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EP.9: Professor Udi Shapiro - Building a Democratic Metaverse
As the metaverse takes shape, large technology companies are investing billions of dollars in an attempt to maintain walled gardens and protect their profit pools from the current era of the Internet. Blockchain is emerging as a key enabler of an open, decentralized and more equal metaverse but holds other challenges given the involvement of crypto currencies. Our special guest for this episode was Professor Udi Shapiro with whom we had a fascinating conversation about building a democratic, egalitarian metaverse.
Udi is an interdisciplinary scientist, Internet pioneer, artist, and proponent of e-democracy. He has been with the Weizmann Institute of Science since completing his PhD at Yale University in 1982. You can find his latest research on e-democracy and the metaverse, here.
In 1993, Udi founded Ubique Ltd., the first internet social network start-up which launched Virtual Places 1.0, a social networking/2D metaverse application with 2D avatars on web pages, providing instant messaging, chat rooms, joint web surfing, online events and games, and integrated voice-over IP. This was well before Facebook was founded and two and a half decades before it announced its interest in the metaverse. He sold Ubique to America Online, performed a management buyout, and then sold it again in 1998 to IBM, where its technology was the basis of Sametime, IBM's successful corporate network communication and collaboration product.
Our conversation focused on Prof. Shapiro’s long-term ambition to develop from the ground up a network of autonomous, people-owned and democratically-governed digital communities - namely a democratic metaverse.
Into The Metaverse podcast covers companies, technologies and trends that are bringing this promise to life. Matthew Kanterman (formerly Senior Analyst at Bloomberg) and myself, Yonatan Raz-Fridman (founder & CEO of Supersocial) interview the brilliant minds building, shaping and investing in the metaverse.
Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.