Eye on AI - February 4th, 2022
Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!
We’ll be looking into how luxury brands are positioning for big profits with virtual goods this week, then transitioning to the sea as we dive into a new AI that finds communication patterns in thousands of hours of fish recordings.
Luxury Brands Aiming for Big Profits in Digital Goods
To begin, let’s break down a common misinterpretation about metaverses: how brands use it to make money. Already we’re seeing examples of brands and people profiting from digital real estate or digital experiences within metaverses like Sandbox and Decentraland. Less obvious is how digital goods will be exchanged. According to futurist Bernard Marr, in his recent Forbes article “How Luxury Brands Are Making Money in the Metaverse,” it’s the digital luxury space that will drive future profits for many luxury brands.
“In the new frontier of the metaverse – a persistent, shared virtual world that users can access through different devices and platforms – avatars are everything,” writes Marr. “And that means some users will pay big bucks to outfit their avatar with luxury goods.”
If you grew up playing role-playing games (RPGs) –– Zelda, World of Warcraft, Clash of Clans, or Call of Duty, for instance –– you may remember how you could purchase or earn certain goods, then wear them as a sort of badge of honor within the games that friends or players could admire. Often, you can purchase these goods in lieu of earning them. The same is true within metaverses. One of the biggest differences is that within metaverses, luxury brands can insert their own goods for users to earn, purchase, resell, etc., which users can take with them as they move between metaverses.
The benefit to luxury brands producing digital goods is broad, from eliminating overstock and supply chain to gaining higher margins on goods produced. For these reasons, brands like Gucci, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, and others have already produced digital goods that are exchanged through NFTs, and why Morgan Stanley recently predicted that the digital goods marketplace will grow to $50B by 2030. Brands not yet producing digital goods will want to hop on the train soon. The marketplace is booming and will likely only grow from here.
New ML Model Helps Scientists Understand Fish Sounds
In non-metaverse-related news, researchers in American Samoa are using ML to develop a new model that allows them to listen to and interpret thousands of hours of fish sounds without disturbing delicate marine habitats, according to the article “Here's how scientists are using machine learning to listen to fish.”
“I get to spy on critters in the ocean, without disturbing them," said marine ecology researcher Jill Munger. "When you're a diver you disturb the wildlife as you swim through, so you don't get to witness what they are doing when you're not there."
Using a software-created spectrogram, which is a visual readout of the noise, in conjunction with the model, Munger and others were able to find patterns within 18,000 hours of previously indistinguishable underwater sounds, eventually determining that many of the sounds were actually coming from fish. Sound patterns varied depending on the time of day and species, many of them distinctive and relatable to the varying purrs of a cat or moos of a cow.
“The machine learning sample or training data included 400 to 500 damselfish calls,” writes ABC News contributor Katherine Gammon. “With that start, Herrera, a co-author of the paper, built a machine learning model that accurately identified 94% of damselfish calls.”
This type of research could help us better understand the dynamics of previously unknown underwater ecosystems, which will better inform researchers how sea populations are adapting to changing environments. Expect this type of model to be more widely used by marine biologists in the future.
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