of virtual, augmented, and physical reality, physical persistence in virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds of augmented reality and the Internet.”

Thomas added that the Metaverse encompasses the digital world the same way as the physical one. At the same time, those worlds are interconnected, and the border between them is blurred. That is how the Metaverse allows us to enrich the physical world with new digital opportunities that wouldn’t be possible in reality.

Thomas shared that the concept of the Metaverse is not new. The notion of “Metaverse” was mentioned for the first time in the book “The Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson, released in 1992. The actions in the book take place in a virtual reality, where people exist and interact with each other as their avatars.

Today some traits of the Metaverse can be presented in different online games where people play specific roles behind the virtual characters. Nevertheless, those games still cannot be considered the Metaverse. In fact, the Metaverse includes the interaction with the physical world, which most of the games don’t have yet.

The Metaverse obtained its popularity very quickly. That happened right after Mark Zuckerberg declared that Facebook’s main focus will be the Metaverse. This consequently created a range of different discussions and concerns if Meta (previously Facebook) will have a monopoly on the Metaverse.

Thomas Hutter ensures that there is no reason to suggest this. Different companies provide or will provide platforms for the Metaverse very soon. For example, Thomas pointed to Fortnight (a free-to-play battle royale game by Epic Games) and AltspaceVR (a social VR platform acquired by Microsoft), which plans to create a virtual working space.

However, according to Thomas, there is room for some concerns. For instance, Meta encompasses a significantly broad audience of 3 billion people by owning Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and others. Moreover, Meta owns a subsidiary company Oculus. Oculus will provide the suitable equipment to enter the Metaverse, including a headset and sensor glove. Furthermore, there is no doubt that Meta has enough resources to invest in Metaverse R&D.

To draw a line and eliminate the misconception of what the Metaverse actually is, Thomas shared the 7 core attributes of the Metaverse described by Matthew Ball.

  1. The Metaverse is always live. It cannot be interrupted or paused, unlike computer games.
  2. The Metaverse happens in real-time.
  3. The Metaverse is unlimited. That means there are no boundaries for the users, and everyone can access it.
  4. The Metaverse is an ecosystem. This includes payment methods as well. It is expected that users can make purchases inside the Metaverse by using cryptocurrency.
  5. The Metaverse cannot exist only in virtual or physical reality. It unites the virtual and physical world and allows the users to interact inside them.
  6. The Metaverse allows the interoperability of data. That means that the digital objects in the Metaverse are fungible. It can be owned and exchanged.
  7. The Metaverse is diverse. The content of the Metaverse must be various and have different sides. That means it creates opportunities for different user experiences.
Facebook metaverse

Potential of the Metaverse

Revealing the core attributes of the Metaverse, Thomas continued with the discussion on how the Metaverse can serve people.

Social connections are one of them. The Metaverse could broaden the horizons in human communication and interaction. Thanks to the Metaverse, the geographical and linguistic borders will be erased.

Another important usage will be entertainment. The Metaverse will facilitate virtual activities in meta-reality, for example, concerts, movies, exhibitions, cultural events, and others.

Gaming is another important aspect. Transferring games into the Metaverse will invent new gaming experiences.

Sport has an excellent potential to be transferred in the Metaverse. It will transform sports and fitness activities, enriching them with gamification.

Thomas also mentioned that shopping could be changed within the Metaverse. In the Metaverse, buyers can discover a new range of various experiences that have never been available before.

Speaking about education, the students will be able to obtain a professional experience thanks to the virtual training in the meta-reality.

Another aspect that can be changed with Metaverse is professional life. Metaverse will help in arranging the business meeting in the virtual space.

How will Metaverse work

Metaverse is constituted from the different components that in their entirety create an entire ecosystem. Here are the components of the Metaverse ecosystem:

  1. Centralized and decentralized gateways. A centralized Metaverse is represented as a single entity that operates the entire network. In such a system, user actions are restricted within the set of controlled parameters. In a decentralized Metaverse, in its turn, users are free and can control everything.
  2. Avatars - the virtual image of a user.
  3. Payment system that will be presented as cryptocurrency.
  4. User Interface and Immersion.
  5. Social - the ability to intercommunicate with other users.
  6. Play-to-earn/ Play-to-collect - the ability to earn points/currency by playing.
  7. AI - some part of the Metaverse will be operated and optimized by artificial intelligence.
  8. AdTech and Marketing. Those aspects will penetrate the meta-reality and create new opportunities for the advertisement.
  9. Visualization and digital twin - reconstructing and cloning the real-world objects and systems to the Metaverse.
  10. Decentralized Infrastructure - in order for the metaverse to survive, it needs to be decentralized. Decentralized networks are built on blockchain. This approach ensures that there is no monolithic control. In fact, for the metaverse to survive, it requires to be open-source, interoperable and controlled by the community, not by a few people.
  11. Creators.

Foundation for the Metaverse development

Thomas described factors that have been undertaken in the past which led to the appearance of the Metaverse. One of them is Internet speed, which has increased enormously in the last several years.

Another factor is technological change and especially mobile phones. Today smartphones have a wide range of functionality that nobody could imagine 20 years ago. Thomas compared such a quick improvement of mobile devices to the possible future development of the Metaverse. For instance, VR sets are currently not designed yet for Metaverse usage. But those devices may be improved in a very short period of time.

There are already concepts that could help perceive virtual reality in a more convenient way, such as Google Glass and Oculus. Moreover, such concepts might have great potential to replace smartphones and become the next device-number-one.

Another tool that contributed to the Metaverse development is the brain interface. A brain–computer interface (BCI) is a device designed to exchange information between the brain and computer. In unidirectional interfaces, external devices include signals from the brain that can receive signals from the brain. Thanks to this device, thoughts can be read and interpreted.  

Metaverse adaption for the businesses

According to Thomas Hutter, the Metaverse can be an innovation jump in the digital field. Thanks to the Metaverse, it would be possible to start creating new experiences in different sectors that could benefit business development.

Moreover, new business and sales models could be developed. The goods and services will be changed. The Metaverse offers tremendous opportunities to sell digital objects and contents (for instance, courses and workshops).

At the same time, advertisements will move to a completely new level. New marketing opportunities will transform the whole industry and provide marketing methods that wouldn’t be possible in reality. The changes in marketing will bring new approaches to content personalization.

Furthermore, the new workplaces will be created in Metaverse, and the working environment could be changed correspondingly.

Then Thomas explained the challenges on the path to the Metaverse adaptation. He drew the audience’s attention to the history of the Internet. It has already been 20 years since the appearance of Web 1.0, and people still haven’t used it to its full potential. There are still poorly designed websites and UX/UI, slow Internet. The same problem appears with web 2.0. Today we are stepping into the Web 3.0 era, which users and businesses just began adopting. The inescapable truth is that for a moment, the majority of users still don’t understand the main concepts of Web 3.0.

Metaverse will combine the techniques and know-how from the Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, VR, AR, and analog world. Moreover, it will include other aspects such as 3D, UI/UX, video, real-time, and many others. Furthermore, it will require resources such as labor, time, and money.

Thomas Hutter gave his recommendations on what businesses could do to pave the path of Metaverse adoption. In his opinion, business owners should learn the lessons from Web 1.0 adoption. Then it will be necessary to continue establishing and improving the knowledge of Web 2.0. Moreover, brands would have to observe how the future and Web 3.0 will develop. To adopt the Metaverse, businesses would have to analyze and decide in what direction of the Metaverse should they move. Once the direction is established, they would have to constitute the strategy of their further actions.

It is essential to start now and work from a long-term perspective. According to Thomas, the Metaverse will probably not develop as fast as expected. It will require years before the meta-world will firmly integrate into our daily life. Nevertheless, the first steps towards the Metaverse development have already been made, and those companies that become Metaverse pioneers will have great potential in the future.

The gaming industry is the fastest-growing entertainment sector today. In 2021, total spending on computer games worldwide constituted $180.3, which is 1.4% higher than in 2020. In 2026 the gaming industry will reach a market value of $314.

Gaming technology is rapidly changing. This technological growth has placed the gaming industry at the forefront of the metaverse discourse. You have probably already heard that the metaverse derives from the games. Indeed, computer games became an inspiration for the world between reality and virtuality that we now call meta. Games and metaverse have various constituents in common. For instance, both of them can encompass real physical space within the virtual world, offer avatars to operate, and unique economic systems to use. The last one allows, for one, to own the different objects, earn and spend money.

Recourse to the history

The definition metaverse takes its root from the novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, written in 1992. In his book, there is a worldwide virtual space in which people interact with each other through digital avatars.

However, already back in the day, video games had similar elements to the metaverse we know today. The game Habitat from 1985 is considered the first game of such kind. Habitat is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Same as in the metaverse, game users were playing behind their avatars. That is how players could see, speak, and interact with each other. Habitat was operated by its citizenry. That means the users were responsible for rules and acceptable behavior within the game.

Another important game that is considered a pioneer of metaverse games with social media elements is Second Life. In this game, users get the opportunity to choose the most appropriate way of virtual existence for them, such as participation in communities of interest, creating virtual goods, building, creating virtual art objects, traveling, and many others. There is a virtual economic system with a virtual currency called the Linden Dollar (L$) in Second Life. The players can exchange Linden Dollars for real money.

Today more and more games adopt the technologies from the metaverse. The developers create their own NFT based economy, add digital twins and non-gaming events. For instance, concerts and social events are already ordinary features in games like Roblox and Fortnite.

There are more and more metaverse games that appeared very recently. We would like to shortlist the most remarkable ones that deserve your attention.

Second Life
Second Life

Illuvium

Illuvium is a metaverse game where the players can create an avatar to explore the open world. Users can travel the world of Illuvium, participate in quests, play-to-earn, and place their assets in a decentralized system.

In this game, players are a crew on a transport ship who receive a distress signal from a mysterious shattered planet that is almost entirely covered by a vast crystal ocean. An extreme weather event on the planet’s surface creates a burst of radiation that disables the ship engines, causing it to crash-land on the planet. The player’s character is the only survivor who has to explore the world and discover majestic creatures with divine elemental powers.

In the world of Illuvium, participants can interact with objects. All in-game assets, including skins, items, and collectibles, exist in the form of NFTs, which can be traded in-game or on the decentralized exchange IlluvDEX or OpenSea. Play-to-earn games like Illuvium are commonly referred to as GameFi, which is a combination of the words “Game” and “Finance”. This is a completely new class of blockchain games. They include digital assets and digital currency for completing tasks and participating in quests.

Illuvium
Illuvium

The Sandbox

In the blockchain game, The Sandbox gamers have the opportunity to create their own worlds with unique objects. The idea and even graphics of The Sandbox are very similar to Minecraft. However, unlike Minecraft, Sandbox has one indisputable advantage - a well-implemented blockchain and a goods market where players buy and sell their creations. The Sandbox has implemented an NFT marketplace. With its help, registered members can buy objects that can later be used.

The Sandbox

Revomon

“Think Axie Infinity meets Pokémon Go but in a fully immersive virtual reality environment.’ - says the Revomon website while describing the game. Revomon is an online role-playing game that combines a VR experience with the technology behind NFT tokens.

With Revomon games, players can interact with each other and be a part of the gaming community. Revomon has been gaining a lot of popularity lately. In fact, the game offers an amazing VR experience, which creates an attractive gaming process.

Revomon

Alien Worlds

Alien Worlds was launched in 2020. It became the first blockchain game to reach 100,000 users and then over 2 million.

According to the game plot, the player is a space explorer traveling the six planets. The main mission of the game is to mine the in-game currency Trilium. Every planet has its own elected government. The players can also participate in “voting”, however, the voting rights depend on how much Trilium the gamer owns.

Alien Worlds
Alien Worlds

CyberTrade

CyberTrade is another free play-to-earn game that has gained a lot of popularity recently. According to the CyberTrade website, there are already 191,957 pre-registered members.

The gamers are located in the futuristic city of Metropolit in 2101. The main goal of the game is to prevent others from taking over the player’s city. The gamers use their avatars to fight, level them up and upgrade, and earn in-game currency.

CyberTrade

Star Atlas

Star Atlas is a strategy game dedicated to space exploration.

Players can earn money by selling items represented as NFTs on the online marketplace and exchanging ATLAS tokens. The game has built-in deflationary mechanisms where materials used to create items are destroyed when a new item is created. Assets such as ships, crew, and equipment will be NFTs. Some in-game items, such as raw materials for production, will be fungible tokens. Players can buy, sell and trade them on the in-game market using ATLAS, which is the utility token of the Star Atlas ecosystem.

Star Atlas

Future of the metaverse games

As we mentioned before, the game technology is developing very fast, and the metaverse will contribute in the direction the game development will vector in the future.

For instance, thanks to the metaverse and its economy, the big “injustice” of the game are getting resolved: Previously, the gamers owned only virtual items that had a certain value only in the context of the game. Today, however, thanks to the NFT technology, the owned assets actually will have their value and can be traded.

Game design and UX will be changed too. They will be defined by two fundamental infrastructures: the network architecture and the underlying technology. The big challenge for the game design will be creating an immersive design that will be convenient while gaming. For the same reason, suitable equipment will take place for mass production.

Another important change will be game migration to the cloud. For instance, recently, Amazon announced their cloud gaming platform Luna. Moreover, Google, NVIDIA, and Sony have announced three proprietary cloud gaming platforms: Stadia, GeForce Now, and PS Now. These services are already available to users as a complete product. Microsoft has also proposed its xCloud platform, which is currently in testing.

In the beginning, computer and video games affected the appearance of the metaverse. Today, the metaverse affects game development. The expansion of the meta-technologies will radically change the gaming industry bringing it to the next stage, where the games make dreams come true.

Important to mention that many people already depend on digital games, and metaverse gaming might only increase this addiction. One should remember the old rule to protect yourself: “To use, and not abuse”. Following this principle, the metaverse and metaverse games will bring not only joy but also a range of new opportunities.

“Digital fashion” - that sounds futuristic yet already exists! Digital clothes aren’t made from tangible material, instead they are created by using computer graphics and 3D technologies. Hence, those clothes don’t have a physical presence and cannot be worn in real life.

Digital outfits are designed for the virtual environment, meta-world, and computer games. Nevertheless, digital fashion is not limited to avatars, as it might seem at first. On the contrary, such clothes can be worn by a real person. The user would have to upload a photo or video of themselves, so designers would “dress them in” digital clothes or use the dresses as a “mask” in real-time.

As can be assumed, this kind of fashion is closely engaged with NFTs. Some brands have already tokenized the digital closes or created their digital twin, so the users can purchase them to “wear”.

How it all started

It’s important to mention that digital clothing is not a new thing, as it may seem. Same as a metaverse development, digital fashion takes its roots from computer games. Game developers were increasing the engagement and motivation of players by selling “skins” - the appearance of the character, their outfit, and equipment.

Later, Cat Taylor, also known as Cattytay, became a pioneer in digital fashion. Cat is the founder of Digi-GXL and a digital designer who has been designing virtual clothing since 2015. Cattytay has already partnered with world-famous brands such as Vetements, Gucci, Off-White, Balenciaga, Alexander Wang, and others.

Later, the different fashion brands joined this trend by making their first steps to digital fashion. The appearance and distribution of AR and VR technology facilitate this process. Also, social media plays a significant role in digital fashion. With the rise of social media, there has been a demand for virtual beauty. The jump in the popularity of virtual clothing happened in the spring of 2020, during the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. People stayed home and spent a lot of time with their mobile devices. Later, mobile became a portal to the digital fashion world.

What’s the point of digital fashion?

Some can protest: what is the use of such clothes if it’s impossible to wear them in reality? Nevertheless, there are several reasons why digital fashion is relevant.

Transferring to the virtual world

It’s not a secret that we slowly transfer into the digital world. Clothing in the virtual world will remain the first-need attribute for the users. Same as in the real world, digital clothes will be an indicator of the status and way of self-expression.

This is especially relevant with the appearance and the fast development of the metaverse.

Freedom for art and convenience

Some of the clothes designed for virtual reality are pretty extraordinary. If those gowns existed in reality, they would be hard to produce, dispose and maintain. Thanks to technologies, the most daring designs can be created digitally, giving more freedom to fashion designers. With 3D-made outfits, the designers can forget about problems with the fabric or tailoring. Even some fashion designer skills will be considered outdated. Now the final result depends on the computer graphic skills.

Inclusiveness

These kinds of clothes are inclusive, meaning being designed for everyone. Independently on age, gender, height, weight, body shape - the digital outfit will suit everybody.

Environment

We left this bullet point to the end because this statement is contradictory. It is said that digital fashion can be a good alternative solution to fast fashion problems. In theory, the consumers will buy fewer physical clothes replacing them with digital ones, because digital clothes last forever. Hence, there is less used material and product transportation. Consequently, it will reduce CO2 emissions. In practice, NFT, an inescapable part of the digital fashion industry, is environmentally unfriendly. The environmental footprint of a single NFT transaction, for one on SuperRare, is 211 kg of CO2. This is equivalent to a car emission during a thousand-kilometers ride or a two-hour flight.

That is how both NFT fashion and physical fashion are destructive to the environment. In fact, it only matters what is less harmful.

Before and after purchasing clothes on the DressX
Before and after purchasing clothes on the DressX

Examples of digital fashion

As we mentioned, several brands have already contributed to digital fashion. At the same time, new digital fashion brands appear that will produce only digital outfits.

Here are some examples of them.

DresX

The gowns from the DressX can be described as “unreal”. As Michaela Larosse, the Head of content and strategy at digital fashion house The Fabricant, mentioned, realism is not the point in digital fashion:

“Fashion is an emotional experience, and you don’t need physicality for that.”

 - The Fabricant’s Michaela Larosse told Vogue.

And yet some digital fashion attributes of DresX are free! The user can open an app, choose a piece of clothes or an accessory and take a picture in them. But it’s not as easy as it seems. The quality of the dress on such a picture won’t be any different than a typical Instagram mask. In order for the dress to suit the user and look “real”, the user would have to pay. DresX prices vary from $30 up to $9,500. After payment, users would have to upload the high-resolution picture or video and wait up to 24 hours, while the designers will render the closes.

The Fabricant

Fabricant is another important distributor of virtual fashion. The brand became noticeable when it sold its Iridescent dress for $9,500 in 2019. Later the brand gained popularity and even had a collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger and Soorty. Moreover, Fabricant launched a digital platform and playground called Leela. The users can play and wear different virtual dresses.

Gucci

Gucci recently confirmed their interest in the NFT world. The brand presented virtual sneakers Gucci Virtual, which can be tried on through AR gadgets and even purchased. Today, the pair is affordable even to those who don’t purchase luxury clothes. Their price is only $17.99.

Wanna

Wanna is a company that specializes in augmented reality technologies for the online fitting of shoes and watches. Today, the app serves as a digital dressing room for Snapchat and brands like Reebok and Puma, Gucci, Adidas, and others. 

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana plans to launch in the near future the D&G Family program. This will be a public NFT distribution project based on the UNXD trading platform. Any user will be able to access exclusive clothing models and buy them with the help of NFT only. UNXD will be the first platform to support the Wear-to-Earn business model. This means brands and designers will pay users who will wear their virtual clothes.

RTFKT

Recently, RTFKT, one of the pioneers of NFT fashion, released a trio of digital sneakers for reportedly $3.1 million. 613 pairs of shoes were totally sold from $3 to $10,000 per pair. Later, Nike saw the great potential behind the NFT fashion and bought the two-year-old brand RTFKT.

Future of digital fashion

Same as a metaverse, digital fashion will not happen instantly. Indeed, it will require 5 - 10 years till the moment when everyone will have a piece of digital clothes.

Moreover, digital fashion has a range of obstacles: it’s most expensive, not eco-friendly as it may seem, and for a moment, alas, unclaimed. But it doesn’t mean that digital fashion doesn’t have potential and will not be more available in the near future. The digital fashion pioneers made the right choice by discovering the potential of the digital fashion industry. Soon enough, all of us will have at least one pair of digital sports shoes that we will boast to our friends in the metaverse.

The 28th Adello Industry Event took place on 2.2.22. The topic of the discussion was “Metaverse: Technological Gimmick or the Most Important Invention after Mobile?”. The event hosted Thomas Hutter, CEO of the advertising consultancy company Hutter Consult, and Dr. Margarethe Dopf, Chief Business Development Officer at the digital tourism organization Speed U Up Suisse. Mark Forster, Chairman of Mobile Task Force at IAB Switzerland and founder of Adello and GeoCTRL, was a moderator of the event.

The event started with Mark’s presentation, where he gave a detailed explanation of what Metaverse is.

Then Thomas continued with his presentation. He shared the possible ways the Metaverse can be used and gave his recommendations to businesses on how to adapt it.

Further, in the conversation with Mark and Thomas, Margarethe explained her opinion on how the tourism industry can transform within the Metaverse. She claimed that by implementing the Metaverse in the tourism sector, we could contribute to the environment: “With the Metaverse, we can be traveling without putting a great ecological strain on nature”.

After discussion, the audience could ask the industry experts questions related to the Metaverse, its future, and possible challenges.

“Why do you think companies’ adoption of Web 1.0 and especially Web 2.0 was slow? This doesn’t bode well for Web 3.0 and Metaverse… is it just a lack of knowledge or could it be linked to the lack of demand/consumer needs?”

Thomas claimed that the adoption of users was never a problem. Indeed, the problem lies on the business side. “In this country, at least in Switzerland, we have some innovation problems due to luxury laziness.” - shared Thomas with his opinion.

He added that unlike in other countries, there is less pressure from the competitors in Switzerland. If businesses are more or less satisfied with their state, there is no urge to change anything unless there is a strong motivation for innovations. Another reason that Thomas shared is the deficiency of know-how on the market.

Mark added that at the same time, Switzerland has good preconditions, such as a fast Internet, 5G, low latency, cryptocurrency development, and many other factors. It means that Switzerland still has a potential for faster Web 3.0 adoption.

“Web 3.0 also focuses on the approach of decentralizing all data. Doesn’t this contradict data collection, evaluation, tracking practices?”

All the experts agreed that data collection in the era of Web 3.0 would be another challenge on the way to the Metaverse adoption. The new reality will offer new data collection methods. Since the Metaverse will be based on real-time technologies, it is possible that data will be processed in real-time correspondingly. The experts believe that the audience can govern their own data and decide what data to share and with whom in the future.

Metaverse Q&A

“When it comes to the Metaverse, I also think of immortality, which would also be a global need. Would it be possible, if the person dies, their avatar will continue living in the Metaverse without the VR glasses, sensors, and AI?”

Mark noticed that it is quite a philosophical, but at the same time, an interesting question. He shared that within the technology and meta-world development, digital immortality will be possible: “It could be that the avatar is populated with a digital mindset, which has been approved by a user.”

“Who is responsible for the content in the Metaverse? According to previous experiences, let’s say the system providers (such as Meta) only operate the platform to enable networking and self-expression but not the content. [...]”

The experts agreed that this question hadn’t been answered yet, even in the era of Web 2.0. In practice, technologies appear first, and then the users come across the issues of how to regulate them.

“The legal frames follow the technical possibilities with a delay of a couple of years,” - added Mark.

The inescapable truth is that there will be certain risks for the platforms that provide self-expression. However, for the moment, the answer remains open for discussion.

“How do you see the possible negative effects from the filter bubble that can also be transferred to the Metaverse and can thus also be significantly controlled?”

Mark, Margarethe, and Thomas concurred that the filter bubble exists everywhere in the Webspace. It doesn’t matter what platform is used, there is always a risk of being locked inside the filter bubble. It is mainly the responsibility of the publisher side who produces the content. In fact, the problem of filter bubbles will be another challenge in the Metaverse.

“How will journalism be involved in the Metaverse? What role could the journalists play in the Metaverse and what dangers and challenges do they entail?”

Mark stated that Metaverse will be another platform where journalists can repost, which could significantly impact journalism in general. Thomas said that journalism in general still has certain challenges in the real world that will be transferred to Metaverse. Margarethe mentioned that there might be an escalating problem of fake news appearing in Metaverse.

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