We authored a post earlier titled "Decoupling intelligence" in which we articulated our long-term vision and hammered home the central theme - Intelligence will go where the data is.
Over the coming decade, billions of sensors and edge devices will be shipped. 5G connectivity will increase the density of connected devices around us, and every industry we know will be using AI to become more efficient.
This decade will usher in a new era, where intelligence will move to the edge and decisions will be made without centralizing data. Additionally, decisions made by independent edge devices (agents) will work cooperatively to provide a larger “networked” intelligences.
This means intelligence will decouple from the hardware and the systems it was designed to run on. Taking inspiration from biology we theorized in that post,
We are about to witness a fork in the world of intelligence, a decoupling from centralized systems to a distributed intelligent system.
We believe firmly in the tenets of blockchain and its applicability beyond finance. In an ideal setup, blockchain is a good representation of decoupled intelligence because:
data stays on the edge
provenance of it is captured on-chain
verification and ownership are established via custody (wallets)
supports an inclusive participation via DeFi
This means the agents on the edge have asymmetric information (think tentacles of an Octopus) and the blockchain acts as a control point (central nervous systems).
The application layer experiences on top of blockchain, known as Web3 further drive this idea by ensuring the data is not owned by any central entity.
We recently launched our crypto vertical. Our specific focus is to facilitate the computational metaverse, where using our tools edge devices will be able to generate verifiable knowledge. Our foundational work started with the creation of Rune. Rune is an open-source project focused on making edge computing portable. Built on Rust, our Rune technology currently runs on several edge devices including phones, browsers, cloud, and embedded systems. We are now working on bringing Rune to bridge on and off-chain computations in any Web3 experience.
In this post, we want to lay down our vision about Metaverse such as the aspects of computation, decentralization and the need for verifiable edge computing with AI, to materialize a fully decentralized Metaverse.
What is Metaverse?
The short answer - it is an immersive Web3 experience. However, it has often been mistakenly associated with virtual reality. The Wikipedia states:
The term was coined in Neal Stephenson's 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world. Stephenson used the term to describe a virtual reality-based successor to the Internet.
… Metaverse is actually a unifying force for Stephenson’s dystopia: there is only one virtual world sitting beyond a real world that is fractured between independent entities. There are connections in the real world — roads, helicopters, and airplanes exist — but those connections are subject to tolls and gatekeepers, in contrast to the interoperability and freedom of the Metaverse.
An important property that we should expect in open metaverse is that there cannot be proprietary lock-ins and central gatekeepers deciding who gets to participate.
The Metaverse: a persistent, live digital universe that affords individuals a sense of agency, social presence, and shared spatial awareness, along with the ability to participate in an extensive virtual economy with profound societal impact.
The key takeaway - Crypto is laying the foundations for a self-sovereign financial system, an open creator economy, and a universal digital representation and ownership layer via NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
Chris Dixon had a good twitter thread on turning networks into economies, in which he made a key point about the need for crypto:
Building Blocks of Metaverse
Originated from the creator economy, the ideas in Metaverse are quite simple. Let’s break it down. Metaverse is typically coined as a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and persistent virtual space which includes the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality and the Internet. However, the creator economy emphasizes that it is beyond virtual space, citing that there is no need for gatekeepers and aggregators, that anyone and anywhere can make financial gains digitally. Metaverse is the new reality where you control fate.
Such a system inherently requires a decentralized blockchain that can guarantee it is not under the custody of a single entity. Smart contracts provide the mechanics by which we can implement such a system on-chain. Thus, for an open Metaverse, we need a fully decentralized system, including edge computation services that make decisions for the agents.
Mathew Ball has written a series of important articles which serves as the primer for Metaverse. We are a huge fan of his work and relate to the stack he has laid out to see a fully open Metaverse emerge. In fact, our humble hope is that we are going to play a small role in a few categories to get us all there.
The stack defined in his post are as follows:
We highly encourage you to read the whole primer, as there is a treasure trove of information in them. A few key observations that are noteworthy:
Physical computing is an important part of Metaverse - with devices in feedback loops with humans / agents interacting inside Metaverse
There is a greater computing need, and edge compute is often highlighted as a key infrastructure strategy for the Metaverse.
The activities on the edge need to be verified in some form to provide network trust.
The experiences will be immersive in many virtual worlds, and building these experiences are both expensive and time consuming.
Experiences will have to be portable, and this includes collectibles, virtual identities, payments, and more via interoperable standards. This could include portable computations as well.
Role of AI and orchestration in Metaverse
If you are wondering what HOT-G's role is in the Metaverse - every reference we have made to edge computing, decentralization, and portable computations, is at the core of what we are building. The computational needs in Metaverse are quite complex with a spectrum spanning from edge to cloud.
What could this mean?
Part of the computation can occur at device in real world
Part of the computation can occur inside the Metaverse in the virtual world
And part of the computation can occur on the cloud
There could be much more complex topology over time
AI will play a critical role to optimize computations in the metaverse. Some examples of how AI and AI on the edge can help:
Generative worlds and simulations
Agents on the edge that can act on data on the edge and knowledge from the chain
Predictions using data on the edge as streaming to the cloud adds significant latency
Learning and personalizing with data on-edge and data on-chain
Runes are containers for portable computation and AI models. They can be easily integrated into on-chain systems with verifiable proofs for the activity performed. We are building crypto Rune container and runtime that will have specific capabilities around blockchains such as Solana. The capabilities we will support will facilitate easier integrations with NFTs, smart contracts, wallets, and payments on any edge device participating in the metaverse. For instance, it could be a haptic feedback joystick or even the phone browser.
Given that metaverse is an intersection of hardware, software, AI, and portable computations, orchestration is quintessential for the success of making it all work. This is where our Rune orchestration product and our Hammer Forge product will shine. A few ways in which our product stack will facilitate with orchestration:
Immersive computational interactions - NFTs and on-chain data are mostly static today. Bringing on-chain data to life using off-chain signals will need edge orchestrations.
Edge Oracles - ability to orchestrate edge devices with verified proofs on the performed actions
Decoupling intelligence - Immersive experiences require tested compute that need to run on plethora of devices. Target experiences using Rune containers.
Workflows - The persistent aspect of metaverse means that user experiences and workflows need to support journey continuation. This requires precision orchestration.
The end goal for what we are going to build at HOT-G is to materialize:
A fully decentralized Metaverse
We are stoked at the possibilities within the realm of blockchain and crypto vertical we are launching. The ideas inside metaverse are ambitious and encompass many ideas that we are building towards. In this post, we have barely scratched the surface of what our roadmap includes, but just to whet your appetite we wanted to provide some high-level context on them:
Verifiable knowledge for events that occur on any edge device inside Metaverse
Secure runes running on any edge device in the metaverse
Incentivization for running verifiable edge nodes
Orchestrations for AI inside metaverse
DevOps using Hammer Forge for on-chain events and making them run on the edge!
If you are interested in partnering with us, and to get early-access to our crypto VM Rune and related technologies drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
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