Our Next Reality
How the AI-powered Metaverse Will Reshape the World
by Alvin Wang Graylin; Louis Rosenberg
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Pub Date 06 Jun 2024 | Archive Date Not set
Nicholas Brealey US, Nicholas Brealey Publishing
"Our Next Reality does a fantastic job of giving a balanced and insightful analysis to some of the most pressing questions our society will face in the near future. The material is data driven, digestible, and very actionable." RAY KURZWEIL, Author/Entrepreneur/Futurist
"A wide-reaching exploration of the intersections between AI, VR and AR: it's a mind-opener, and a source of reflection on how transformative and still unknown the future of communication, personal technology and even personal privacy might become." SCOTT STEIN, Editor at Large, CNET
Over the last 100 years, technology has changed our world. Over the next decade it will transform our reality.
We are entering a new technological age in which artificial intelligence and immersive media will transform society at all levels, mediating our lives by altering what we see, hear, and experience. Powered by immersive eyewear and driven by interactive AI agents, this new age of computing has the potential to make our world a magical place where the boundaries between the real and the virtual, the human and the artificial, rapidly fade away. If managed well, this could unleash a new age of abundance. If managed poorly, this technological revolution could easily go astray, deeply compromising our privacy, autonomy, agency, and even our humanity.
In Our Next Reality, two industry veterans provide a data-driven debate on whether the new world we're creating will be a technological utopia or an AI-powered dystopia and give guidance on how to aim for the best future we can. With a Foreword by renowned author Neal Stephenson and section contributions from industry thought-leaders such as Peter H. Diamandis, Tom Furness, Phillip Rosedale, Tony Parisi, Avi Bar Zeev and Walter Parkes, this book answers over a dozen of the most pressing questions we face as artificial intelligence and spatial computing accelerates the digitization of our world. Find out why our actions in the next decade could determine the trajectory of our species for countless millennia.
"For anyone who wants to use AI and XR to help build the future, read this book to help you skillfully navigate a future of unprecedented danger and promise." JASON HINER, Editor in Chief, ZDNet
"Our Next Reality really is a must-read for anyone who wants to prepare for the massive AI and XR driven disruption coming our way." CHARLIE FINK, Author | Adjunct | Forbes Tech Columnist
"Our Next Reality breaks new ground by exploring both good and bad possible outcomes of widespread deployment of an AI-powered Metaverse." - Neal Stephenson (Best-Selling Author)
"Finally, AI has the potential to transform VR and AI, making it essential across all human endeavors. This book brings clarity to why this really matters." - Peter H. Diamandis (Best-Selling Author/Entrepreneur)
"Today, hundreds of millions of people spend most of their waking hours in a world of digital content. Tomorrow, they'll be in an immersive metaverse. Graylin and Rosenberg draw on their deep expertise to explain how this will transform business, culture, education, economics, and the human condition itself. If you want to understand the future ahead of us, you need to read this book." - Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab and co-author of The Second Machine Age
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
This book was more difficult to read than I expected, in a good way. This book is written by two people, both of which share different thoughts in relation to the upcoming digital revolution. Alvin takes the role of an optimist, he believes that the best outcomes are likely to occur and Lous who is more critical and strict about the future. The common ground however, is that both of them believe that the coming revolution will benefit humanity under the right circumstances and we should be excited for it!
The book is divided in to 13 chapters, where both Alvin and Louis are giving their views on the presented topic. The topics are very diverse, looking at psychological impact, sociological impact, specific industries to watch out for, especially the medical industry, politics and the past and the future of technology. The wide range of topics and technical terms used makes this book a tough read compared to some other non-fiction books, it provides a lot of data, images/graphs and scientific feedback to back their arguments. In any case, I'd recommend anyone intersted in the topic to read this book. Now let's dive a bit deeper into some specifics of the contents that I want to address.
The most interesting discovery for me was the sheer amount of inherent benefits that VR has in terms of less-detrimental eyesight compared to 2D screens, better education, increased concentration and improved communication. This could be a huge factor towards self-improvement as a human being.
These improvements are of course balanced out by possible side-effects, like increased addiction, easier manipulation by AI / companies, etc.
Next I want to visit an assertion that does not seem to be completely true based on the latest scientific results in generative AI. I quote:
"This will get worse over time, as AI systems trained on copies of human culture will also fill the world with new artefacts, causing next generation systems to train on copies of copies, and so on. THis could distort and dilute the human aspects of our culture. It could also break AI systems, causing them to produce worse and worse artefacts over time, like making a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy." (Louis Chapter 7)
I wholeheartedly agree with the first part, where AI may distort human culture due to the immense generative capabilities. However, various research papers and companies have shown that Ai trained on synthetic data, i.e. data generated by AI, generate better results. This would contradict the assertion that AI would produce worse artefacts over time. Now this doesn't mean that, if you feed them synthetic data indefinitely, it may get distorted, but there has been no proof of that, at least right now.
The use of synthetic data is extremely recent, so it might be the authors wrote it before it was considered good to use.
In any case, the final goal, at least, final in the sense of what we're looking to achieve at the end or during the revolution, is a system of abundance, which is called abundanism in the book. It's the next step after capitalism, and while the main point is that we'll have an abundance of resources to work with, it also includes political aspects, like an AI sentient being (Philosopher King) ruling or making important decisions for the human race with less bias, and various other things. I believe we're certainly headed towards abundance or abundanism, if you'd prefer that, though I believe that the lack of knowledge we have about algorithms, neural networks, how AI works in general, blockchain, how the metaverse will play out, etc. makes it impossible now to actually formulate a good economical or societal ideology that could replace capitalism, even if we already know that it's going to happen.
Anyhow, I enjoyed reading this book, both authors resonated with me quite well. I'm embarrassed to admit that I might be part of the somewhat radical accelerationists and the optimism that Alvin is fueling me with is dragging me more towards that direction. My main concern is how we can stimulate people to self-improve in a post-AGI world, mostly since I like learning and it seems that white-collars are going to get replaced first.... I always thought about a lot of gamification, to use the competitive nature of humans and separate them from robots to continue to be able to get the most out of them, maybe in a much more gamified world than we live in right now. So it was nice to read that Louis actually has a company, that focusses on the improvement of humans in an AI world, called Unanimous AI, which wa s soothing to me.
Not to mention that the authors weren't antagonistic towards China, which unfortunately is often the case lately.... This makes the book a lot less biased.
The book has some funny spelling mistakes, like "San Morino".
I'm hoping to read more books written by them in the future!
Interesting and insightful read. Subject matter attracted me to read this book, Subject content was thoughtfully explored and well written.
This book was very technical. and delves to the subject. of artificial intelligence. This book covers artifical intelligence such as how it affects our society, our work and how we deal with the World. I recommend this book for readers who want learn about artificial intelligence and how it can affect us.