Metavers: the promise of immortality?

Shopping, attending a concert, carrying out administrative procedures… The metaverse is full of possibilities. The latest: interacting with the avatars of deceased musicians like Notorious BIG An initiative not so new as it seems…

Live forever. The theme has been regularly explored by science fiction, notably in 1994 in The city of rotations by Greg Egan. The Australian novelist imagines a future where it is possible to save all the neural connections of the human brain and make them evolve in a virtual environment. The rich use this technology to make digital copies of themselves, and thus become immortal.

Reality seems to have caught up with fiction thanks to the metaverse, this digital lining of the physical world populated by avatars of anonymous people and celebrities. Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton have theirs, as will soon Notorious BIG The New York rapper, murdered on March 9, 1997 at the age of 25, will come back to life in the form of a hyper-realistic avatar.

This new incarnation of the legendary musician will evolve into The Brook, a metaverse recreating 90s Brooklyn. It was created by start-ups Burst and Surreal Events to allow music lovers to immerse themselves in “the universe of one of the greatest MC’s of all time – The Notorious BIG”. “Step into his world and experience old-school Brooklyn and the roots of hip-hop culture like you never imagined”can we read on the official website of the initiative.

The Brook will officially launch at the end of the year, although Notorious BIG fans will be able to preview it by purchasing NFTs or tickets on Ticketmaster. These non-fungible tokens, put on sale from June 3, will also allow them to access exclusive services of this metaverse such as virtual concerts.

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A path to immortality?

It’s a safe bet that other deceased musicians will come back to life in the metaverse. Some, like Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson and Ray Charles have already been resurrected through holograms. This technology was notably used in the spring of 2012 during the closing concert of the Coachella festival. On this occasion, American rapper Tupac performed two titles alongside his former comrades, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.

If some imagined that the use of holograms would become widespread in the world of entertainment, it remains however quite marginal. The reason: the very high cost of such services. Both Tupac songs cost between $100,000 and $400,000 to produce, according to information from MTV News.

Using an avatar is much less expensive. Count 0.18 ether (around €330) for one of the 6888 virtual models from The Guardians of Fashion, a talent agency based in the metaverse. This investment can be amortized by involving these top models of a new genre in virtual fashion shows or music videos.

The possibilities offered by the metaverse seem endless. So much so that some think they find a way to immortality there. This is the case of Artur Sychov, the CEO and founder of Somnium Space. His dad’s sudden death from cancer served as the inspiration for Live Forever, one of his startup’s future features. The principle is simple: users can store their movements and conversations in the form of data on the platform, then duplicate them to make an avatar of them. This clone would talk, behave and think like them, even after they died.

For Artur Sychov, this functionality would make it possible to create a perfect copy of a biological being. “Literally, if I die — and my data has been collected — people will be able to come, or my children can come and have a conversation with my avatar, which will have my body language, my voice.”he explained to the magazine Vice. “In fact, we will really be able to meet the person. Maybe even for the first ten minutes, we will simply not guess that it is an AI. That’s the goal”. Could this eventually make it possible to recreate an individual’s consciousness? Only the future will tell.

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