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On Meta’s first-quarter earnings call this week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he’s not pushing the metaverse aside for artificial intelligence tech—in fact, he coined a new term, A.I. agents, that may just be the best of both worlds, as Fortune’s Kylie Robison reported this week.
These A.I. agents are obviously still in their early stages because Zuck didn’t have much to say about them other than that they’ll be “meaningful and useful,” and that they could help with customer support for some of Meta’s apps.
Yet, unlike simple chatbots, Zuckerberg wants them to have virtual bodies—and hopefully legs from the start this time—which will be where the metaverse plays in. He seemed to suggest the agents will also roam around virtual worlds.
Meta has invested heavily in avatar technology. On the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, the CEO touted the fruits of this investment by mentioning that 100 million people had already created avatars in WhatsApp after the company launched them in December. He seemed to suggest that avatars on mobile could somehow drive more people toward the company’s metaverse products.
Maybe he envisions the same thing will happen with A.I. agents? All I can picture is some sort of A.I.-powered robot à la Westworld, but in Zuck’s Horizon Worlds. I imagine we’ll see over the next few quarters whether this idea, ahem, has legs.
For now, Zuckerberg denies that he’s shifting his priorities away from the metaverse, and he has receipts: The company’s metaverse division, Reality Labs, just reported a loss of $3.99 billion, up from the $2.96 billion it lost in the same quarter a year earlier.
Yuga Labs dominates
Shifting gears to Web3, a new report by DappRadar this week shed some light on the dominance of Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs.
The company’s 16 NFT collections apparently make up just over a third of the entire NFT industry, with a total trading volume of $2 billion over the past two quarters. Its signature collection, Bored Ape Yacht Club, has the highest floor price in the industry, at 51.45 ETH, with another Yuga Labs collection, CryptoPunks, at 49.49 ETH.
BAYC remains third among the largest and most profitable NFT projects to date, with an all-time trading volume of $2.88 billion. Only CryptoPunks and Axie Infinity rank higher, according to the report.
In other news
William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, launched his own NFT collectibles this week on Orange Comet. The 3,500 unique one-of-ones are split into two collections. The William Shatner Cosmic Explorer collection includes 2,500 3D art pieces starting at $500 that feature Shatner exploring quantum physics and things like volcanoes and the “‘quiet language’ of trees.” Each comes with its own physical action figure of Shatner as Captain Kirk. Another 1,000 NFTs, priced at $100, will make up the Timeless Voyager collection, which will feature 2D art exploring the cosmos and offer in-person experiences to select buyers.
NYX Professional Makeup announced a new collection of 4,150 NFTs on OpenSea created by nine artists. Each piece is an artist’s interpretation of “a new era of beauty, building on the values of diversity, inclusion, creativity, and entertainment,” according to a statement. The artists were paid from the treasury of NYX’s recently launched DAO, the GORJS beauty DAO. NYX’s partners—OpenSea, The Sandbox, Polygon, QuestN, Infinite Objects, Hologram, and Rory Rockmore jewelry—will be offering utilities for each NFT, such as phygital art elements.
Convenience store chain QuikTrip gave away 1,000 free NFTs to commemorate the opening of its thousandth store in Converse, Texas. The NFTs were released on Wednesday and quickly minted out. Each depicts an avatar in a red QuikTrip T-shirt with randomly generated features like zany hairstyles and hats. According to Etherscan, 627 different accounts hold the NFTs that are now being resold (for affordable prices) on secondary marketplaces like OpenSea.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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