‘AI Tools Will Provide Very Interesting Enhancements for the Metaverse’ — Upland Co-Founder

‘AI Tools Will Provide Very Interesting Enhancements for the Metaverse’ — Upland Co-Founder

According to Dirk Lueth, co-founder of the Upland Metaverse, the colonization of the metaverse by tech giants and the building of so-called “walled garden systems” is not sustainable. Lueth argues that instead of “locking users in,” the metaverse should usher in “a future where they are free to move between platforms and can easily take their assets and identity with them.”

‘Walled Garden Systems’ Not Sustainable

While interest in the metaverse has seemingly dissipated as evidenced by Meta’s decision to focus on artificial intelligence (AI), Dirk Lueth argues that AI tools can still “provide very interesting enhancements for the metaverse in general.” The Upland co-founder also told Bitcoin.com News what he thinks about “infinite land” metaverses and scarcity.

In an interview with Bitcoin.com News, Lueth also shared his thoughts about the multichain metaverse as well as his organization’s plans to create a metaverse super app. Below are the rest of the Upland Metaverse co-founder’s responses.

Bitcoin.com News (BCN): Neal Stephenson, who is said to have coined the term “metaverse” is known to advocate for a free and open metaverse. However, some say that tech giants are also working on their own metaverse projects that could potentially lead to them colonizing the metaverse and building walled gardens similar to the current Web2. Do you think the metaverse will eventually be controlled by a small number of centralized entities?

Dirk Lueth (DL): We don’t have all the details of how the big tech giants will build their metaverse projects and if they will lock their users into walled gardens. I believe that walled garden systems are not sustainable over time and that the power of the people, in combination with property rights, will be much stronger over time. This is also, by the way, why I co-founded, together with other decentralized projects, the open metaverse alliance for web3 (OM3). Instead of locking users in, we want to ensure that there is a future where they are free to move between platforms and can easily take their assets and identity with them.

BCN: The blockchain industry is multichain, and users would expect to have the freedom to move their assets to whatever chain they want. Do you think a multichain metaverse is a real possibility?

DL: Technically multi-chain standards could be possible already today. You can have some assets on one blockchain and other assets on another. What is more important is to have standards which define metadata, the look & feel and other characteristics of an asset. Once we have these standards, it will make it easy for users to move their assets around. And this is what we are working on at Upland and OMA3

BCN: What would you say are the different economic opportunities for entrepreneurs, developers, and the not-so-tech-savvy users in an ecosystem like that of Upland?

DL: Entrepreneurs or “Metapreneurs” are Uplanders who operate their own businesses in Upland called “Metaventure.” Here they can resell assets from our partners like FIFA, the NFLPA or other assets from Upland. Soon there will also be shops where they can sell their own creations to other players and make a living in Upland and potentially also in real life.

Developers are individuals or companies who provide their own experiences and apps to other Uplanders. One example is “World of Football” which allows Uplanders to play a Rocket League type of game that is directly connected to Upland. Users enter this app by moving their game piece to a virtual property, i.e. a virtual street address in Upland.

The not-so-tech-savy users onboard to Upland as described above. They can start buying and selling properties to other players with the objective of completing a collection like “king of the street.” Completing a collection means that they can increase the yield they earn for owning the properties. They can use these earnings to travel to another city or buy a race car or outdoor decor item. As you can see, it is easy to get started with very simple game engagement loops and then dive deeper into the many possibilities of Upland.

BCN: After having invested billions of dollars, Meta recently laid off over 10,000 people to shift its focus away from the metaverse to AI. In your opinion, why is it seemingly so difficult to build a metaverse that users find interesting, as Meta seems to have found?

DL: I can’t comment on Meta’s strategy and how much they have really shifted away from the metaverse. The truth is that AI tools will provide very interesting enhancements for the metaverse in general. At Upland, we are super focused on creating engagement points and utility of digital goods for our ecosystem of users, developers, designers and brand partners. So far this has proven to be working well for us making Upland one of the leading platforms for the metaverse. Can we get better? Of course, we’re only getting started.

BCN: Your metaverse is said to be mapped to real-world cities. Why did you choose to go this path when others have virtually limitless land assets, and what would be your advice to users buying land and other assets in the “infinite land” metaverses?

DL: Being based on the real world creates a natural scarcity, just like in real life. When something is scarce, market dynamics develop, which is the base of the real economy we’re building in Upland. But there are other advantages, for example, we automatically had reference points, users can look up what a property looks like in real life, and they can buy an address that in real life is maybe close to the ocean or owned by a celebrity. Through this, we empower our users to play with their own imagination.

I try to stay away from giving concrete strategy advice to Upland or other users. All I share with them is trying to understand the economic foundation of the land you’re buying and run scenarios in your head when supply increased indefinitely – which is something we’re avoiding at Upland.

Metaverse Super App

BCN: Let’s talk about the so-called metaverse super app. Sometimes when one thinks of a “super app,” Wechat or Telegram comes to mind. Does Upland envisage becoming the Wechat of the metaverse?

DL: In general, a super app can be characterized as a comprehensive mobile application that integrates fundamental services such as messaging and payments, as well as an array of third-party “mini-apps” spanning various sectors like retail, dining, and government agencies. This is especially true for the world of Web2 mobile apps. An app achieves super-app status when it seamlessly consolidates a critical mass of services, making it very easy for users to switch between them, even if the integrated services may not be as efficient as standalone applications.

As the number of available services grows, the app becomes more engaging and profitable. Typical for super apps is that they start somewhere. Wechat started with Chat, and Indonesia’s Gojek started with ride-hailing. Just like the Web2 predecessors, Upland wants to make it incredibly simple for users to work with a Web3 application. It is achieving that via multiple avenues.

First, Upland was built with mobile users in mind and is available on both the app stores and the web. Second, we’re obfuscating complicated blockchain technology by offering onboarding with email and passwords. And third, because we allow using credit cards, Paypal, (of course, also crypto) and in-app purchases, we make it even more convenient for the majority of players to engage.

In Upland, we offer a broad spectrum of social, commercial and entertainment services to our users. We also empower 3rd party developers to connect to our economy and community by adding their apps and experiences to the metaverse.

When you look at these features and services, you can see that we are indeed aiming to become a metaverse super app. But while Wechat and Web2 applications are driven and influenced by the owners of the platforms, we want to head in the direction of a user-controlled and user-owned metaverse super app – what Web3 is all about.

What are your thoughts about this interview? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Terence Zimwara

Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Source link

What is the Jedi Killer?

What is the Jedi Killer?

The Jedi Killer is a drawing of a three-barrelled gun that is intended to kill Jedi from Star Wars.

The gun is a drawing by Kmlkmljkl, a YouTuber who posts comedic clips.

He posted an MS Paint drawing of the gun on Reddit and got over 1.7k upvotes.

Jedi are a fictional organization of characters in the Star Wars universe who are highly skilled warriors.

They have mystical power of the Force, which includes telekenisis and mind control.

Jedi have lightsabers, which are powered by Kyber Crystals and can cut through nearly everything.

Jedi Killer

The original drawing contains a tripe-barreled gun named the “Jedi Killer”.

The Jedi in the drawing has a green light saber that deflected two bullets, but the third one hit him.

After the original drawing was posted, many users started making parodies of it.

Some users added more barrels to the gun while others added attachments.

Jedi meme

A user (Johnmarmalade on Reddit) drew one more lightsaber on the Jedi, which deflected the third bullet.

In addition, he cancelled the the word “Killer” from “Jedi Killer”.

Other users made drawings of the Jedi countering the gun.

However, most users made the gun more powerful.

Jedi Killer 2.0

A user (Al2theE_X on Reddit), added more barrels to the gun in the drawing.

This countered the Jedi’s second light saber as the other two bullets hit him.

He named the drawing “Jedi Killer 2.0”, which is an upgraded version of the gun.

The post got over 18k upvotes on Reddit.

Other edits of the drawing include the same gun, but with multiple barrels shaped like a stickman, the same gun with missles, and the same drawing, but with an FN P90.

These memes are categorized as “Exploitable memes” because people can easily make edits of it.

Further reading

What Does “Please Do Not the Cat” Mean?

Who is Zoe Barrie and the Seasoning Police?

What Does Iglooing Mean?

Source link

Clark buries S.C. with 41, carries Iowa into final

Clark buries S.C. with 41, carries Iowa into final

DALLAS — All season, it felt as if South Carolina was headed for an impending coronation. The Gamecocks dominated opponents with such ease, it seemed hard to envision how they would lose.

Not a team with this much size, depth, physicality and rebounding prowess. Not a team with Aliyah Boston, the projected No. 1 player in the upcoming WNBA draft if she declares. Not a team with Dawn Staley on the sideline, the coach who has made South Carolina the new standard-bearer.

Even headed into its Final Four matchup against Iowa and player of the year Caitlin Clark on Friday night, it felt so simple to say South Carolina would physically wear down the high-flying Hawkeyes and the most electrifying player in college basketball.

Then the game started, and the most infallible team in the country looked … fallible. Clark pushed the pace, driving into the lane untouched, making beautiful touch passes inside that her teammates easily dropped in the basket. She was the unquestioned star on the court, and South Carolina seemed helpless to keep up.

Even as the Gamecocks made runs to challenge Iowa, the Hawkeyes never seemed to lose their grip on the game. Boston played most of it in foul trouble, and Clark took center stage, dazzling with every move, her smooth shot moving the Hawkeyes closer and closer to the improbable.

When it was over, Iowa had defeated South Carolina 77-73, pulling off the biggest upset in the Final Four since 2017, when No. 1 UConn lost in overtime in the national semifinals to Mississippi State, snapping a 111-game winning streak. The team that beat Mississippi State to win the first national title in program history?

South Carolina.

There will be no repeating as national champions for the Gamecocks, no perfect season. Staley said Thursday that “the juice was in winning the national championship,” yet her team could not muster enough down the stretch to pull off the comeback win.

“I don’t think we felt pressure to win the game, we just didn’t perform,” Staley said. “And that hasn’t been us all season long.”

She added: “I’m pretty numb right now. I just want to make sure my players are OK. Some of them just played their last game in a Gamecock uniform. I want to make sure I’m there for them. I want to make sure their hearts aren’t hurting too bad.”

Clark finished with 41 points for the second straight NCAA tournament game, throwing her team on her back again, growing her legend all the same. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, she is the first player in NCAA tournament history with back-to-back 40-point games.

Now she gets a shot at a national championship the Gamecocks thought would be theirs. The Hawkeyes will play LSU for the championship on Sunday afternoon.

“We had nothing to lose. I have all the confidence in the world in this group, and they believe right back in me, and that’s all you need,” Clark said. “All we do is believe in one another and we love each other to death, and that’s what a true team is. If you want an example of a team, that’s what this is.”

South Carolina had not lost a game since the SEC tournament final against Kentucky in 2022, a crushing defeat that set the table for this magnificent run. Since then, the Gamecocks have become the standard-bearer in women’s college basketball, the measuring stick by which all others are judged.

Boston, Zia Cooke and Brea Beal elevated them further, as starters together since their freshman seasons in 2019, taking South Carolina to three straight Final Fours and unprecedented heights. It was Cooke who kept the Gamecocks in the game in the first half after Boston exited late in the first quarter in foul trouble.

Boston had zero points in the first half, a stunning stat line considering how dominant she has been throughout her career. Cooke directly blamed the officiating, and said Boston had to alter her game once she returned because she was fearful she would foul out.

“It definitely affects you because we need Aliyah’s points to win games,” Cooke said. “She wasn’t out there, and I saw her on the bench way too much, and it wasn’t her fault.”

Staley said Boston didn’t have the “freedom of movement” she is used to.

“Because of that, she was strapped, but we’ve done that to other people as well, so I guess we got a taste of our own medicine,” Staley said.

Clark, meanwhile, scored or assisted on 31 of Iowa’s 38 points in that opening half, showing once again just how worthy she was of winning player of the year honors this season.

Cooke played the entire first half and had 18 points. Somehow, South Carolina trailed by only one point at the break.

But even when Boston returned in the second half, South Carolina could not quite find the “juice.” Kamilla Cardoso was a consistent force inside, but every time the Gamecocks edged closer, Clark and Iowa had an answer.

With 21 seconds left and South Carolina trailing 73-71, the Gamecocks had one last chance to save their season. Clark missed a 3-point shot, and the best rebounding team in the nation failed to grab the rebound, a high statistical improbability, considering what the Gamecocks have done all season. McKenna Warnock grabbed it, and South Carolina had no choice but to foul. Iowa then closed the door on the Gamecocks’ perfect season.

“That was a long shot and a long rebound,” said Boston, who finished with eight points. “Those can be really hard just based on how hard that came off the backboard, and that shot ricocheted off the backboard. It was really high, and we just weren’t in the position to get it.”

Staley pointed to three straight possessions late in the game when her team turned the ball over, saying that had a direct impact on the outcome. Beal said she felt the team started pressing late in the game as time was ticking off the clock, especially since the Gamecocks had not been in a close game since an overtime win against Ole Miss on Feb. 19.

“When it gets so late into the game, you’re like, ‘We’ve got to do something,'” Beal said. “Now you’re kind of in panic mode because nobody wants to lose — especially at this point in the season. We’re definitely disappointed. It’s not easy to have your last game a loss and expecting more from your team.”

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Staley and her players looked stunned. Clark threw the ball up in the air as Iowa celebrated at midcourt. Cooke left the court in tears. Nobody on the South Carolina bench ever considered this would be the way the Gamecocks’ season would end. But sometimes, perfect seasons don’t get the perfect ending.

In the Gamecocks’ locker room afterward, there was a sense of resigned disbelief. Nobody cried. Rather, players respectfully answered questions with little emotion, perhaps finding it too difficult to process the way their season had just ended.

“I’ve been holding in a lot of emotions, just until we won,” Cooke said. “It was over quicker for me than I expected. I thought I would be here for two more days, and then I would be expected to cry then. I didn’t expect to cry with a loss.”

Source link

Sunak’s Successes Can’t Blot Out Tory Track Record in Office

Sunak’s Successes Can’t Blot Out Tory Track Record in Office

For all the British prime minister’s recent success, the division and failed policies of his Conservative Party weigh on his prospects at the ballot box.

Article content

(Bloomberg) —

Advertisement 2

Article content

Rishi Sunak’s recent run of success isn’t enough to turn around the electoral prospects of his ruling Conservative Party, his own aides fret.

Article content

The UK Prime Minister sees his performance in recent weeks as a taste of what he can achieve: the calm and capable delivery of policies from Brexit, the budget and immigration, to the Aukus defense pact, tackling anti-social behavior and nurturing energy security.

But however competent Sunak might appear, he’s saddled with a major disadvantage at the ballot box: The Tories’ record in government since 2010, presiding over unpopular austerity measures, a divisive national referendum and a failure to get a grip on issues that matter to ordinary Britons such as crime and health care. 

Advertisement 3

Article content

With local elections due in May and a national vote expected next year, it’s a view shared both by members of the main opposition Labour Party, and — surprisingly — allies  of Sunak. 

One person close to the prime minister said Sunak can perform as well as he likes, but still has to carry around the leaden weight of his party. Another said recent policy triumphs only served to put the Tories on track for a “good” defeat rather than a cataclysmic Labour landslide.

Recent polling bears that out. A YouGov survey this week gave Labour a 20-point lead over the Tories. While that’s markedly down from the record 37-point margin they enjoyed in the dying days of Liz Truss’s short-lasting government in October, it still points to a sizable Tory defeat at the next general election.

Article content

Advertisement 4

Article content

Anti-Conservative sentiment is so strong that the party has a ceiling of around 30% of public support, according to one Labour strategist, who requested anonymity discussing opposition research. Recent focus groups show that while Sunak policies on issues like the small boats crisis might be popular, the overall vibe is people are just fed up of the Tories.

Labour thinks it has a killer response to Sunak’s strategy of putting his personal performance front and center: that his ruling Conservative Party has had 13 years to fix these problems, and the premier can’t just wash his hands of their record in office.

It’s an attack the opposition is wielding with a monotonous regularity that’s likely to persist.

“What they’ve delivered to our country after 13 years in power is nowhere near good enough,” Labour leader Keir Starmer said Wednesday as he launched his party’s local election campaign.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Sunak’s crime push was “too little, too late” because “in 13 years the Tories have decimated neighborhood policing,” Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said Monday. Deputy leader Angela Rayner responded to the government’s energy plan on Thursday with a four-word tweet referencing their time in office.

Ramming home the message, Labour spin doctors sent journalists 11 press releases in the last seven days containing the words “13 years.”

There is historical precedent for the idea the ruling party is at the end of its cycle, said Rob Ford, professor of political science at the University of Manchester. 

“Labour ran on ‘13 wasted years’ in 1964,” he told Bloomberg, while the “Tories ousted New Labour after 13 years in 2010, and Labour had hoped 13 years would be it in 1992 only for John Major to spoil the fun.”

Advertisement 6

Article content

The Major victory gives Labour cause for caution. Some Labour MPs and officials are becoming nervous that should March’s narrative of relatively successful government announcements be repeated over the next year, the general election could be closer than currently seems likely.

One Labour MP said Starmer’s strategy has been to emulate Joe Biden’s US presidential campaign against Donald Trump in 2020, essentially telling voters: I might be boring, but at least I’m not the other guy. 

But while that might work against an opponent like Boris Johnson or Liz Truss, the MP argued, against Sunak the divide is less clear-cut. Both he and Starmer have the air of details-orientated technocrats.

A Labour official predicted that if the polls narrow or May’s local elections don’t deliver a crushing defeat for the Tories, Starmer will face pressure to offer a much more ambitious pitch. 

Advertisement 7

Article content

Another said the Tories have been good at presenting each new leader as a fresh start, and Labour aims to tie Sunak to Johnson and Truss’s records. A third said Starmer would have to show he has more of a killer instinct.

Despite Sunak bringing a degree of calm back to government, there was some cabinet frustration this week over announcements on crime and energy that veered from the premier’s instruction to keep a laser-like focus on five key pledges on the economy, immigration and the National Health Service. One minister described a ban on nitrous oxide as small fry when rapists and heroin-dealers in their constituency were going unpunished. 

To launch the policy, Sunak held a question-and-answer session with voters about anti-social behavior. Several told him the police are failing to investigate serious crimes on the Tories’ watch. A government aide said the bruising encounter captured Sunak’s problem: he correctly identifies issues voters are upset about, but the reason they are upset is that successive Conservative governments have performed poorly.

Advertisement 8

Article content

There are other problems coming down the track. A report into bullying allegations against Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab is likely to arrive after Easter, people familiar said. Some in government expect he will have to resign, throwing Sunak’s administration into more political drama potentially just before the local elections.

Tory strategists insist they don’t expect the polls to start narrowing until the end of the year, by when inflation is predicted to have fallen and Sunak’s five key pledges will have had a chance to resonate with voters.

That plan relies on nothing whatsoever going wrong, a tall order given the recent history of Tory politics.

—With assistance from Ellen Milligan, Emily Ashton and Leonora Campbell.


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Join the Conversation

Source link

350 million are ‘marching toward hunger,’ says outgoing U.N. food chief

350 million are ‘marching toward hunger,’ says outgoing U.N. food chief


David Beasley, the head of the U.N.’s World Food Program, took off his mask to offer a broad smile as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of his agency in 2020. At the time, he said that more than 270 million people were “marching toward starvation.”

That figure is now up to 350 million people, Beasley has said in media interviews this week as he prepares to step down from the position on April 4 — a number larger than the population of the United States. “I thought we could put the World Food Program out of business” when he took the job in 2017, he said in an interview with the BBC broadcast Friday.

The food crisis “is going to get worse,” he added. Climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine are all to blame, he said.

Among those 350 million — those the United Nations considers to have acute food insecurity, who must sell essential possessions to obtain food — 50 million people are “knocking on famine’s door,” Beasley said. That latter group refers to those who have access to three or fewer food groups and take in 2,100 calories or less per day.

“That 50 million has got to get food, or otherwise they clearly will die,” he said.

WFP needs to raise $23 billion to help those 350 million people, he told the Associated Press. “Right at this stage, I’ll be surprised if we get 40 percent of it, quite frankly,” he said.

Cindy McCain to lead U.N.’s World Food Program

The best thing that could happen would be for Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war, and to let Ukraine and Russia resume their roles as the breadbaskets of the world, he told the BBC.

Ukraine was the world’s third and fifth biggest seller of corn and wheat, respectively, before the war, while Russia was the world’s largest exporter of wheat and fertilizers, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, a data website. The war has depressed the production and export of those products, Beasely has said.

Beasley declined to say whether he agreed with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s assertion that Moscow had weaponized food.

China, the Gulf nations and billionaires must also “step up big time,” he told the Associated Press.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, contributed $12 million to WFP last year. That was less than provided by the likes of New Zealand and Ukraine, which have gross domestic products that were less than 2 percent of China’s in 2021. The United States was, by far, the largest donor, giving $7.2 billion.

Beasley, a former Republican governor of South Carolina, did not say whether he would return to U.S. politics after leaving WFP. “Last week, my daughter had our third grandchild, a little girl,” he told the BBC. “And I’m looking forward to going home, and relaxing for at least a few weeks or a couple months, and we’ll see.”

Cindy McCain, who is serving as Washington’s representative to the U.N. Agencies in Rome and is the widow of former senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), will replace Beasley next week.

Source link