20 Oct 2022

Metaquette #VirtualArt #Virtualcraft #MachineMade #AI #Midjourney #DALLE Q22

Tips & tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with...... Pooky Amsterdam

We are on the cusp of turning over greater and greater art creation to AI: from illustration to million dollar NFT images, the latter generated using different algorithms, instead of hand skills. It's everywhere. Humans have created works of art with their hands for hundreds of thousands of years, using craft to enrich and enliven our environs with materials we choose to work with to make beautiful things. While the electronic medium is not quite paint, thread or glass beads, it is profound enough to allow all who use it a chance to hone their skills in their chosen areas of computercraft.

Q: With so much being created in The Metaverse with AI, will people still make things with their hands?

Craft is an intimate working overtime in a medium which improves on the quality of what is being made. Computercraft uses hand skills, just not the ones we know of traditionally, but it is a craft.

Craft-making has emerged and surged in the past after mechanical movements such as the machine age at the turn of the last Century, saw Gustav Stickley and the emerging of American Arts & Crafts.

And more recently there's been a wave of crafted works which loom large in their totality of environment, such as Liza Lou's Kitchen  and her beaded works, Kate Jenkins knitted food  and new terms like Indie Folk which describe colab crafts of art. Work done by the human hand contains the lifeblood of whose fingers gave rise to it, intricate, repetitive, exacting and overtime, with memory of its own.

We have been developing tools to create, more and more with greater and greater ability but this turns pixels into masterpieces. Though they may not exist in the physical world, a great amount of attention and handwork goes into creating not only the computer programs, but the works of art they create with Mid-Journey, DALL-E or Imagen

Witnessing a watershed moment with the rise of AI and machine-learning we can generate multiple images which are visually impressive and emotionally convincing with increasingly fewer dollars as the machine does the work, it's just our prompts which need better crafting. We are still learning how to talk to the machine. This is such a big field for investment now that is raising billions, AI artists are a niche in VC funding.

We live in a maker economy, and creators are amongst the most important folks in The Metaverse right now, as they or we, are the ones who are bringing the virtual goods in to buy and sell. For example, with a GDP economy of $600M Second Life as a Metaverse understands how important items crafted for the end users are. And important not just as the commerce of a platform, but for reasons people want to go there and stay.

I recall doing some artwork in GIMP recently, having to erase a fairly intricate shadow, and loved the repetitive but careful way my hand needed to eliminate something on the screen. Computer work is handwork, it is just of a different nature, and perhaps the prompts it gives us also help with imagining alternatives for more traditional items in ever more fantastic ways. It can inspire us in ways we could not imagine before, just as painters and artisans have for thousands of years. 

The use of the mouse or an algorithm as a tool, or a knitting needle, takes hands to create. Our digits, or vocal prompts are utilized so that over time the work we do gets better. 

The computer is another tool, we humans are the ones who can choose how we spend a lifetime improving our skills in any of a variety of areas and disciplines. AI will not change that, our motivation still comes from within, and the Metaverse can inspire us by showing so many facets of this technology, from start-ups presenting in the Metaverse, to Beautiful NFT artwork being shown there, that we will be inspired by these new tools.

We are so creative and determined a species that we can even create "mind children" who can wholly function, create on their own and tell us about it, as this surprisingly intricate and articulate robot artist does named Ai-Da.

"One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men, no machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." So said Elbert Hubbard, the renowned founder of  the Roycroft Artisan Community. What would he say about the extraordinary machines of today?

If you have a question, please email info@pookystudio.com with Metaquette in the subject and it will be answered!

12 Oct 2022

Metaquette #VirtualFiction #VirtualFact #VirtualScience #Avatars #Metaverse Q21

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with........Pooky Amsterdam

Peter Diamandis is the Founder of the ANA Avatar X prize which looks to develop avatars which can transcend their natural borders of screen to traverse distant geographic locations where they might be needed more. The $10 million Xprize will be given to an avatar system which feels real. This prize is to spur on development of avatars, avatar sentience and presence.  20 teams have already been selected to compete. 

Q21: Will The Metaverse lead to new scientific discoveries?

Years ago there was a $10 Million Qualcomm XPrize for a "Star-Trek like" medical tricorder.Would this have occurred without Star Trek itself? While I do not have a crystal ball for this answer, I do know that science fiction's new inventions inspire reality. Science Fiction has storytelling at its core, we both utilize these stories and the gadgets within them for templates of the future.

Those of us in The Metaverse must take on an avatar form in order to enter them, but we never leave our human presence behind, or rather we are all too human behind our avatars, bringing our personalities with us. The development of an avatar with a physical presence, does not necessarily entail an avatar who is nice to other avatars, in this brief there are no prompts which give points for creating a calm, loving or healing avatar. This is to deploy a human like presence when human presence isn't available or desirable, as in there aren't resources to sustain the human, when an avatar can take up less space. It's mind-bendingly futuristic, but could this prize be offered without The Metaverse having come first?

Writers of Science Fiction, are Writers of the Future, Neal Stephenson is someone whose "Snowcrash" not only inspired Second Life, but who has now stepped forward to be apart of a new creation of his own Metaverse. Here is a link to the white paper he just dropped on his THEEE metaverse which is coming on the Lamina1 blockchain, an open framework for all. What a powerful moment of time this must be for him, to have written a book and be able to create what he wrote about 30 years later. Just as young Star Trek fans were greatly influenced by what they saw on the weekly TV show, here is a crossover effect for science, fiction and fact.

Pointedly, storytelling is more than entertainment, it is free imagining which leads to actualization, as it carries an audience along, allows that audience to dream with the writer, and even continue that writing onto other forms. Traditional media told us a story in Movie, or TV format where we used to watch passively. Video games allow us to play within the games story, within the first week of its release,  Star Wars: The Old Republic recorded  60 million in-game hours played (which is roughly equivalent to watching all 6 Star Wars movies over 4 million times). And 3 years ago this month SWTOR was closing in on a billion dollars of lifetime revenue, making it an incredible return on it's original $200 million dollar budget. This narrative structure is somewhat tightly drawn, and the players are forced to work within the game designers story, but the title inspires many who wish to keep the franchise alive at all times.

Surely these players use the available assets and create their own interpretations of the future they are playing a part in. The Imperial Agent in SWTOR will have to acquire new skills and equipment to help them combat the ever growing threat to the Empire, they have to think fast and deploy as fast as they can. This is no leisurely adventure: action and reflexes are the demands of this kind of game. The player is involved with the technology in new and highly immersive ways, but the scope of the story does not depend on the Players originality, but on their ability to work the buttons.

The question becomes: Do you play someone else's story? Or do you organize your own? The billions of dollars of investment in The Metaverse wait and see on that. The Metaverse member becomes their own story participant so the narrative they are living will be taken to another level through immersion. The authenticity of that story though becomes irrefutable and becomes entwined with who you are when it's something you are living, not playing, not waiting for the next game prompt, but originating yourself. So the question is: Is there more money in playing somebody's else life or one's own?

In The Metaverse, we can author our own new fiction, and our first person story becomes a multi-person story with whom we meet and with whom we form events of our virtual lives. There certainly is some Science Fiction roleplay in what we are doing in the Metaverse, not just with starbases and spaceships, but with customization of our avatars and authoring our events in far out formats. How enterprise will grow out of these storylines means new invention will occur within these virtual environments that help us stretch our imaginations and fantasy. And these ideas will be taken even further and form the seeds of a new reality, not only as it will be, but as it is now! While brands want a big place in that, the goal should be the experience we take with us and come back for. Monetization of user behaviors to enable selling of stuff, needs users to monitor and users need a fun and meaningful experience. 

While I am one person, and can think of a lot, I am only one person, with "you" there are twice as many ideas, and with a legion of folks enterprising and playing we can think of that much more. Stephenson does need creators, every Metaverse needs us as creators and should have a place for us. In the Hive Mind more can be produced. We are beyond merely suspending our belief, we are willingly putting ourselves into a new story of our virtual lives which will grow and evolve daily, and / or every time we log in. Second Life, which was inspired by SnowCrash, isn't just a game, the Metaverse is not just a game, even if you can play games within them. It is our life stories told against a virtual backdrop and yes, some of it is of our creation, just like on Earth itself. 

This living story we are telling one another is vital to the history of ourselves.  Being active participants in something we can experience beyond the "mere mortal-ness" of our daily and present lives. Powerful stuff. I do look to this Metaverse plane to create the new inventions, new discoveries because it is what we are doing in this new creator marketplace which will be setting the physical world in wonder within the next decade or so.

And The Metaverse is a kind of Thought Kitchen of the future as well. Not only is this a place for people to create their own stories, but also where actual scientists and educators are talking. This is the platform for the development of the future, as we can use full media within the environment, where we can invite scientists to sit across a virtual table, actual location unimportant. We can even use Wolfram Alpha on a prim to cross fertilize ideas in real time with no limits, follow up with 3D actualizations for all to investigate further and continue to build upon.

What we can invent, discover, uncover and realize in The Metaverse will make it the home of future thought leaders as we utilize not only real time interaction, video, film, etc for problem solving, but the even greater resources which are one another.

If you have a question, please email info@pookystudio.com with Metaquette in the subject line and it will be answered!

3 Oct 2022

Metaquette #VirtualCommunity #BuildingCommunity #Metaverse Q20

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with...Pooky Amsterdam

It is chance that makes us family, but choice that makes us friends. When we find others who like the same stuff as we do it can create a kind of clanship. We find things in common with others and form bonds, friendships. Sometimes they can be casual, or deeper, but our group, our community gives us strength, support and fun. Can we find this where we mainly see an avatar expression of who we are?

Q: How can I build Community in my new virtual hangout in The Metaverse?

As I look to Autumn and tidying up the garden, I noticed there are burrs which attach themselves to clothing. These burrs have multiple fuzzy and sticky sides to them, which allow an attachment point from any angle, and they immediately made me think about stickiness, which led me to think about community, and how we grow community.

It can be from just one singular attachment point, let's say you find someone else who loves a streaming series as you do and you bond over talking about the various characters and plot points. If you like their opinion on the show, then you might be open also to a recommendation they make on another series or even a new beverage or product. The one attachment point of the show can lead to others till you find you have formed multiple bonds, or multiple attachment points. If there are enough of them, this new person might even become part of your broader friendship group or community over time. If not then the friendship is limited as is the interaction on shared topics.

The Metaverse would love for people to be part of their community, and there are some which have tremendous ones already. There is a powerful community of educators on Roblox and Minecraft, there are Furry communities on VRChat, there are communities of people who have grown together over the years through the American Cancer Society Relay For Life on Second Life. Just because our identities are incorporating an avatar doesn't mean our predilections, preferences and tastes stop at our cartoon fingers. They don't and we will bring our likes, dislikes etc to wherever those fingers take us with whatever handheld devices we are holding.

The question is how to build community. And community is built around something beyond just existing on an earthly platform or one where the makeup of your persona and property are stored on the same servers. We share the experiences of being human, but are we bonded to all other humans? It is the same in The Metaverse. What makes for that bond? Those multiple attachments which define the meaning of friendship with one and others? 

Sometimes it is instant, sometimes it takes a long time and sometimes it doesn't happen. What The Metaverse does great is bring people together around a variety of reasons and then lets Fate pollinate.  People enter the same space and find themselves in a virtual destination with a complete stranger / strangers, they get to talking, maybe a bond is formed and the seeds of relationships begin. Forming groups within The Metaverse encourages the users to build community within them. Allowing the creation of groups can be a "Premium" offering too, and forms contracts with the users. It is a mutual investment and that can build a strong base for the future.

Last week it was announced that Walmart had opened a place in Roblox where all who entered could become Walmartians. Not really but they are keen on building their branded experience to "Create a new community of shoppers."  There are 230 million active members, and 40 million games. Aimed at a young demographic that reaches this market here, which is a good application.  I understand that meeting someone in the appliance aisle of Walmart would probably be more fun, colorful and interesting in Roblox, but will this extend to the kind virtual lunchroom moments which lead to building a community with friends? Because friends will keep someone coming back to a place to find them again.

Companies hope we buy their stuff and find that immediate gratification in a virtual world, until we want a new toy, and buy some new stuff. Shopping in the metaverse might be considered the "new toy" on the block. Unfortunately unhappy people make better consumers, and there is no market force  which supports emotional happiness perse, only the happiness you receive after your purchase is completed. If there was Freedom from Want let's face it the trillion dollar advertising industry would collapse. And I personally do not think that whoever dies with the biggest virtual inventory wins.  

We don't want freedom from play or freedom from friends and being a part of the Metaverse means you can find new friends and community. How many communities have spawned around playing games can't even be counted really, there are so many. It all comes down to not how much money we spend, but how much time we spend, because you can't buy friends ( yet, though I'm sure AI is working on that right now). One can only build community, build friends with the investment of time and energy which comes from a desire to know more about the community and the people. 

I had a great afternoon in Spatial hosted by Daniel van der Waals who runs a really happening group called Metaverse Explorers. He recently hosted a Music In The Metaverse event. Building community is something that Musicians, and I would think creative people want to be connected around, musicians want their music to be heard, artists want their artwork to be seen, and what better than having a group of folks following and even looking forward to your next great piece? Plus being able to access it anywhere, anytime and meeting others who dig the same thing too.

Sometimes digging the same too can create community for one group of people and calamity for others. This recent Wall Street Journal podcast part 2 on the early days of Second Life is chock full of this and there are lessons to be learned here for those building it so we will come.

We want to belong to community built around shared experience, but just like that burr with its multiple attachment points, the more ways "we" connect means the more ways we will "stick" together in The Metaverse.  There have to be multiple reasons for going there, staying there and building community with others, a community we want to keep alive and thriving.

If you have a question please email info@pookymedia.com with the subject of Metaquette, and it will be answered.