Our Next Reality: How the AI-Powered Metaverse Will Reshape the World

Nicholas Brealey. Jun. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9781399812245. $29.95. TECH
Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) experts Graylin, a tech entrepreneur and executive focusing on AI and AR projects, and Rosenberg, CEO of the artificial intelligence company Unanimous AI, offer a sympathetic view of the future metaverse. They define “the metaverse” as a societal shift from viewing flat media as an observer (third person) to a digital world that enables people to have immersive experiences (first person). Their book describes the various forms of VR and AR, the technologies’ origins in the 1990s, when NASA researchers developed an AR system, and the ways in which various industries and the public use the technology today. They acknowledge that there are concerns that fictional AI characters such as Hal 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey or Ultron from Avengers: Age of Ultron are indicative of technology that can develop into real-life societal threats. But they argue that those worries are overblown. To that end, they give a highly complex, philosophical discourse on the nature of consciousness and conclude that if AI ever forms consciousness, it will also likely gain compassion and not view human beings as threats.
VERDICT This book about AI and its future contains complicated technical and philosophical concepts, but general readers, researchers, and tech professionals will find it thought-provoking.
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