The Metaverse might be bigger than we thought. A company you have probably never heard of is going to make you immortal.
Somnium Space is one of the many versions of the Metaverse that have sprouted up in recent years.
Unlike many of its competitors, Somnium Space is not trying compromising solutions with browsers etc.
Its Metaverse is already compatible with virtual reality headsets, allowing for an immersive 3D experience. But that is not the killer feature of the Somnium Space.
What makes Somnium Space unique is something called ‘Live Forever mode’. It allows users to have their movements and conversations stored as data, then duplicated as an avatar that moves, talks, and sounds just like the original.
Avatar can of course continue to do so long after the original has died.
Basically, people will be able to talk to their dead loved one whenever they wish.
Much like Man of Steel, if you remember. The young Superman was still able to be mentored by his dead father, played by Russel Crowe, with the help of some magical technology that could fit on a thumb drive.
Sounds like pure Sci-Fi. But it is not.
It is a project that is being developed right now and is in early stages of testing. The Metaverse might make you immortal someday.
Could the Metaverse make you immortal?
Somnium Space was founded by Artur Sychov, a programmer whose father had died because of cancer a few years ago.
“It kind of hit me that the time I had with him was limited,” Sychov told in his interview to Vice.
At the time, Sychov’s children were just a few years old, and it pained him to think that they might grow up without a memory of their grandfather.
He started to wonder if there was some way in which his children might be able to have a conversation with their grandfather, even after he was gone.
Metaverse and 3D technologies were a hint.
Sychov decided to develop a way to collect a person’s voice, movements etc. This data would allow to create avatar that would be able to impersonate the person.
“You will meet the person. And you would maybe for the first 10 minutes while talking to that person, you would not know that it’s actually AI. That’s the goal”, he says.
According to Sychov, these are the sort of potential innovations that make the Metaverse a new arena of human experience worth investing in.
Most people think the Metaverse is about selling NFTs, but it is going to be much deeper, he thinks.
Using virtual reality technologies Somnium Space can collect the way your fingers, mouth, eyes, and entire body move.
VR is already powerful enough to provide this level of data processing.
Sychov quotes a 2020 study published by Nature. It states that after less than five minutes of tracking people’s body motions, virtual reality technology could identify someone with 95 percent accuracy out of a group of 500 people.
How could you become immortal in the Metaverse?
According to Sychov, Somnium Space invested in and partnered with Teslasuit, a company with no relation to Elon Musk that is developing a full-body haptic suit for VR.
The suit will allow those wearing it to receive electrical signals comparable to human touch. It will also be equipped with a medical grade biometric scanner. The latter will collect cardio and stress levels.
Thus the system will be able to learn the way you speak and sound. More details about the technology will be available soon.
“We can take this data and apply AI to it and recreate you as an avatar on your land parcel or inside your NFT world, and people will be able to come and talk to you,” Sychov explained.
Those willing to participate will have to pay and take part in the ‘Live Forever’ mode in the Somnium Space version of the Metaverse.
It is going to be launched later this year.
First avatars will be hopefully available in 2023. No more details are available at the time of writing.
Is this secure? How about your privacy?
A typical – and quite reasonable – concern in such cases would be your privacy.
What could the third party do with such detailed data about you, your movements, voice and even heartbeat?Somnium Space is ready to answer the sensitive questions.
Sychov agrees that too much personal data in one hand could raise concerns. He points that as the reason why it is scary to have Facebook – now, Meta – as the leading metaverse.
But Somnium Space doesn’t make money by selling people’s data to advertisers.
Its Metaverse is going to be a decentralized world.
“We don’t want to know your name. We don’t care about who you are”, he says.
The ‘Live Forever’ mode will be off by default.
Somnium Space will not collect data on anyone unless they opt to pay for it.
As for the price, the company is going to make it as affordable as possible for early adopters. The first price is about $50 for a year. Not so much for a Metaverse to make you immortal, right?
And the ‘Live Forever’ mode will never be completely free. That is because of the intensive costs of data storage. We will have to wait until 2023 to see what avatars will actually look like. But if Sychov succeeds we might finally see the Metaverse as something bigger than just another way of selling you ads.
Our beloved people living forever in virtual worlds is something really breathtaking, isn’t it?