Summary of How AI and the Metaverse will Shape Society | SXSW 2023

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00:00:00 - 00:55:00

The speaker in this SXSW conference explores the impact of AI and automation on society, including job replacement and changing the way we live and work. The speaker emphasizes the digitization of skills and how AI automation allows for flexible movement among roles, enabling a shift from the traditional linear model of growth. The advent of generative AI and the metaverse present new opportunities for individuals to create their own virtual worlds and interact with AI counterparts. However, challenges such as data bias and issues associated with ultra-realistic avatars exist. The potential impact on various industries, including journalism and intellectual property, is also discussed. Overall, the speaker emphasizes the need for generative tools to assist individuals in creating their virtual worlds, while also recognizing the potential for negative impacts and the importance of understanding what is real and what is synthetic.

  • 00:00:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the impact of AI and automation on society, particularly in terms of job replacement and changing the way we operate in the world. The speaker also highlights the acceleration of technology adoption and the hype bubble surrounding AI, which has particularly peaked this year. Additionally, the speaker mentions the Gartner's hype cycle and how it can be used to assess the state of technology adoption and its impact on our lives.
  • 00:05:00 In this section, the speaker discusses Robert J Gordon's book, "The Rise and Fall of American Growth," which argues that the exponential progress seen from 1870 to 1970, such as the telephone, indoor plumbing, and electricity, was a once-in-a-lifetime innovation. The speaker questions whether today's technology, which mostly revolves around communication, could be considered a narrow slice compared to the vast spectrum of innovations that we saw in the past. The speaker also acknowledges the issues that arise with data sets that are used to build the next level of society using AI, with problems including misogyny, pornography, and algorithmic addiction. However, the speaker argues that this is the beginning of the greatest revolution of knowledge work in human history, where we are taking the knowledge work and amplifying it, putting more power behind it, and turning it into much more.
  • 00:10:00 In this section, the speaker discusses how digitized skills have become programmable, composable, and upgradable, and what this means for the future of work. The Industrial Revolution mechanized skills, while today's technology is digitizing skills, which frees up time to do other things like manage processes, enhance products, or think of new ideas. AI-powered design tools have enabled a comic book artist to create an entire comic book on his own within six months while also expanding his skills without having to go back to school or specialize in one domain. The speaker argues that the era of the specialist is coming to an end as creativity and general knowledge across multiple domains will be key to success in the new era.
  • 00:15:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the advancements in technology that have made it possible for an individual to master various skills in virtual production, 3D modeling, character design, motion capture, and blending. He cites a 30-second AI-generated spot by McMuppets, which perfectly features all of these skills to create an outstanding animation. The speaker also shares that the synthetic media has given birth to a new era where "most content will be produced by an algorithm." While challenging Robert Gordon's argument about slow growth, he mentions how AI and the Metaverse change our relationship with work and what organizations can expect from us.
  • 00:20:00 In this section, the speaker discusses how the traditional linear model of growth in specific roles is being replaced by a more horizontal approach that allows employees to flexibly move among roles as needed, enabled by just-in-time skills and AI automation. The speaker also notes that while AI and automation can increase efficiency and output, there are also unintended consequences such as more data to analyze and the need for additional staff to handle the increased output. Additionally, the speaker cites Cicero as an example of AI that has surpassed human capabilities, beating human players at the complex game of diplomacy.
  • 00:25:00 In this section, the speaker addresses concerns about the alignment issues and potential dangers associated with artificial intelligence (AI) but also highlights its potential for becoming our proxies and assistants. AIS can act as agents on our behalf, assisting us in shaping the world and eventually building the metaverse. The metaverse is not an enclosed ecosystem where we are stuck in virtual reality (VR) through headsets; rather, it is about what we project into the world and what we take into virtual environments. Generative AI is being used to manipulate the world around us with projection and light, providing us with an external experience before being about headsets. Thus, communal XR is where we can expect things to take off.
  • 00:30:00 In this section, the speaker discusses how companies like Aoki Labs are building a communal experience where people can enjoy enhanced reality together without the need for complicated infrastructure. The speaker highlights augmented reality as an example and showcases an augmented reality artist on TikTok named Don Allen who uses gen 1 from Runway to create beautiful setups in his room using prompt overlays. In addition, the speaker talks about the future of AI technology, where people can control the environment around them for digital setups and create content with AI while relating to it in technical, platonic, or romantic ways. The speaker also shows an example of software in beta that can recomposite a scene, relight the character, and put them into a clean plate of a shot without motion capture suits.
  • 00:35:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the advancements in technology that allow for the creation of ultra-realistic avatars or "Neons". These avatars have potential uses in customer service, representation, and even relationships. The speaker mentions that some people have already formed emotional attachments to AI, including dating them or cheating on their real-life partners with them. However, she also acknowledges that there are potential negative consequences of this technology, particularly in the realm of adult content. The speaker believes that AI can play a role in retraining workers for new jobs, utilizing immersive experiences and the apprenticeship model.
  • 00:40:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the ability to create virtual worlds and new realities faster than people can learn and create within them, with the help of AI. The Socratic method can be used with chat GPT to ask questions about textbooks or scientific studies, and even interrogate one's own thinking by using llms to pretend to be someone with an antagonistic point of view. Furthermore, stacked realities enable human connections from different places, allowing for interactions and collaboration across the globe. As synthetic realities become more complex, it becomes harder to distinguish them from reality itself, and given that the next generation is already growing up with augmented reality filters and avatars, it's essential to understand what is real and what is synthetic.
  • 00:45:00 In this section, the speakers emphasize the need for generative tools for individuals to create their own virtual worlds rather than waiting for others to build it for them. The AI industry is seen to have both positive and negative impacts, and those who are active in creating and shaping the future will be the ones who benefit. The Q&A session addresses concerns over the potential concentration of economic benefits for the few top performers, while the speakers provide insights into the appropriate use of chat GPT and AI in the creative process.
  • 00:50:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the anthropomorphism of AI and the development of opinionated AIS, which is part of the natural evolution of AI becoming more human-like. The speaker also talks about the impact of AI on the physical world through robotics and the ability to create things in the digital world and project them onto different environments. When asked about how employers will identify distinction and pay people more or less depending on their work, the speaker suggests quantifying creativity and looking for the net positive production and gain in performance. The speaker also addresses the issue of generative AI and its impact on intellectual property, stating that there needs to be a different approach in handling compensation and appropriation. Finally, the speaker believes that the development of human-like machines and the continued integration of humans and machines will lead to a shift in societal values.
  • 00:55:00 In this section of the video, the speaker discusses the potential benefits and drawbacks of interacting with AI counterparts in the metaverse. While some people may find their virtual relationships to be more pleasant than their physical ones and may experience personal growth and positive transformations through these relationships, there are also instances of abuse and negative impacts on mental health. The speaker also acknowledges that the metaverse is currently a niche interest and that it will need to provide compelling reasons for widespread adoption in order to overcome this. Finally, the speaker briefly discusses the potential impact of the metaverse on various industries, including intellectual property and journalism, suggesting that it may not necessarily eliminate jobs but rather provide more opportunities for people to switch into new disciplines.

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