Ep. 65: Brad Templeton on the Metaverse, VR applications, and genetic privacy.

Watch our interview with Brad  on Youtube.

Brad Templeton is chairman Emeritus of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is one of the founding computing faculty of Singularity University, and thinks about autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, privacy, and digital rights, among many other things.


Show notes

  • Brad is making his second appearance on our podcast. The first was in episode 31.
  • 6:01 We began by talking about Philip Rosedale, whom we interviewed in episode 42. He doesn't think that the metaverse is ready for primetime yet, and given his success with SecondLife we're all inclined to take him seriously.
  • 7:44 Brad notes that the biggest issue with VR and AR tools is that they aren't streamlined and comfortable enough to really create an immersive experience. It's common to put on the equipment to accomplish something, then take it off again to resume life. Neither AR nor VR tools tend to foster immersion and long-term use, in the way that the iPhone sitting in your pocket does.
  • This makes it well-suited for gaming or completing some training, but not for crafting the beautiful, open-ended worlds that are the dream of VR developers everywhere.
  • 11:57 Thomas wants to know how the metaverse will change retail. Brad says that certain kinds of shopping are the sorts of tasks for which AR/VR are ideally suited.
  • We then turn to discuss other ways in which the metaverse could change various industries, including tourism, long-distance social interaction, and education.
  • With high resolution photography visiting a famous historical site could be done virtually, with neither the hustle and bustle of other tourists nor the potential for destroying an irreplaceable destination.
  • We spent some time discussing how identity might be handled in the metaverse. Brad is of the opinion that we need to break identity into pieces which are handled differently. There is no reason that a driver's license must have a person's home address, for example, when all it needs to indicate is that the person is legally allowed to drive.
  • 28:46 We discuss algorithms with bank accounts, whether they should be allowed to invest, and how bitcoin changes this picture.
  • 32:31 Trent ties this to the concept of altered state machine(s), which are special non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that confer ownership of trained algorithms. There are many ways in which this could throw a wrinkle into the idea of having AIs which own things, transact, and make decisions.
  • 39:29 Thomas brings up a recurring theme: putting important documents, perhaps even actual genetic information, on the blockchain as NFTs. This could certainly allow for various exciting kinds of data mining to take place, but carries with it an obvious issue of privacy.
  • This and much more in our interview with Brad Templeton!
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