Web3 and the metaverse—which were the hot topics at last year’s conference—were all but unheard of at SXSW 2023. What was everyone talking about in their place? AI.
In fact, in the featured session titled “How AI and the Metaverse will Shape Society,” keynote speaker Ian Beacraft only gave the metaverse the briefest of mentions. And even then, Beacraft attributed the future success of the metaverse to AI: “The metaverse needs AI to become what it’s going to become,” the Signal and Cipher CEO and chief futurist proclaimed.
“Every aspect of life is going to be sort of amplified by this technology,” Greg Brockman, cofounder and president of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, said in another session on the impact of generative AI. “It’s going to be a tool, just like the cell phone in your pocket.”
And while there were countless sessions on generative AI, the discussions went far beyond its immediate creative potential. “It’s not just about creating with AI. It’s about relating to AI,” Beacraft said. “We’re actually going to have some sort of relationship with it,” he said, which will ultimately lead to “interactions where we can’t tell the difference between a human and an AI.”