We interview Executive Director Gabriel René of Verses, a revolutionary organization applying the underlying concepts of the world wide web to the real world around us and laying the foundation for a future in which everyone can be Tony Stark.
More info: https://www.verses.io/
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Alexander Ferguson 0:00
In this episode of UpTech, Report, AI interview Gabriel Rene, Executive Director at Verses, a revolutionary organization, applying the underlying concepts of the World Wide Web, to the real world around us, laying the foundation in which everyone can be Tony Stark. Thank you so much, Gabriel, for joining us to share your thoughts on kind of upcoming technologies. Where are we going? And vs. Tell me first off, there’s vs foundation and vs. Labs. How did it start? What was the concept there?
Gabriel René 0:33
Ironically, the the concept is the outgrowth of a lot of sci fi that happened in the 80s and 90s. That was around the cyberpunk era, which started to discuss things like the metaverse, which is more or less, as the web was really emerging, there was an idea of a three dimensional version of the web. You’ve seen this and sort of like Ready Player One, the oasis in the matrix is kind of another version of that. But this is the idea of the sort of the kinder gentler version of those both sort of a AR version of our information. And in instead of being behind screens, it’s in the world, it’s placed on objects, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s related to people, and then all the sort of interactions and transactions that happen around that. And then I would say, the instructions themselves and sort of the How to the wiki, both like the, if you think of like a wiki earth, for every person, place and thing, the information isn’t on a screen, that’s kind of like the thing that you’re you’re looking at or interacting with. And then all the permissions and interaction rules. So in a way, it’s an evolution of, of the web, in the world where we take the concept of HTTP linking pages and media in tax, and instead, we link people places and things and transactions. And we call this the spatial web. So the idea of vs was really spawned from from work we started doing in the early 90s. And in the last two and a half years, as blockchain and other technologies, including a lot of spatial computing emerged, we saw this convergence of these technologies with AI and IoT, and suddenly realized it was quite possible to do and then invented a way to do it.
Alexander Ferguson 2:22
So you say you’ve invented a way to do it. Okay, the concept of in the 80s, you saw this future where all these things could connect and technologies here now, what is it that you have invented,
Gabriel René 2:36
Alexander Ferguson 5:14
It’s both the ability to interact with computing in a new way, as well as being able to trust what you see by linking it to real world things. Am I did I?
Gabriel René 5:24
That was beautiful. And I would like to use that.
Alexander Ferguson 5:28
But I interesting boy, so you’re trying to create a new standard, if I look at your website versus foundation trying to create a new protocol and standard, yes, that people will follow
Gabriel René 5:38
HD HTTP is is, you know, one of the most widely adopted standards, it’s an open, Worldwide Web Foundation and supports that standard maintain.
Alexander Ferguson 5:48
You’re trying to compete with the worldwide web, you could say,
Gabriel René 5:51
No, what I’m saying is that the World Wide Web doesn’t compete with ICANN, who sets up the domain names or,
Alexander Ferguson 5:58
but HTTP UI.
Gabriel René 6:00
No, HTTP is about linking pages, linking people places and things in the physical world. So HTTP is literally Hypertext Transfer Protocol we’ve come up with is hyperspace transaction protocol. It’s about interactions in space. So the internet is here, the World Wide Web sits on top, the spatial web sits on top of that there’s entirely compatible they can be used together, but they serve different functions, connecting computers, connecting pages connecting things in the world.
Alexander Ferguson 6:28
What would you say prime industries or companies that can benefit right now from what you’re describing is the spatial web this this next layer that you could utilize.
Gabriel René 6:41
So different industries have different motivations and different concerns. So the ones that are very interested in using Blockchain, for example, tend to be the supply chain and logistics folks. So there’s sort of almost a split there on the outside tracking objects from point A to point B, which is really spatial tracking of objects. They’re very interested in blockchain and their massive initiatives. And there’s, there’s there’s organizations like bitta, Blockchain, and transportation Alliance, that have FedEx, and UPS and DHL and VPN for, I don’t know, hundreds of companies all trying to figure out how do we come up with standards for for traceability, because often these companies are working together, and they’re handing things off to each other. So standards around that are important. Inside of those buildings, giant warehouses, you know, millions of square feet, or ports, they have operational activities, where do I find this box, literally, a warehouse picker walking around, you know, million square feet, trying to locate a box, by looking at a number that’s nine digit code on on a little screen, and then trying to find that in space, we’re able to create AR applications that route them specifically to those things. When we move box A to location, you know, be a spatial transaction occurs, a spatial contract that is completed, you can easily see how the insides of things and the outsides of things and the traceability between those, both blockchain and augmented reality in that case, are a perfect combination. At the moment, those are, those are thought of as discretely unrelated technologies. But immediately, you can see that the traceability at a both a macro and a micro scale are important. And being able to do that digital thread that then creates that provenance all the way through is critical to all future supply chain and logistics companies. Because people want to know, is this a fair trade product? Is it organic, you know, what kind of labor was used with it. And as those values have become become more and more important, and the trust around? are the products that we get these days, especially, you know, sort of millennial focused values, I would say, have risen to the surface, that the industries are chasing solutions down.
Alexander Ferguson 8:55
I see the vision of where you’re trying it, where you’re heading and what you’re painting. How far along are we have you actually done an implementation of this spatial Web? Do you have a client that’s already using it in their warehouse for logistics?
Gabriel René 9:10
Yeah, actually, we just deployed that this month. And it’s, it’s pretty. It’s pretty mind boggling to experience. We’ve done it for both iPhone where you’re looking through the phone instead of out the phone, and you’re following arrow right to the box, then you fall out the next one. Additionally, we have a we were magically, we received a grant from magically, as part of the Creator program, they saw what we were doing and said, Hey, can you guys do a version of this that works in the headset? So we bought we have two implementations of that one’s more practical for today. The other is, I think, an indication of what the future is. It’s actually pretty staggering to see that how much faster you can perform by looking through the screen than at the screen and following the arrow to the box, but then how much faster you can perform and how much more confident we watch these guys. walk when their hands are free, and they’re just following an arrow, I mean, it’s, I, I expect to get a test pretty soon where we can take someone off the street, put them in to the warehouse with someone who’s been working there for, you know, two years, and let the normal warehouse worker compete with the other person who’s basically augmented with the glasses. And I’m quite confident that the the person off the street will out. Pick, the veteran
Alexander Ferguson 10:27
gave a great example of, of business use case, right? You know, distribution and logistics right here in that, but what about a consumer? We’re a little ways away from that describe, again, the use case of spatial evidence, why the importance of interacting, communicating?
Gabriel René 10:47
Right, so this is what I call the stark occation of reality. That means we watch Marvel movies and in Iron Man, and we get to see Tony Stark, one of the great things that they they visualize for us, is the relationship between all these different technologies working in a beautiful and seamless way, for you know, a very, very compelling billionaire. So we think, Oh, well, what is sci fi to these rich, of course, he has stuff, but everyone’s gonna have that this is going to be like as common as you know, a smartphone today, or, you know, if everyone will have this sort of combination of AI, which is can be in your home, right? It’s seeing you through multiple cameras in the house. So it computer vision, it’s got its own personality, you can run through different filters, robots that will be in the home. I know, we’re fast forwarding here a little bit, can be communicating with the AI. And so you’ve got, you know, IoT devices, sensors, you’ve got, you’ve got computer vision, you’ve got AI. And then within any sort of space, what we call a spatial domain, which is like a web domain, but instead it’s it’s like, it could be your house. A subdomain is a room. So you know, I’m in I’m in the library right now, in my house, and I might have a favorite pet. Now, I can tell the house AI, hey, can you get my pen? Let’s say I’m in the den, I want to sign something. And I always do it with my special signing pen. Well, computers in an AI have been tracking which pen he uses for that kind of thing, because you can do behavioral tracking, and gave all these sciences important contracts, you know, with with his with his favorite signature pen. So I basically go like, hey, Jarvis, can you tell Dum Dum, the robot with the arm to go in and get my favorite pen, my signing pen and bring it to me in the den. So the den has its own spatial domain address sales and ID the, the, this this room, you know, the library has its has its own spatial domain, its ID, the pen has its own ID, dum dum, the robot has its own ID. Because I don’t want the other robot to do it. Because he’s on probation. He’s relegated to the garage. And so I tell Jarvis Jarvis, please go get my pen, dum dum comes in here, picks up this pen, which is you know, located with 20 other pens, computer vision can see it, he grabs it, it navigates using the dimensions of the environment, computer vision, point cloud data inside an environment, knowing where everything’s been moved in brings it to me without dropping it. Because if he drops it, it’s time out for you. Right?
Alexander Ferguson 13:32
So it’s almost understanding the the tools that are coming up. And the convergence, as you say, of how it all work together. So when you start to look at when a business owner, or a business starts to look at the problems they’re trying to solve and say, Okay, how can we solve this problem, especially when it comes to integrating something physical in the world? And then the digital side? You’re saying is this is something technology need to be aware of how it can converge together?
Gabriel René 13:56
Yeah, because right now, the number one problem every physical business has, and if you’re just running, you’re just pixel pushing or, or moving stuff from a spreadsheet, data spreadsheet, the it’s banking, this is not the solution for you keep using HTTP and do whatever the heck you’re doing. If you have physical operations in the world at scale, I guarantee your administration is on a piece of paper or on a screen. And so you’re so the idea is that operations administration have to be in the same reality in order to get the exponential benefits of whatever modular tools or technologies you don’t want to put on AI to go faster. Well, is it looking at this stuff or is looking at this stuff? That translation between those two, that’s where your, your core cost is the number one cost in the world is translating information and the world and instructions back and forth. So that’s, that’s really the key is is start to think about what is what is the concept of spatial operations. Number two, pick up our book, or book the spatial webs coming out on Amazon This weekend, September 2, and the book outlines the applications and implications for businesses or individuals, for governments for cities, talks about the risks and issues we’ve had with web 2.0, how to try to avoid those going forward, it’s really a sort of roadmap for any business, to be able to get a really good sense of how these powerful exponential technologies are going to impact their business. And what happens when you drop in something like spatial web protocol that starts to connect those and give you even more power. So there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with power. We all know this from Spider Man. And the reason that it’s true, I mean, they just, you know, and, and so this, the spatial web book really tried to try and provide that roadmap, it also articulates in detail, the technical implementation, and it’s sort of the business readers level, as opposed to a highly technical level of exactly how this solution is architected, and design. And ultimately, it isn’t about versus or isn’t about us. Most people don’t know about the World Wide Web Foundation, they don’t know anything about Tim Berners. Lee, you know, 15 years from now, no one should know anything about me or us or vs specifically, but they should all be very familiar with the spatial web, they should be able to use these technologies for themselves. And even then, ultimately, the development and working groups and refinement of these technologies become like a public, you know, public utility. That’s what the web is today, we want to maintain that we don’t want corporations and governments to control it. So this is a this is an important step. But ultimately, it’s not about us, it’s about you.
Alexander Ferguson 16:38
With the hard launch or the the main launch happening. 2020. Where do you see in five years from now? What do you think is realistic that both the the spatial web, and then for your own business for vs. Lab, where do you want to be?
Gabriel René 16:54
So five years from now, let’s, let’s recognize that there’s an interface change that’s coming. And that the largest companies in the world are spending billions of dollars on a new interface. And it’s not a phone, it’s not a tablet, it’s not a little black mirror you hold in your hand, it’s a pair of glasses that you’d look through, whether it’s tethered to the phone, the fidelity of those, the, you know, the field of vision, all that stuff is being worked on. But But I think we all, as many of us remember flip phones before there was any screen at all. And now the whole thing is a screen. So you know, in a period of 10 to 15 years, you will have an entire transition to glasses. So let’s let’s say 12 years, so five years from now, you’re going to have a version two or version three of an apple headset. So consumers will be using this technology in the in the 10s of millions. At the industrial level, and at the government level at the smart city scale. This will probably be adopted by the majority of Fortune 1000 companies, if not in five years. By 10 years from now, you’ll you’ll be out of business. So I’m gonna have we’ve seen this before, like every you know, no one, Google. You know, my didn’t predict Google. Google didn’t didn’t predict Facebook. You know, Facebook didn’t predict Uber and Postmates. And you know, every time there’s a new sort of core set of technologies, entire new companies come and go from zero to a trillion dollars, right. We’re going to continue to see that trend that’s not going to stop now. Some somebody watching this talk today will be in a position to become the next the next Jeff Bezos, you know the next, the next Elon Musk.
Alexander Ferguson 18:37
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