PlayStation creator and former head of Sony’s gaming division, Ken Kutaragi, didn’t like how the metaverse came to be. For him, there is a divisive potential to transform the real world into a virtual one.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the Japanese engineer said he “sees no purpose,” which is to say, he sees no point in turning the already existing physical world into a “clean” virtual version.
“Would you rather be your wax figure than yourself? It’s no different from the mechanics of anonymous internet forums,” said Kutaragi, who advocates a different approach to technology: holograms.
The PlayStation creator is currently the CEO of Tokyo-based Ascent Robotics. It is an artificial intelligence startup that recently received 1 billion yen (38.3 million reais) in funding from Sony itself and Japanese group SBI Holdings.
similar but different
The technology Ascent has been developing has similar goals to the Metaverse, but not the same. Kutaragi describes the work as “his life’s mission”: to combine the real world and cyberspace without using devices to mediate between them.
The idea is to have Ascent’s robotic system virtually read real-world objects, and it can replicate them in the form of holograms.
In this way, engineers intend to create more versatile robots that can perform multiple tasks and produce more than one product. Ascent’s target audience is customers in the logistics and retail sectors, who handle many objects and can use robots to perform the most tiring tasks.
According to the interview, Kutaragi in particular foresees a revolution in e-commerce, presenting real products in the form of holograms, changing today’s online shopping experience based solely on photos and videos of products.
“Headphones are annoying”
Big tech companies like Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Group, Apple and PlayStation itself, which Kutaragi helped create, are developing immersive devices so virtual worlds can be explored.
Typically, these devices are “headsets,” or virtual reality glasses. But Ken Kutaragi is against the use of such equipment.
“Headphones isolate you from the real world, and I can’t agree with that,” he told the report. “Headphones are annoying.”
As such, the engineer emphasized that his startup is moving in the opposite direction. “Today’s robots don’t have the software and sensors that humans have in understanding real life, and our short-term goal is to provide solutions for this,” he said.
For him, it’s necessary to teach robots to create “all kinds of things, not just countless units of the same thing,” which means deepening their understanding of them.
With Ascent’s holographic technology, it can also allow people to recreate remote encounters as if they were there — without the need for a virtual world or headset.