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Business December 16, 2022

Dating in the Metaverse: Here Are the Latest Apps

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Dating in the Metaverse: Here Are the Latest Apps

Cupid, the pretty little boy with wings, a bow and an arrow, will be waiting for some in the metaverse as dating companies move into the virtual space in the new year.

In the past decade, dating companies such as Tinder have relied on matching people on their sites. Going forward, there will be need to embrace an immersive approach and match them in the metaverse and have them meet there.

Dating in the metaverse

With over 1,500 dating apps and websites on the market today, the market is seen reaching $9.2 billion by 2025. “People are meeting both pre and post-dates already and we know they have been dating in the metaverse,” Together Labs CEO Darren Tsui says.

“It’s inevitable that dating companies will seek to join these experiences together. We’re seeing a lot of people in our societies using the metaverse as a way of figuring out ‘what happens after the swipe,” Tsui adds.

Tsui reckons there is a market. Generation Z (Gen Z), the Western demographic group succeeding Millennials and preceding Generation Alpha, are seen embracing this development for a number of reasons.

Gen Z, kids born from the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s, are prime suspects for metaverse dating.

Informal relationships: situationships

Situationships are seen supporting this kind of dating. A situationship is a romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established.

This growing dynamic is the result of Gen Z’s attitude towards romance as well as their changing lifestyle. Gen Z is more socially aware and has many aspirations. Romance is one of many aspects of life that Gen Z cares about and may not rank as high as previous generations.

“Compounding that with their busy lives and their comfort with socializing digitally, situationships are a pragmatic approach to Gen Z’s circumstances,” Tsui adds.

He is not the only who sees metaverse dating taking off.

“We are already seeing a trend of people meeting and interacting in online games and virtual worlds. Second Life has been around for nearly two decades and is still going strong, with over a million active users,” KJ Dhaliwal writes.

“With online games and communities dedicated to dating, we could begin to see people find love in the metaverse,” he continues.

Dating in the Metaverse: Here Are the Latest Apps

Match Group, the Parent company of Tinder, has in the past considered the metaverse dating space. But of late, the company has been scaling owing to concerns emanating from a lack of a clear and immediate monetization strategy for its VR dating.

Dating in VR?

The company postponed plans to introduce VR dating on an app linked to Tinder in the third quarter of this year until its earnings improve. Although Match Group has put the brakes on the metaverse, others have forged ahead.

Early this year, a VR Dating app called Nevermet was launched with some describing it as “the metaverse version of Tinder.” Then in May, Flirtual, rose to prominence after launching an app that allows users to “flirt in the metaverse and hook up in the real world.”

Dating in the Metaverse: Here Are the Latest Apps

Avatar dating in the metaverse

All this is suggestive of a void in the dating space, the experts say.

“However, even with the lack of a monetization strategy, I believe we are going to see many companies investing in this technology in an attempt to be the premiere platform for dating in the metaverse. Dating trends over the last 10 years have changed considerably, with more people using dating apps and websites to meet potential partners,” KJ Dhaliwal adds.

Meanwhile, demand for better apps is rising. A total 47% of respondents in a survey by Tido expressed willingness to join an advanced, AI-based dating app to find a potential long-term partner.

This may work for Gen Z, tsui adds.

Dating in the Metaverse: Here Are the Latest Apps

According to Pew research, Gen Z doesn’t distinguish between friends made in the physical world vs. online. They are perfectly comfortable meeting someone in a chat room and “going out on a date” by playing Animal Crossing together, Tsui tells MetaNews.

“We see this exact behavior on IMVU. The metaverse has changed the way people interact digitally and this is something we’ve been tracking for the last 18 years based on our deep understanding of the science of friendship.”

Already some people have gone a step beyond dating in the metaverse, they are marrying in the virtual world.

“Hi, I’m Dinesh Kshatriyan and I’m most famous for ‘Asia’s first metaverse wedding'”, I’m the groom.

I’m from Chennai, Tamilnadu, India,” reads the tweet with a picture of a smiling couple and a link to a story.

Money in the metaverse

Moving from dating, Tsui sees NFTs becoming adopted for everyday transactions in the coming year. He sees transactions booming in the 2023 in the metaverse.

“As with gaming 10 years ago, microtransactions are set to explode in the metaverse and NFTs are the mechanism through which this will happen. We see games morphing into metaverses and there’ll be many going forward.”

He said although users “own” digital goods for a game, they don’t own them in practice.

“They can’t take what they own off platform and they would lose everything if the game becomes defunct. NFTs make true ownership possible so users can freely buy, sell, and trade,” Tsui added.

Dating in the Metaverse: Here Are the Latest Apps

Hasn’t crossed the mobile chasm. Yet.

Darren Tsui adds he thinks the mobile phone had a huge role to play in metaverse adoption and see phones driving metaverse growth in the new year. We have not seen the metaverse cross the chasm in reaching the masses with a broad age range yet.

“We believe the biggest needle-mover is creating metasocieties and making metaverses a welcoming place versus world-building only for the sake of creating content or technical gadgets that are expensive and cumbersome to use,” he added.

Mobile has proven to be an efficient medium to socialize and you don’t have to wait for adoption. Mobile devices are powerful enough today to deliver immersive 3D experiences giving users the sense of ‘presence’, the feeling of being at another place with other people.

Although Roblox has a large user base, its appeal is limited to a young demographic (age 9 – 12 as core.) The path to crossing that chasm is through mobile, where there are billions of users spanning all ages.


Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney.


Quest 3 Headset Will Have Better Mixed Reality Tech



Quest 3 Headset Will Have Better Mixed Reality Tech, says Zuckerberg
Artist's rendering.

Meta, keen to be a Metaverse giant, plans to launch virtual reality headset Quest 3 later this year, with better mixed reality technology, said CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Meta confirmed that the release should be called Meta Quest 3. It’s expected to cost between US$300 and US$500, which is about a third of the Quest Pro (the Quest Pro is currently priced at $1,499.99).

Also read: Meta Employees Undermine Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Strategy

The new headset will provide support for Meta Reality, which is technology that enables virtual reality headsets to also be used for augmented reality. This technology allows devices to create mixed reality experiences.

Meta Reality in Next-Gen Consumer Headset

The mixed reality ecosystem is relatively new, but Zuckerberg thinks it’s going to grow a lot in the next few years.

“Later this year, we’re going to launch our next generation consumer headset, which will feature Meta Reality as well, and I expect that this is going to establish this technology as the baseline for all headsets going forward, and eventually of course for AR glasses as well,” said Zuckerberg.

Beyond MR, the broader VR ecosystem continues growing. There are now over 200 apps on Meta’s VR devices that have made more than $1 million in revenue, Zuckerberg said.

How Meta Reality will look in more affordable headsets is yet to be clear.

Meta’s Reported Win over FTC will be Crucial

Meta has reportedly won court approval earlier this week to acquire VR fitness app Supernatural’s maker, Within, which will be a huge boost for Zuckerberg’s ambitious metaverse project.

Meta’s plan was to acquire Within and Supernatural back in October 2021, but it was blocked by the FTC’s complaint file to stop the deal. The FTC’s complaint was justified by saying Meta already owns a “virtual reality empire.”

Zuckerberg’s Meta Quest 2 is arguably the best VR headset, even after a massive hike in its price last year.

“There is a lot of work there that we haven’t actually shipped the product yet. VR, which is starting to ramp, right, Quest 2, I think, did quite well. We have multiple product lines there with the Quest Pro,” said Zuckerberg about Quest 3.

When Meta shipped Quest Pro at the end of last year, it was something their CEO was “really proud of” and believed it was the first mainstream mixed reality device to set the standard for the industry with Meta Reality.

“As always, the reason why we’re focused on building these platforms is to deliver better social experiences than what’s possible today on phones,” said Zuckerberg.

The possible benefit could be expected in Quest 3 through the acquisition of Within.


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Microsoft Warns Employees Not to Share Sensitive Data with ChatGPT



Microsoft Warns Employees Not to Share Sensitive Data with ChatGPT

Microsoft has warned its employees not to share sensitive data with an artificially intelligent (AI) chatbot, ChatGPT from OpenAI. Employees of American multinational tech giants had asked in an internal forum whether ChatGPT or any other AI tools from OpenAI were appropriate to use at their work, Business Insider reported.

Also read: 30% of College Students Use ChatGPT

In response to that inquiry, a senior engineer from Microsoft’s CTO office allowed to use ChatGPT but couldn’t share confidential information with the AI chatbot.

“Please don’t send sensitive data to an OpenAI endpoint, as they may use it for training future models,” the senior engineer wrote in an internal post, per Insider.

ChatGPT, here only for two months, is already raising concerns in the academic sector. Microsoft has become a partner of OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT, and has confirmed an investment of ten billion dollars.

Microsoft is planning to integrate OpenAI’s technology into its products, including the Bing search engine and other software, to enhance their capabilities, as reported previously.

The major concern of Microsoft regarding “sensitive information” may include sharing internal software code and seeking checks and advice from the chatbot.

Amazon’s Same Concern

ChatGPT has continuously made headlines since its launch last November but has also faced bans, especially in the academic sector as it became the cheating partner for students’ schoolwork. Recently, the tech giants have also raised their concerns over its use.

Amazon warned its employees to beware of ChatGPT last week, as reported by Insider. Insider claims that an Amazon lawyer has urged employees not to share code with ChatGPT via an internal communication form.

“This is important because your inputs may be used as training data for a further iteration of ChatGPT, and we wouldn’t want its output to include or resemble our confidential information (and I’ve already seen instances where its output closely matches existing material),” the lawyer wrote.

The lawyer placed more emphasis on requesting that employees not share “any Amazon confidential information” (including Amazon code they are working on) with ChatGPT via Slack.

Personal Data Concern

As concerns about data privacy grow among large corporations, an OpenAI representative has directed questions about the company’s data and privacy policy to ChatGPT’s FAQ page. The terms of service of OpenAI grant the company the right to use all input and output generated by ChatGPT users, with the stipulation that personally identifiable information (PII) is removed from the used data.

However, it’s quite impossible for OpenAI to identify and remove all the personal information from the data provided to ChatGPT, says Emily Bender, who teaches computational linguistics at the University of Washington.

“OpenAI is far from transparent about how they use the data, but if it’s being folded into training data, I would expect corporations to wonder: After a few months of widespread use of ChatGPT, will it become possible to extract private corporate information with cleverly crafted prompts?” said Bender.

Vincent Conitzer, a computer science professor and director of an AI lab at Carnegie Mellon University, said, “All of us together are going to have to figure out what should be expected of everyone in these situations. Is the responsibility on employees to not share sensitive information, or is the responsibility on OpenAI to use information carefully, or some combination?”

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China Catches Up On Quantum Computers, Makes 1st Delivery



China Catches Up On Quantum Computers, Makes 1st Delivery

China has officially caught up with Canada and USA in the race to deliver a complete quantum computer system to a customer according to a state media report.

Chinese quantum computing company, Origin Quantum Computing Technology developed a 24-qubit Wuyuan system before delivery to an unknown user more than a year ago, the science ministry’s Science and Technology Daily reported.

Also read: How AI Can Accelerate Metaverse Development

According to Origin Quantum, they are the only Chinese company in the quantum computing industry that can deliver real quantum computers as well as full-stack development and follow up services.

According to a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday by East China’s Anhui Province based Quantum Computing Research Centre, the group developed the computer and successfully delivered it to a user.

“More than 100 quantum computing companies in the world have put enormous investment into quantum research and development. Canada’s quantum computing company sold its first quantum computer in 2011, followed by IBM of the US in 2019.

“Chinese Origin Quantum delivered a quantum computer in 2021,” Zhang Hui, director of the Anhui Quantum Computing Engineering Research Center was quoted as saying.

Eyebrow raising announcement

The announcement by Chinese state media has raised eyebrows among skeptics questioning its timing.

Weifeng Zhong, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va told TechNewsWorld that this could be a gimmick to just show China as a tech giant with a transparent administration.

“Quantum technology has a high priority for national security in China. If this were something very important, I doubt it would be disclosed like this in a transparent way by Chinese authorities,” explained Zhong.

“The fact that it was delayed for a year suggests that they realize now that it’s not important to national security, so they’re trying to use it to build China’s image as a technology leader at a time when they’re trying to open up their economy to the rest of the world,” added Zhong.

But what is quantum computing?

A quantum computer is a type of computer that uses quantum mechanics to store and process data, as opposed to classical computers that use classical mechanics. Quantum computers use quantum bits (qubits), which can exist in multiple states at once, to perform computations that are not possible on classical computers, making them particularly well-suited for certain types of complex calculations.

The  24-qubit Wuyuan quantum computer based on superconducting technology developed by the same company  becomes the third to be delivered to customers after Canada in 2011 and USA’s IBM in 2019.

Superconducting technology is currently one of the most mature and well-developed implementations of quantum computing, and many companies and research organizations are working to develop and commercialize superconducting quantum computers. Superconducting technology is one of the main implementations of quantum computing.

In superconducting quantum computers, quantum bits (qubits) are made from tiny electrical circuits that are cooled to very low temperatures, close to absolute zero, in order to minimize the amount of thermal energy and increase their coherence time, which is the time during which a qubit can maintain its quantum state.

What does China offer in its quantum computers

Speed: Quantum computers can perform certain operations much faster than classical computers, which can greatly speed up complex computations.

Parallel processing: Quantum computers can perform multiple calculations simultaneously, which allows for more efficient processing of large amounts of data.

Simulating complex systems: Quantum computers can be used to simulate complex systems, such as molecules and materials, which can lead to new discoveries in fields such as chemistry and materials science.

Cryptography: Quantum computers can be used to break certain encryption algorithms, which makes them useful for developing new, more secure encryption methods.

Optimization problems: Quantum computers can be used to solve complex optimization problems, such as logistics and scheduling problems, which have many potential real-world applications.

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