For many years, the concept of the metaverse—a term used to describe the next evolution of the internet and a virtual world where people can socialize, work and play—has been merely a dream, or perhaps a vision, for technopreneurs.
This is understandable given that the development of a metaverse requires advancements in multiple technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), wearables, blockchain and cloud computing. However, with the progress made by tech companies in recent years, metaverses are on course to become a reality sooner rather than later.
Creating Happiness with the Translucia Metaverse
Over the past year, many large global companies—from tech giants such as Alphabet and Meta (formerly known as Facebook) to consumer products like Coca-Cola and Nike—have shown growing interest in metaverses.
But interest in metaverses is not only being generated by US-based corporations. Bangkok-headquartered T&B Media Global has also announced ambitious plans to develop its own metaverse. T&B Media Global Founder and CEO Dr. Jwanwat Ahriyavraromp calls the company’s creation Translucia: a metaverse designed to contribute to the society and economy by “transforming the way we live and experience life.”
Unlike other metaverses, however, Ahriyavraromp sees Translucia serving a greater purpose. “Like other metaverses, Translucia is an integration of advanced technologies, imagination and creativity. Unlike other metaverses, Translucia focuses on creating happiness, not only from external sources but also internally from one’s mind and body,” he says.
A Four-level Metaverse
The Translucia Metaverse, into which T&B Media Global is investing US$300 million (10 billion baht), will comprise four key levels: Central Translucia, Pillars of Nature, Nature’s True Home and Beyond Boundless.
According to Ahriyavraromp, Central Translucia—also known as the Central Hub of Limitless Opportunities—is a place where you can pursue various interests, and where dreams can become real. The Pillars of Nature comprises various fascinating ecosystems, including flora and fauna, to be explored and discovered, while in Nature’s True Home, users have access to a “hidden realm of nature’s wonders and enchantments” that, Ahriyavraromp says, is “a special world where you can choose your destiny as nature’s guardian.”
As for Beyond Boundless, Ahriyavraromp describes it as “a place where the mind and soul will find rest and be lifted by those we love and trust.”
At December’s Metaverse Unlimited, the first international forum organized by Translucia, metaverse experts from around the world agreed that there are endless possibilities in terms of how metaverses can benefit mankind.
Pat Pataranutaporn, Research Assistant and Ph.D. candidate at MIT Media Lab, believes technologies that enable the metaverse can help humans to stay healthier through closed-loop wearables. Humans are also able to make better decisions with human-AI symbiosis, and learn better with AI-generated characters, he adds.
Pataranutaporn also says that, by having wearables that are able to tap into the body’s biological information, visiting clinics and hospitals for health checkups may become a thing of the past, while wearable technologies capable of producing medicine within a person’s body are also a possibility. “Now, with the advancement in synthetic biology, we can have the capability to use bacteria cells in the body as a living medicine factory,” he says.
He also sees the metaverse playing another big role in Thailand, which is increasingly becoming an aging society. “With technologies that enable the metaverse, we can potentially live a healthier lifestyle, and even live longer. As you are aware, Thailand is becoming an aging society. So, we need to think of ways we can help those people and create society wisdom, so that we can empower the younger generation to create a better future,” he says.
Meanwhile, Cathy Hackl, Chief Metaverse Officer and CEO of the Futures Intelligence Group, says the fashion and entertainment industries have been showing interest in the metaverse, with Ariana Grande performing a concert on Fortnite, a popular multiplayer video game, and Nike acquiring RTFKT, a company that designs assets that are only available virtually.
“The metaverse presents itself as a realm of infinite possibilities and opportunities, like unexplored planets in outer space,” Hackl says.
Building a Better World
Although AI, which is a key building block for the metaverse, has its suites of benefits, including the advancement of healthcare, pharmaceuticals and education, Jeanne Lim, Co-Founder and CEO of Hong Kong-based beingAI, says humans are becoming “increasingly disconnected from the positive impacts of AI.”
She explains that the disconnection is partly due to fear of AI taking over from humanity and taking our jobs, as well as a distrust of the technology, for example deepfake videos.
“However, we do have a choice in how we design technology, and how we engage with technology,” says Lim. “If we want machines to understand us, understand our values, so that they can make better decisions for us, we have to engage with them. I believe that positive human-AI interactions can elevate the human experience.”
While technology is a key building block for the metaverse, Lim says she believes that the most important building block for the metaverse is human wisdom—after all, it is humans who will be designing the AIs.
“We have to start with human wisdom in order to put the rocks in the right place. Overall, this may be our last chance of building a better world. To me, the metaverse is not something we enter, it is something we build as a human race,” she says.
Creating Purpose and Legacy
Understanding that the metaverse and its related technologies can bring enormous benefits—and sometimes harm—to humankind, Ahriyavraromp believes it is vital for Translucia Metaverse to maintain its goal of creating happiness, both externally and from within.
“Translucia is driven by an engine that we envision will create goodness, prosperity, wellness and, ultimately, happiness. Translucia defines goodness as being good to others, to the world, and to yourself. By doing so, we at Translucia are changing the traditional definition of P&L—from profit and loss, to purpose and legacy.”
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