In the future, everyone has a sidekick.
If movies like Star Wars, Wall-E, or The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy teach us anything, it's that at some point, we're supposed to have a digital companion, one that’s not only along for the ride but knows us more intimately than practically anyone else. That's exactly what Dimension Studio is building with Metashima.
Metashima is a virtual artificial intelligence companion built by Dimension Studio’s Yush Kalia and Simon Windsor, whose credits include Balenciaga, Sony, and Disney. Initially sold as 4,720 NFTs, Metashima hopes to expand its reach into movies, comics, and other forms of world-building IP both virtual and physical.
“Yush and I have been working in mixed reality as baby steps toward the metaverse for about 10 years,” Windsor told Highsnobiety. “In 2010, we launched one of the first augmented reality platforms for the iPhone 3 and first-gen iPad. We used to have to explain the technology to clients and paint a picture of the future.”
Though tablets and smartphones don’t require much explanation now, the future of how we use them to move between virtual and physical worlds is still a sandbox.
In fact, Windsor and Kalia got the inspiration for Metashima when pondering the potential of mixed realities. With technologies like AR filters becoming more mainstream, bringing together a mix of emerging tech with an artificial intelligence sidekick seemed practical.
“In the future, the metaverse means a mixed reality experience,” Windsor added.
“You’d have that virtual companion and intelligence that would travel with you and give new utilities, augmenting your own human capabilities.”
When asking what’s the difference between this and other virtual assistants like Alexa, Dimension Studio pointed to personalization as a crucial part of the experience.
“Our vision for it is to be a two-way intelligent relationship.” said Kalia.
“When using things like Alexa at home, it’s ‘ask a question, get a standard response.’ Metashima lives in an environment with AI. We want it to learn your behavior, what you’re interested in, different aspects of your personality, or how you’ve engaged with it in the past. That way it doesn’t become a one-way interaction.”
To personalize artificial intelligence for mixed reality, Dimension Studio looks at Metashima as a physical product first. Customization is key: owners will be able to train Metashima to help it get better at things both IRL and online.
For example, Metashima may study how you play video games and give pointers on how to improve. As the project was built on Unreal (the same 3D engine used for Fortnite and The Witcher), interoperability is another big point of focus.
For the first phase of development, Metashima will solely be online, with the first goal of being able to move between digital worlds, which with the inclusion of AI, could be a catalyst for onboarding more people into the metaverse.
“We’re big sci-fi fans. We grew up with Dr. Who, Star Wars, iRobot, classic Pixar stuff like Wall-E, and everything else in between. It’s very difficult to achieve those sci-fi aspirations in a physical world, but in a virtual world, it’s totally possible for us to conceive and create robot companions that have AI.”
Although it’ll be some time before we have CP30 by our side, Metashima provides a virtual companion that actually gives a damn about how you’re feeling. As we spend more time in inorganic digital spaces, Metashima’s personal touch will feel more and more essential.