Last week we guffawed at the idea that the metaverse might be dead and as I scrape the bottom of the virtual platform barrel for new and exciting platforms to add to my weekly top ten I am starting to believe the hype. In what open universe do we force folks to sign up before they can go in? I’m thinking about doing a name and shame chart of the worst platforms based on users, aesthetic and data. What do you think?
Face it. This Sucks
Your interest in the metaverse is dwindling. That's not even a lie. That is an actual fact. So I think that the way that fashion and beauty is being played in the metaverse right now is L.A.Z.Y. We need better use cases than some weak ass experiences that leave your users with more questions than answers, so step forward Laneige which has amazingly ditched its sensory experience and decided to go directly for virtual shopping in the metaverse. Big mistake: huge. I think one of the big mistakes that beauty is making is assuming that because we can see it, we can be it and that is not exactly how all customer journeys happen. Inside most metaverses or within fashion/beauty metaverses there are only brand activations (because that’s where the money is), which obviously is why Metaverse Fashion Week sucked so badly. It was an obvious grift. What we should be doing is using this beloved metaverse space to create something intimate, sensory and personal rather than bland, shallow and empty. Avoid the Laneige thing if you can, it’s so spartan and boring that if this sets the precedent for Metaverse Beauty Week, the metaverse is in big trouble.
I’ve just written an obvious article for Metacrun.ch about AI. In it I explore what the general beef is with AI now that the battlelines have been drawn. But this story about a weight management AI chatbot seems to exemplify what I spent so long writing about. If we use ChatGPT for everything there's always going to be a problem with AI. Right now, there are a million problems with AI, especially ChatGPT-related bits and pieces for a couple of reasons. One: ChatGPT’s information generation only dates back to 2021. Two: we're putting too much of ourselves into it. We're asking for too much from the AI. It's just not ready yet to be able to do all of the things that we want it to do. So let’s use our brains for a bit and think this through. Chatbots have been around for a really long time, however chatbots and AI are absolutely nothing without humans. And that's what this article explained beautifully. It's awesome. But what would be better for health tech, femtech etc as a whole is having somebody to talk to that is human. In my experience of femtech and healthtech, AI is perfect for triage. Imagine what telehealth should be doing with chatbots for organisations such as the NHS? But what AI needs to do after triage is point the patient towards a human. Healthcare advisors in my experience are all human—except for in my novel from 2016, which no one has read anyway, so no one can be scared about.
Police Story 3 : Supercop
The Hong Kong Police has launched something called “Cyber Defender”. Oh gosh, whatever could this be? It sounds like a Golden Harvest Blu Ray special edition from 2002 narrated by Benny “the Jet” Urquidez. However, this is a metaverse platform to explore web3—with added “enlightenment”. The Cyber Security Bureau of the Hong Kong Police wants the public to know about the threats and opportunities linked with web3 and the metaverse to highlight awareness of new technology crimes. It also wanted to bring the general Hong Kong public a new experience. Well, to me this just basically sounds like a simple we're-going-to-educate-you-in-what-you-can-and-can't-do. Hong Kong has already prohibited banks from denying Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) and is diving deeper into central bank digital currencies (CBDC). The sensible parts of this are about gating the flood of digital crap which might overwhelm this financial hub—however, what this has to do with the public at large is unknown. As with Interpol’s metaverse, which, oh my god, no one in their right mind would descend upon unless they have a crime to report that they can’t report via the usual channels, this helps no one but the financial organisations. Enlightenment? Not yet.
How Did We Miss the Last 41?
Did you know that famous funk/disco/cool band CHIC was the first to name check Gucci in a song? Now you do. However, I don’t rate Gucci as a credible anything in the world of NFT fashion. Prada on the other hand? Assolutamente! Because Prada is on their 42nd NFT collection. Terminology aside, because I do not believe 1 x drop = 1 x collection, Prada has been working hard (bts) to bring er, Prada exclusives to its diehards. As you know, I believe that any NFT without utility is a massive grift and at the time of writing this I’m not entirely sure what the point of owning a Prada NFT is right now, except for collecting them all (the article says “another exclusive NFT”—but what's the point of that?) FYI disruption only works when it changes the status quo. So the mere mention of NFTs and H&M or Zara in this particular article is pointless if NFTs are not going to be acceptable use cases for sustainability—which they are not.
Not a day goes by where there isn’t some stupid graphic on AI. This time it’s about some (sounds like) really boring game based on the Turing Test. The Turing Test for anyone who doesnt know is a test for intelligence in a computer, requiring that a human being should be unable to distinguish the machine from another human being by using the replies to questions put to both. Le sigh. This test has somehow been gamified. For reasons unknown. It's pretty obvious to me that in the current state of how AI is being developed and innovated upon that there are two very different camps. There are the people who think that AI is going to steal our jobs and kill us all. And there are people who don't. More than 30% of people who played the boring online Turing Test game failed to tell the difference between a person and AI. So at least 60% of “players” could tell the diff. Which is over half. I'll get my coat.
Trash to Treasure
Alexis Ohanian believes that play-to-earn is the future standard for gaming—a collective yeaaaaaah from people like me who think play-to-earn is still relevant and is still a sensible development in financing the future. If no one's really figured out what the hell are good use cases for NFT, they sure as hell don’t know what play-to-earn will do. At a time when for a number of reasons, the metaverse has its detractors, and it's a very, very dirty word and at a when we’re in the throes of some weird cost of living/global recession/political inflation problem you know people are finding other more beneficial ways for them to earn money. Whenever I see an NFT or a Bitcoin story, it's always “this person” or “this collection has got $8 million worth of blah, blah, blah.” If virtual currencies are to be really believed and accepted, we should not be comparing Bitcoin with the US dollar or any other currency. If we keep doing this there’s no way that virtual currencies will ever become anything. According to Eurochange there are, as of 2023, 180 currencies in this world. Are we arrogant to believe that it will always be this way? If we don't start believing in the fact that there might be virtual or different currencies to the established currencies that we have in the world. There isn't a rule about this, there’s an SEC and an FCA, but there are also countries who are using other currencies and blockchain technologies. I digress. P2E has to be the standard for gaming because we have to do something with all that virtual currency and that our hard work and effort in games has to be comparable to something of value. Why not? The future is what we’ll make it.