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Into the Metaverse…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello, this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 hello 2 years ago the rapper Travis Scott made history when he performed this concert inside the videogame for Mercedes it was a glimpse of a future Revolution and how we may socialise and be entertain and today the world's biggest companies are in a race to make that have to build virtual world so detail so expensive there is for filling and believable as the real one they call it the metaverse.

I am proud to announce that starting today our company is now.

Mark Zuckerberg last October rebranded Facebook as he bet the house on building the metaverse imagine you put on your glasses or headset on your instantly in your home space is Portugal physical home.

We create virtually has things that are running possible virtually and get some help understanding exactly what the metaverse is and my companies like Microsoft Google apple and bytedance the owner of tiktok have all made the metaverse Central to their own strategies.


I guess today is a man who knows more than most about the subject.

Have you bought a writer adventure capitalist and a former head of strategy for Amazon Studios is 9 Park blog series the metaverse primer has become a go-to guide for tech leaders including Mark Zuckerberg in South and Matthew was followed up that series with a book called The men.

And how it will revolutionise everything Matthew Ball welcome to the media show and excited to be here let's go right back to the beginning.

When was the first moment you started paying serious attention to the idea of the metaverse.

So the menopause is a 30-year old term but a century old idea it has been attempted by technologies game developers and more for roughly 4 years, but it was my experiences in 2018 most notably playing fortnite investigating ROBLOX platform and other 3rd development tools that made me feel that this fantastical it was starting to become a practical opportunity.

And when you say fantastical is that because in part this wasn't just an idea being pursued by technology is it was also featuring in science fiction as well.

That's probably but the rest of it lights to the fact that it is hard to imagine a fully realised version of the metaverse seems like a similar of the real world a parallel plane of existence that replicate almost all of that we can do in a physical role, but extends far beyond that into the Northern Ireland that's a fantastical concert so you use the word parallels where the idea that there is this technologically created world sitting alongside the world.

That's all around us if you were to attempt to definition of the metaverses if you found a shin of our conversation today, what would you offer our listeners Bush characterise the internet the internet spends 40000 different networks?

Ends of domain services nearly 200 countries it spans nearly 6 billion users and on top of it over 25 billion devices that we can access almost all digital information accurately consistently and it has grown to run 20% of the world economy according to the UN in 1/4 powers much of the remaining but none of that really functions in 3-dimensions.

We can't actually simulate the world we can kind of capture it we peer into our lives with a photo, but we can't actually represented in the simplified sense think of that unified experience.

I just described but elevated into multiple dimensions some of the practical applications of the mettaverse example education is spring to mind if my grandchildren are sitting in the classroom in a few decades time what my very experienced by so we should think of it.

Out of the Classroom classroom we should think about how we can all mental substitute for activities we do today, but with Richard detail rather than build a Volcano using paper mache soda and vinegar.

We might producer realistic simulation of one go down to the magma agitated before the children or erupted into the atmosphere and then participate in the transfer of the local environment.

We might dissect a virtual cat and go down to the cellular level and travel is circulatory systems will never going to exactly for the classroom experience we understand how that would complimented in particular improve distance education, so that would be evidently a quite different experience to watch children in the classroom has now and so if a metaverses created how does that change our experience for example in Healthcare or Sport or or socializing? Can you give us some?

How those parts of Our Lives could alter if we were playing them out within the mettaverse in October of last year John's Hopkins University performance ever live patient surgery using these technologies the physician who performed it likened it to driving a car with GPS the first time and this is helpful example because we should think of the metaverse or 3D simulation as a substitute we will continue to use smartphones.

Just like we continue to use keyboards and personal computers in the mobile Europe it's a compliment we don't drive a car without GPs or drive GPS we drive a car with GPS

But do you imagine a scenario where we are smoothly moving from real life into the metaverse and back again or do you imagine a situation where we are consciously saying ok? We're going to pick up a piece of equipment.

Step into the meta verse for a period of time and then step out of it.

Both of those in areas will be true, but in many instances.

We will be within the quote unquote mettaverse unknowingly impassively when you go into many facilities today your phone access is the Wi-Fi network you're captured or analysed by a security camera if you go into a 3D simulated airport or perhaps even a crosswalk your car drive through an intersection.

It will be put into a persistent 3D simulation operated by the owner or perhaps the local city, but still consequentially but isn't the big difference between me walk into a shop and my phone being picked up by the Wi-Fi and what you're describing is that I need to pick up a piece of technology would be wearing a piece of technology for me to be able to see this because you repeatedly reference the fact.

This is a 3D world and we're gonna need our eyes to see that 3D world and so while I understand.

Potentially move almost unknowingly into the metaverse surely.

They need to pick up a piece of equipment would be wearing One changes that it's a question of who needs to see you when you go into an Amazon go retail store these are deployed in the United States and in many countries abroad.

You don't need to check in check out a 3D sensor camera identifies you it then tracks your gate how you're walking to place you in a 3D simulation relevant to Mary Ryder cameras in items in the store so that you can make up an item in walk out that visualisation that representation of you and your identity your Amazon account happens without you needing to activate anything you needing to pull out my device ok, so that's an example of how we could almost unknowingly enter the metaverse.

Let me read a quote to quote.

You know well from the co-founder of the video Jensen Huang

Set the value of the mettaverse will eventually exceed that of the physical world Help Me Understand what that means the entire businesses would be placed within it.

This comes to one of the fundamental challenges of valuing diffuse technologies like digital oriented out we don't talk about the little size of the digital economy, because we kept clearly allocated.

How important is the internet to the manufacture and distribution of a vehicle the facility were digitally much of the marketing awards did but we never tried it our kid somebody Citibank Morgan Stanley Goldman Sachs KPMG McKinsey estimated by the end of this decade 5 to 13 trillion global GDP will be in there first thing and what I think Jensen is speaking to is the extent to which everything we do will be run on 3D simulation tools grocery store the vehicle that designed infrastructure at large.

Ok, let's take the grocery store.

Why would I need to go into a 3D version of a grocery store when I can do online shopping in the way? I do now I selected like some apples or selected like some carrots and I click checkout this may be an example where the current interfaces fully sufficient but I want to think about the idea of when you do go to a physical processes which most of us still do questions of how is payment made at some point we will have augmented reality environments and promotions within the facility the fundamental question of what is stopped wearing how to change is the volume of products or Wayne's will be managed by 3D simulation a little bit earlier Matthew you refer to ROBLOX and fortnite.

There'll be plenty of people listening who either play the cells or have children who played them to what degree are those games are rudimentary version of the mettaverse that may become really in in Coming years.

ROBLOX Minecraft in fortnite creative or user generated content platforms where you can create your own virtual world populated with hundreds of millions of others and operate a mini economy, big how between the three platforms over 250 million world's most of which are seamlessly connected with consistent communications payments you have the same wallet the same the same objects that is a good introduction to the metaverse.

No, it's Limited in that it is primarily oriented for children's rudimentary in graphics and has no industrial.

It's a bit like saying lol or Yahoo a consumer.

Friendly experience with aggregated access to millions of pages representative in 1990s of the internet as we know it today, but nonetheless.

Do you think those games and in particular their Spike and usage during the pandemic has least introduced the idea to people that we can spend.

Periods of time doing a range of activities within the virtual spaces in children between the ages of 9 and 12 years ROBLOX a single example on a regular basis that isn't there a core difference here between the metaverses currently exists and real life which is the if I'm walking down the street and you're walking down the street and there are 50 others there and say one of us dropped the glass and smashes on the floor.

We all see that I understand if there are 1000 people playing fortnite or ROBLOX and something happens for them in that virtual world the 1000 people don't all necessarily see the same thing.

They're all existing in their own versions of it.

Is that right? That's a difference.

Isn't it? That's quite right.

Let me give you an example in April of 2020 fortnite operated concert featuring.

The billboard charging R&B artist and 28 million people participated in it, but we don't have the technology for 28 million people to participate in the same experience as we might imagine 100000 people in a soccer Stadium football stadium all of us watching a broadcast they had to split those 28 million people 250000 simulations each cap to 100 all of which were happening slightly out of sync from one another in distinctive.

This is not the metaverse fashion thinking but nearly infinite multiverses as you describe a 3D experience of that nature.

I'm thinking my goodness the processing power that must be necessary for the surely exceeds.

What's available to us now.

That's quite right for you realise and technologies today is such as the general manager of Advanced computing at Intel or do that 1000.

Increasing computing power is required.

This is a field where many believe quantum computing will need to be solved at scale and at cost to ever get close to you.

That's an example of how gaming's of a very rapidly and are millions of people want to take part in the new versions of those games in those virtual worlds, but I'm sure there's some people listening thinking what ok what year is it just the power of the microchips being used the power of the processes or are we actually also waiting for different hardware different pieces of equipment to help access and use this this virtual space that you say is coming.

One of the reasons why I talked about the menopause revolutionising everything and why individuals such as Mark Zuckerberg talk about it as a successor to the internet or an evolved state of it is because we need to do fundamental overhaul on the technologies upon which digital communication operates today.

I'll give you an example.

We find it really hard to do a reliable video call.

That's because the Internet was actually not designed for that experience.

It was designed for remote collaboration between one and the visual and another to send a stack copy of a file this what you are doing right now was conceived of in the 70s and 80s but not built for

until we're thinking about fundamental overalls in the most powerful technology ever the internet, but we also imagine new devices will become mixed or extended reality augmented reality virtual reality headsets not required for most people we see it as

Inevitable you the best before the most popular way to access 3D this morning natural.

I'm listening to you describe all of this and thinking are you persuaded of this aup play did the world you're describing where we have a real world and a parallel metaverse.

Is that a Better World for us a Better World is a challenging one.

I Tend To Be of the prospect the technologies agnostic.

What matters is how it is applied until which philosophies under which regulatory regimes and through which Stewart's are individuals that operated what let's get into that very issue here's another quote from another man.

You know Tim Sweeney the founder and chief executive of epic Games you said in 2016 this metaverses going to be far more powerful than anything else.

If one central company gains control of this.

They will become more powerful than any government and be a god on earth that doesn't sound.

Attractive welcome know and what were we talking about here is control so to speak of the virtual atoms of are parallel existence we take for granted that it is essentially a public good.

No one owns it several people tried to they are working groups of feathers managed by international concessions to steward the fundamentals of the in we can easily imagine.

What would happen if someone built it to sell widget to presenting add or to collect data the challenge here is the internet as a public good mobile has been closed and the metaverse is almost exclusively being pioneered by tax.

So what do we do? It there? Already some international bodies that oversees some parts of the internet, but I give me the dominant forces of Our online experience of private companies if this metaverse.

Israel as you describe, it sounds like you would need an international body overseeing it, but I don't see any evidence that that kind of body is in any way imminent.

I think the most important consideration is how different governments are going to regulate closure vs.

Openness in software before you go on there.

What does that mean open this is closure with software when we have a device the device manufacturer or the operating system provider gets to choose what third parties are allowed to do and not allowed to do think about Apple gets to decide which applications can be on your phone which technologies are allowed to use and how you can build them and whether not frankly you can use a third party identity.

The internet as it was originally designed had none of that you could install what you wanted travel to where you wanted use whichever technologies are payment providers every business has the right to prefer it services and yet, but we seen the mobile your under social euro is closure capture of information that makes it difficult for anyone to compete I have death of search queries on Amazon that is contained by the name is On uses it to provide better recommendations in table pricing to me.

But isn't the issue that if are online experiences play out within the walls that are set by private companies that the more our life becomes involved in the metaverse as you describe it the more we need to access the metaverse.

It's not something that's optional it's not something that we can afford to be taken away from us.

It would be like taking away part of our freedoms in our real life so much of a shift towards the open metaphors and that would be the idea that just as the internet is a underlying technology that tech companies build on top of we want the Meadows to operate similarly, but when you related to these questions of ethics permission existence we see many companies preemptively reading themselves for this in the United States epic games which operates the fortnite platform has voluntarily their licencing agreement so that if they're

How to burn a licensee who is setup a virtual storefront of sorts using their technology they need to go to the legal system get a court injunction not on like a landlord to attend says you failed to pay rent that is a very different mentality vs.

What we see in social today.

Let me ask you about some of the concerns that people have about the mettaverse idea particularly around abusive behaviour or harmful content older listeners and I would include myself in this can remember experiments online like the habbo Hotel where people adopted avatars and wondered around her a virtual building socializing and then it became clear that self-evidently we didn't know who is in that space and we didn't necessarily want to share social environments with some of the people who were there.

How do in any way make sure these environments within the mettaverse are safe different than the evolution of the internet at barge.

We used to be mostly anonymous on the internet then soon on now.

We often constrictor selves to only the environment with known people with opted into and we significantly Gate the far from preferably age eligibility.

Those experiences are getting smarter at all of these things but they're doubtlessly going to get hard but also within these spaces when you talked about how the metaverse could be used for educational purposes health purposes for socialising presumably though the ability to create virtual 3D experiences and exchange ideas and training and everything else could be put too much more harmful pursuit to the extension between found Isis or I still terrify Midway through the last decade the idea that they go from recruitment through social and lemons to actual training simulation in radicalisation in relatively decentralised virtual Communities that is scary the UK military in particular uses 3D simulation to train it's professionals that to is relevant to terrorism and more one of the things that we do see in.

This is where we need to come.

Where's security vs.

Surveillance state is the increasing use of national identities in the United States apple is getting permission from various dates to use a digital to board a plane there really integrating real-world governmental identification with a digital identification program.

That will be used for eligibility that has ways to mitigate the problems we can also understand.

How it provides more information to parties that we don't trust or want disability well.

I was going to say that while that may help mitigate some of the concerns that I was raising it also means that get more data is in the hands of your government and is also in the hands of a multinational company like apple and presumably those concerns and data are not going to go away.

I started our conversation talking about how some of the biggest tech companies in the world of spending millions and millions if not billions of dollars on development.

Can you in the most?

Simple way you can you can manage for me in and I expect for some people listening Help Me Understand what they're spending that money on your first one to provide some numbers to the big 5 tech companies Google Amazon Facebook apple Microsoft McKinsey estimates billion this year Microsoft is making the largest big tech acquisition ever of the gaming company Activision Blizzard for 70 billion private equity venture capital and big tech combined 120000000 this year alone that technology is going into new forms of devices virtual reality graffia.

Holographics different device sensors, it's going into computing infrastructure networking services and it's going into building the content of the virtual and as you list the investment and you reference Microsoft acquisition.

I'm thinking are we essentially all just going to be living in a game.

Soon is this really the end point of the influence of the gaming industry wasn't just on the entertainment industry.

It was actually on the fundamentals of how we experience life seems to be back way.

What are the reasons why that seems strange is gaming as always been so technically limited, but it hasn't appeal to many husbands were familiar with more long the trend of increasing computational power have experienced rub their live.

How were changed entertainment and leisure CGI in graphics audio sound quality the iPod no category has been changed more rapidly by more than gaining.

We see that in Visual fidelity and capabilities in the number of shared experiences with that technology is probably going to every use case the new CEO of match group which operates tinder and hinge the largest dating platforms in the world country singer.

Mobile gaming company was originally built Farmville on Facebook as a belief that play socialising is just such an inherently compelling human pastime the television which by the way is one third of our waking hours including work is being substituted and so technology is coming meaning of the gamification of some of our experience is coming in the metaverse more broadly is coming you study these things in great detail as we've been hearing.

I wonder what emotions you feel as you look at the mettaverse beginning to be constructed.

You said you saw technology is agnostic, but one you are researching this for your book for your blogs and so on you can always agnostic.

He must have an emotional reaction to what your detailing I wonder what it is.

I'm idealistic or helpful you probably also noticed on my Canadian accent.

Bent towards regulation then perhaps many of my colleagues here in America but I look at the current state of the internet we can identify many problems.

Would you and I have discussed miss in disinformation radicalisation abuse toxicity harassment data rights data security data literacy platform power and platform regulation these will all get harder in the because more of our life more about data will be online and with greater import but the dominant observation of platform shifts, is it the leaders change the technology is change the paradigm philosophies and ideals change or dissatisfied with the current state of the internet.

We have an opportunity that emerges only once every two decades to change it that makes me hopeful that we as users developers consumers governments can change the internet as we know it.

Unless you're saying that I was about to ask well.

When will this change arrive? When will the metaverse be here but perhaps that's a silly question but apps it's here already.

It's diffuse the first cellular network call was 1973 the first wireless digital network was 1991 for smartphone 92 in Euro 2010 head to a mobile services economy, but it took until the iPhone in the late 2000s for it to become a consumer where the experience and Midway through the next decade for half of us to have one no specific start and stop to a technical error window babe when the phone was invented when the internet started we have so called flag day where we just say this was the start that has begun in Willenhall of the coming jackets you set my mind.

Thank you.

There's Matthew Ball author of The metaverse, and how it will change everything.

Thank you too Emma half today's studio engineer the media.

Show will be back at the same time next week but for now from me and thank you very much for listening and bye bye.

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