Bullet-time ‘Matrix’ creator John Gaeta takes on the metaverse

John Gaeta has already made his mark on pop culture once. As visual effects supervisor on The matrixit was he who created bullet time and many other groundbreaking visuals from this film. These days, however, he’s focusing on the Metaverse and hoping to make an even bigger impact.

Gaeta began to step away from the film world in 2008 or 2009. Like many visual effects pioneers who explored game development and found themselves on the Silicon Valley lab scene, he enjoys working on technology emerging. Gaeta says he is a storyteller at heart, however, not a technical person. And earlier this year, he joined Inworld AI as Chief Creative Officer to help the company achieve its vision of bringing artificial intelligence to virtual worlds.

Inworld, founded in July 2021, wants to make static characters more realistic. So, for example, when interacting with a non-player character in a game, they won’t be limited to just three or four looping lines of dialogue. Instead, using advanced AI, these characters would have unique personalities, with their own thoughts, memories, and behaviors.

Investors support the concept. Last month, Inworld closed a $50 million Series A round, led by Section 32 and Intel Capital, with additional investments from Founders Fund, Microsoft’s M12 Fund and Kleiner Perkins, among others. It brought its total funding at $70 million.

“That’s not a Turing test“says Gaeta fast company. “It’s a character test. Is this character capable of surprising me? Can this excite me? Can he tell me something that I didn’t know? Can it steer me in a direction that leads to the advancement of an experience? In a story-rich world, success is that anyone you talk to might be interesting enough to hold your attention for as long as you want, and you might come back to [them] day after day.”

For now, of course, these types of interactions are more likely to happen in the gaming world, but they have broader potential, Gaeta says, because the metaverse begins to take shape.

“No one can predict, initially, how people will use the new forms,” he says. “Some people assume the metaverse is something they’ve seen in a movie or read about in a book, but in my opinion, it’s the connection between all digital things that are capable of finding each other. The spatial internet It’s going to look like games, but it’s not just going to be 3D stuff it’s going to be real world awareness – all the smart city stuff will be part of the metaverse All the autonomous things we make for vehicles and the devices and all these things that we’re building around us as we go into the future, all of these things could talk to each other and contribute to something that we could call the metaverse by default.

Additionally, he says, virtual reality and mixed reality will be merged. And he sees a great opportunity to create a decentralized platform where creatives can thrive.

Creators, he says, will have huge opportunities to create something of great value or that others enjoy and ideally be able to monetize it without having to depend on a large corporate presence or bank, such as c is the model currently for many movies and games. manufacturers.

“I absolutely believe that the ordinary person, whether a confident creator or just a kid, should be empowered to create, own and spread the things they make,” says Gaeta. “I think we’re in a potentially very disruptive time where some companies – and some technologies – are enabling the ability [for people] create and prosper from their creations. I think the characters and avatars are kind of the same. They are identities. They are characters. And they could become very attractive and popular to others, just like real-world personalities and actors. »

Many of these scenarios lie in the future, yet. For now, Gaeta says, the Metaverse is nothing like what most people expect it to become. And that, in some ways, is what makes the potential of the Metaverse so exciting.

“There’s a lot of early experimentation, but it’s not mainstream yet,” he says. “It’s a learning period. And meanwhile, because it really is still a time for early adopters/borderline users who want to check out this stuff. The question is: What do you expect from a virtual world or a destination? Of course, whatever the use case, you don’t want it to be essentially a handful of pioneer users/early adopters.

Worlds, he says, must be vibrant and full of life. And that’s what he’s trying to do at Inworld.

“I’ve been thinking about it for years,” he says. “The answer [to making worlds feel real] is to bring in characters who can understand this world and their place in it and the relationships between everyone else, whether human or non-human – basically, to populate the worlds with thinking characters.

About Florence L. Silvia

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