02-Feb-2022: Prof. Sivan at RT News discussing the Metaverse

RT – a global, round-the-clock news network of nine TV channels interviewed Prof. Yesha Sivan about what is the Metaverse? How the metaverse could impact the world and the future of technology?

Facebook’s announcement in October that it was further embracing the metaverse and rebranding itself as Meta set off a firestorm. While experts say the metaverse is still many years away, the explosion of the term has many asking, what is the metaverse? The metaverse aims to innovate the way people interact with each other on the internet, interacting in a way previously only thought possible in science fiction.

Transcript below the video.

Boom bust broadcasts RT News interview with Prof. Yesha Sivan

RT: Over the last year and a half, the term Metaverse has become somewhat of a buzzword in the Tech Sector, with major players ponying up big bucks to stake their claim in the socially connected virtual world of the future…

The idea has been around for decades in media, as the phrase was first used in the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, and more recently fleshed in the film Ready Player One, based on the novel by Ernest Cline…

Facebook found the idea so important that it changed its parent company’s name to Meta, while the largest retailer in the U.S. Walmart is making moves to step into the metaverse…

Obviously, the video game industry is best positioned to make a play in the space as well, with companies like Nvidia, Epic, and Unity software investing heavily in the Metaverse… And when Microsoft announced its blockbuster acquisition of Activision Blizzard they said it better positions them in the Metaverse…

But, the question still remains… What exactly is the Metaverse today, and where exactly is all of this going…

Joining us now to discuss Yesha Sivan, Founder, and CEO of i8 Ventures…

RT: Let’s start with that simple question… With this idea, having been around for quite a while…  What is the Metaverse at this point, is it anywhere close to that fully connected social world the way it was pitched?

Sivan: First, we need to understand that the vision of a person with some glasses in a virtual world — is JUST one vision. There are many ways to implement the metaverse.

In my mind, the metaverse can be defined as the factors of 3D3C

Let me elaborate:

Digital: A key force in the 21st-century that has become the #1 force for change.
Design: The idea that we can control the future by “wanting” and “forming.”
Development: The realization that we are all changing/moving at respective maturity levels.

And then the 3Cs…

Community: the people-oriented power to build, show, generate, and share.
Creation: The need and ability to create.
Commerce: Gaining monetary value from the above for long-term sustainability

RT: Who is going to govern the metaverse… As different platforms are established will it be run by the users who create their own sort of government, or is it going to be controlled and ruled by giant tech companies like Facebook?

Sivan: I assume that the model is going to be like the internet — with some parts strictly controlled by certain firms (think Google controlling Android) and some parts are managed by the public sector (think about domain names).

On the other hand, you may have some virtual worlds that are fully controlled by one firm like what we have with World Of Warcraft (now owned by Microsoft).

RT: We are seeing a lot of major corporations throw their money behind the idea of the metaverse, do you see all of this as legitimate, or are they just trying to have their names attached before it gets big so they can say they were there first?

Sivan: This is only neutral — the firms that are putting money into the metaverse want to have a bigger part of the new world. This only makes sense. This competition is good. Meta has changed its name, Microsoft has put it 70 B into a major player in gaming, and Nvidia is having its own vision as a core technology with its GPU, and we have not yet seen what Apple is proposing.

RT: With tech companies already making a living on collecting our data to sell it… Does the metaverse present huge privacy concerns?

Sivan: Privacy in the digital age is a very complex issue. On one hand, we want the firms to know more about us so they can solve our problems before we have them. On the other hand, who owns the data becomes an issue. Regulation will need to delve into it; we need new rules.

RT: Finally, with all of these things in mind, does this cycle of talk about a fully connected social virtual environment look like it will actually come to fruition, or are we still years away from that?

Sivan: I would say this is STILL an open question and this is why so much money is being poured into the metaverse. What is missing in my mind are 2 things: First — a good interface. We are looking for the Mouse of the metaverse. What we have now in the form of Meta’s Oculus is not good enough.
Second — we need to continue to work on standards — this is key. What led to the internet is a complex nexus of standards led by both governments, corporates, and the public sectors.
So to sum up — better interfaces, better standards.

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