The creation and use of avatars isn’t a new concept, however with the growth and development in the MetaVerse and technology, they are getting better. Back in May 2020 I wrote a post about “Avatars – My Digital Selfie“, covering several avatar options and showed examples of different avatars across them. Two things came to my news feed recently that have made me re look at this topic. Firstly the news that Microsoft is closing down AltSpaceVR on the 10th March and users can now download their data before the platform closes. and secondly an email telling me of the new experiences being developed using Ready Player Me.
The explosion of MetaVerse and SocialVerse platforms is seeing lots of new platforms and older ones being shutdown, replaced or upgraded for new user experiences as well as supporting developments in technologies. Loosing AltSpaceVR is loosing a bit of nostalgia for me, but on with newer things as Microsoft are concentrating on Mesh and on October last year introduced Microsoft Mesh Avatars in Teams in preview.
I’m not going to republish all of my avatars again (see my previous post for that), however the image in this post is my Ready Player Me avatar. This can be used across a wide range of platforms, some of which I haven’t come across yet and probably won’t use, but its good to understand they are there.
Being able to use the same avatar across multiple platforms does have advantages and allows a single identity to be maintained. The amount of platforms that can or will adopt an avatar will be down to standards, cost and compatibility. Not every platform may operate at the same resolution or speed.
Whilst avatars are good fun and allow you to be represented in the virtual world by a set of pixels that look like you, there are a few draw backs (things not yet developed) that still need addressing.
Security – How easy is it to create an avatar? it’s not hard. How easy is it to create and avatar of somebody else? again its not hard. So whats stopping someone else mimicking you on a platform – nothing. This is an area that is in need of development and thinking. Although this is not a massive market at the moment, there are some questions that need considering. Here is my point of view on these.
- Should there be a form of authentication that accompanies an avatar? – Yes, 2FA and an ID key embedded into the avatar. An avatar ID watermark to confirm its the actual person who is using it.
- Should there be legislation covering false or identity theft using avatars? – Most probably, look at what is happening with deepfakes at the moment.
- Should there be any specific legislation on avatar creation and detail? Maybe – This is an interesting one as avatars are getting better and becoming more lifelike. Yes there are virtual people systems today that can replicate a human without much error, but in this instance I am talking about standard avatars for everyone. Look at all the press around facial recognition. Would a system identifying a lifelike avatar be classed in a similar vane?
Avatars is an area to watch as they develop further. Do you have a view on these questions?