The Metaverse +AI Hype Cycle

Avi Bar-Zeev
3 min readFeb 25, 2023

Last year’s “Metaverse Hype Cycle” graph predicted [correctly] a big downswing in Metaverse hype this year. How did I know that would happen? Cyberspace. Virtual Reality. Information Superhighway.

If something doesn’t stick immediately, the next iteration of the thing likes to find a new name, to indicate newness, or else people say “not this shit again.” And one thing was for sure: we are 5+ years away from a viable “whateverse.” No one has patience for a bunch of incessant hype. If we want it, we want it now.

Did you know we used to throw goats off cliffs to carry away our sins? It’s the origin of the term ‘scapegoating.’ How silly of us to believe we can all be cleansed by throwing anyone or anything ‘off the cliff’ or ‘under the bus.’ And yet it happens constantly. One person goes to jail for an entire industry sector’s largesse (see the 2008 financial meltdown, or current crypto winter). Same with terms, it turns out. They get tainted, but can get a new life later, perhaps counter-culturally, exploiting the negative aspects.

I updated the chart above to better represent the overlapping waves of hype from VR, Metaverse, and AI separately. All dates are approximate and highly debatable. And yes, the “Chick-a-verse” is a joke, indicating the predicted “bottom” for the term “Metaverse.”

The term can still rage back into our imaginations in a few years, once things in this space work much better (see the dotted black line) — think about better networks, monetization, immersion, avatars, that work for more people and more situations. But I expect it’s more likely that people will leave the unwanted baggage of the term behind us and the next name is already bubbling up into visibility. What is it? I could only guess.

I also find it very interesting that even with the massive appropriation of diverse concepts in The Metaverse (AR, VR, Web3, Digital Twins), it didn’t ever manage to swallow AI. That speaks more to the incredible power of AI than anything else. Everyone can use it, but no one can own it, not even with something super-successful like ChatGPT.

It turns out, XR may be the best interface for AI —better than text — adding a human face and human experience to what may seem non-human. That’s mainly waiting on the same ‘uncanny valley’ that’s…

--

--

Avi Bar-Zeev

XR Pioneer (30+ years), started/helped projects at Microsoft (HoloLens), Apple, Amazon, Keyhole (Google Earth), Linden Lab (Second Life), Disney (VR), XR Guild