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Monetizing and protecting an AI-powered virtual identity in today’s world

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This article was contributed by Taesu Kim, CEO of Neosapience.

An AI revolution is going on in the area of content creation. Voice technologies in particular have made tremendous leaps forward in the past few years. While this could lead to a myriad of new content experiences, not to mention dramatically reduced costs associated with content development and localization, there are ample concerns about what the future holds.

Imagine if you are known for your distinctive voice and rely on it for your livelihood — actors like James Earl Jones, Christopher Walken, Samuel L. Jackson, Fran Drescher, and Kathleen Turner, or musicians such as Adele, Billie Eilish, Snoop Dogg, or Harry Styles. If a machine were trained to replicate them, would they lose all artistic control? Would they suddenly be providing voice-overs for a YouTube channel in Russia? And, practically speaking, would they miss out on potential royalties? What about the person who’s looking for a break, or maybe just a way to make some extra cash by licensing their voice or likeness digitally?

A voice is more than a compilation of sounds

There is something tremendously exciting that happens when you can type a series of words, click a button, and hear your favorite superstar read them back, sounding like an actual human with natural rises and falls in their speech, changes in pitch, and intonation. This is not something robotic, as we’ve become accustomed to with characters created from AI. Instead, the character you build comes to life with all of its layered dimensions. 

This depth is what had been lacking from virtual actors and virtual identities previously; the experience was, quite frankly, underwhelming. But modern AI-based voice technology can reveal the construction of an identity whose intricate characteristics come out through the sound of a voice. The same can be true of AI-based video actors that move, gesture, and use facial expressions identical to those of humans, providing the nuances inherent in a being without which characters fall flat.

As technology improves to the point that it can acquire true knowledge of each of the characteristics of a person’s surface identity — such as their looks, sounds, mannerisms, ticks, and anything else that makes up what you see and hear from another, excluding their thoughts and feelings — that identity becomes an actor that can be deployed not only by major studios in big-budget films or album releases. Anyone can select that virtual actor using a service like Typecast and put it to work. The key here is that it is an actor, and even novice actors get paid.

Understandably, there is some fear about how such likenesses can be co-opted and used without licensing, consent, or payment. I would liken this to the issues we’ve seen as any new medium has come onto the scene. For example, digital music and video content that were once thought to rob artists and studios of revenue have become thriving businesses and new money-makers that are indispensable to today’s bottom line. Solutions were developed that led to the advancement of technology, and the same holds true again.

Preservation of your digital and virtual identity

Each human voice — as well as face — has its own unique footprint, comprised of tens of thousands of characteristics. This makes it very, very difficult to replicate. In a world of deep fakes, misrepresentation, and identity theft, a number of technologies can be put to work to prevent the misuse of AI speech synthesis or video synthesis. 

Voice identity or speaker search is one example. Researchers and data scientists can identify and break down the characteristics of a specific speaker’s voice. In doing so, they can determine whose unique voice was used in a video or audio snippet, or whether it was a combination of many voices blended together and converted through text-to-speech technology. Ultimately, such identification capabilities can be applied in a Shazam-like app. With this technology, AI-powered voice and video companies can detect if their text-to-speech technology has been misused. Content can then be flagged and removed. Think of it as a new type of copyright monitoring system. Companies including YouTube and Facebook are already developing such technologies for music and video clips, and it won’t be long until they become the norm.

Deep fake detection is another area where significant research is being conducted. Technology is being developed to distinguish whether a face in a video is an actual human or one that has been digitally manipulated. For instance, one research team has created a system based on a convolutional neural network (CNN) to pull features at a frame-by-frame level. It can then compare them and train a recurrent neural network (RNN) to classify videos that have been digitally manipulated — and it can do this rapidly and at scale. 

These solutions may make some people feel uneasy, as many are still in the works, but let’s put these fears to rest. Detection technologies are being created proactively, with an eye towards future need. In the interim, we have to consider where we are right now and synthesized audio and video must be very sophisticated to clone and deceive. 

An AI system designed to produce voice and/or video can only learn from a clean dataset. Today, this means it can pretty much only come from filming or recording that’s done in a studio. It is remarkably difficult to have data recorded in a professional studio without the consent of the data subject; studios are not willing to risk a lawsuit. Data crawled on YouTube or other sites, by contrast, provides such a noisy dataset that it is only capable of producing low-quality audio or video, which makes it simple to spot and remove illegitimate content. This automatically subtracts the suspects most likely to manipulate and misuse digital and virtual identities. While it will be possible to create high-quality audio and video with noisy datasets eventually, detection technologies will be ready well in advance, providing ample defense. 

Virtual AI actors are still part of a nascent space, but one that is accelerating quickly. New revenue streams and content development possibilities will continue to push virtual characters forward. This, in turn, will provide ample motivation to apply sophisticated detection and a new breed of digital rights management tools to govern the use of AI-powered virtual identities.

Taesu Kim is the CEO of Neosapience.

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Identity in the metaverse: Creating a global identity system

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With the advent of the metaverse, the need for a global identity system has become apparent. There are many different ways to create an identity in the metaverse, but no single system is universally accepted. 

The challenge is usually two-fold: first, how to create an identity that is accepted by all the different platforms and services in the metaverse, and second, how to keep track of all the different identities a person may have.

There are many proposed solutions to these challenges, but no clear consensus has emerged. Some believe that a single, global identity system is the only way to ensure interoperability between different platforms and services. Others believe that multiple identities are necessary to allow people to maintain their privacy and security.

The debate is ongoing, but it is clear that the need for a global identity system is becoming more urgent as the metaverse continues to grow.

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In this article, we will explore the various options for creating a global identity system in the metaverse. We will discuss the pros and cons of each option, and try to identify the best solution for the future.

Option 1: A single global identity

The simplest solution to the problem of identity in the metaverse is to create a single, global identity system. This would be a centralized system that would be responsible for managing all identities in the metaverse. 

The advantages of this approach are obvious: It would be much easier to keep track of identities, and there would be no need to worry about different platforms and services accepting different identities. In addition, a centralized identity system would allow for better security and privacy controls, as well as the ability to track identity theft and fraud.

However, this approach also has several disadvantages. First, it would be very difficult to create a global identity system that is accepted by everyone. Also, a centralized system would be vulnerable to attack and could be used to track people’s movements and activities. Third, it would be difficult to protect the privacy of users in a centralized system.

Option 2: Multiple identities

Another solution to the problem of identity in the metaverse is to allow each person to have multiple identities. This would mean that each person could have one or more identities that they use for different purposes. 

One of the main advantages of this approach is that it would allow people to maintain their privacy and security. Each person could choose which identity to use for each situation, and they would not have to worry about their entire identity being exposed. In addition, this approach would be more resilient to attack, as it would be much harder to take down multiple identities than a single one.

The limitations of such an approach would be that it could be difficult to keep track of all the different identities, and there would be no guarantee that different platforms and services would accept all of them. In addition, multiple identities could lead to confusion and could make it more difficult for people to build trust with others.

Option 3: A decentralized identity system

A third solution to the problem of identity in the metaverse is to create a decentralized identity system. This would be an identity system that is not controlled by any one centralized authority but rather is distributed among many different nodes. 

This might seem like the ideal approach, since decentralization is a common theme in the metaverse. However, there are still some challenges that need to be overcome. For instance, it would need to be ensured that all the different nodes in the system are properly synchronized and that the system as a whole is secure. In addition, it might be difficult to get people to adopt such a system if they are used to the more traditional centralized approach.

One solution would be to get the nodes in the system to be run by different organizations. This would help to decentralize the system and make it more secure. Another advantage of this approach is that it would allow different organizations to offer their own identity services, which could be more tailored to their needs.

Another would be to incorporate an edge computing solution into the system. This would allow for more decentralized processing of data and could help to improve performance. It would also make the system more resilient to attack since there would be no centralized point of failure.

The best solution for the future of identity in the metaverse is likely to be a combination of these approaches. A centralized system might be necessary to provide a basic level of identity services, but it should be supplemented by a decentralized system that is more secure and resilient. Ultimately, the goal should be to create an identity system that is both easy to use and secure.

The ideal identity standards of the metaverse

Now that we have explored the various options for identity in the metaverse, we can start to identify the ideal standards that should be met by any future global identity system. 

It is no easy task to create a global identity system that meets all of the criteria, but it is important to strive for an ideal solution. After all, the metaverse is still in its early stages, and the decisions made now will have a lasting impact on its future. 

Current iterations of the metaverse have used very traditional approaches to identity, but it is time to start thinking outside the box. The ideal solution will be one that is secure, private, decentralized, and easy to use. It will be a solution that allows people to maintain their privacy while still being able to interact with others in the metaverse. 

Most importantly, it will be a solution that can be accepted and used by everyone. Only then can we hope to create a truly global identity system for the metaverse.

The bottom line on identity in the metaverse

The question of identity in the metaverse is a complex one, but it is an important issue that needs to be addressed. 

The challenges associated with creating an implementation that is secure, private and decentralized are significant, but they are not insurmountable. For one, it will be important to get buy-in from organizations that have a vested interest in the metaverse. These organizations can help to promote and support the adoption of identity standards. 

It is also important to keep in mind that the metaverse is still evolving, and the solution that is ideal today might not be ideal tomorrow. As such, it will be critical to have a flexible identity system that can adapt as the needs of the metaverse change. 

Ultimately, the goal should be to create an identity system that is both easy to use and secure. Only then can we hope to create a truly global identity system for the metaverse.

Daniel Saito is CEO and cofounder of StrongNode

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How to Eliminate Scheduling Inefficiencies in Your Business

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What do salons, consultancies, and home service providers all have in common? This question may seem like the prime setup for a joke, but there’s no punchline to look forward…

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Why You Should Start a Business Only While You Have a Job

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many people that I meet tell me that they dream of starting their own . I always ask them, “Then why don’t you?” They typically respond by saying that they have so many financial and personal responsibilities, that they can’t just quit their job to start a company, etc. Then I tell them my story …



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Related: How to Use Your Current Job to Start Your Next Business

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