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What Would Retail in the Metaverse Look Like?

MeetKai Co-Founder and CEO James Kaplan discusses the AI-powered metaverse experience
MeetKai Co-Founder and CEO James Kaplan

The metaverse can be defined in many ways, but in a broad sense, it’s an interconnected, virtual, real-time world that is often in 3D and VR, but can also be in 2D. In some ways, it’s no different from the virtual environments such as Second Life or massively-multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) including World of Warcraft, EVE Online, and the like. What’s new in today’s evolving metaverse is increased 3D realism via VR, more interconnectedness between worlds, and improved AI. As a result, brands, institutions, and technology companies – Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, is perhaps the most prominent example — are flocking to the space to stake virtual territorial claims. 

Companies and developers for today’s metaverse are focused on creating more realistic virtual beings, or avatars, which can be operated by actual humans or AI.  The increased sophistication and accuracy of natural language processing (NLP) software and computer vision brings greater potential for any AI-powered avatars. This means, for example, applying the listening and responding capabilities of, say, Google Voice, with a realistic avatar. 

Technology startups such as conversational AI company MeetKai, are approaching it from an NLP-first stance. The company specializes in highly-focused, vertical voice assistants in specific areas such as hospitality and food in different languages, which theoretically should mean it’s better at making recommendations than the average Alexa Wikipedia read-out. 

MeetKai is currently working on a new lifestyle VR environment known as the MeetKai Metaverse, which features virtual environments such as museums, boxing gyms, and meditation spaces that will be staffed by AI-powered curators and teachers. Think a deeply-focused Google Assistant or Alexa with a walking and talking avatar. It’s not too hard to see how this might also be applied in tech support, customer support, sales, or other retail scenarios. 

In Episode 119 of the Dealerscope podcast, I asked MeetKai CEO and Co-Founder James Kaplan about AI-powered VR experiences in the metaverse, including how those might apply in customer support, employee training, or appliance and consumer technology retailing environments in the future. Click below to listen, or download it here.