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June 10, 2022

Beware of the Avatar: TARTLE's Mission to Make the Metaverse Humane

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Beware of the Avatar: TARTLE's Mission to Make the Metaverse Humane


How do you understand the metaverse?

It’s on its way and it’s going to change the world. One day, you will have the power to load all of your senses into the online space. You’ll see, hear, and touch a digital landscape. And at the pace that this technology is developing right now, we may even be smelling and tasting things online as well.

The pace of innovation we are experiencing today was first made possible with Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG), especially World of Warcraft (WoW). The opportunity to charge into battle as a worgen hunter or draeneian priest captured everyone’s imagination. This was your chance to train a highly customized character in an open world with its own economic system, political controversies, and social structure.

A few years later, the next big step is taken: virtual reality headsets. You’ve effectively gone from a third-party perspective of another world to a first-person point of view. 

Preserving Humanity in the Metaverse

Before the metaverse can happen, Alexander and Jason discuss the benefits of developing augmented reality even further. It’s the next natural step in the evolution of technology; the chance to “overlay our eyeballs.”  We can swap out the physical world for a full immersion into a digital landscape. 

While this would be a massive step forward for humanity, a lack of people-centered foresight could mean that augmented reality (and subsequently, the metaverse) may become a place that brings out the worst in people. 

Imagine how emboldened trolls are on social media platforms, and then take it up a notch. Those trolls will have the same access to avatars and the metaverse that you do. They’ll hide behind the same tools that you use to connect with other people—and the scary part is that they might not have to face any penalties for their behavior.

Closing Thoughts

The TARTLE metaverse exists so that people have the opportunity to understand their self-worth. It’s a platform that treats people as empowered individuals instead of animals on a data farm.

Eventually, we will be exploring a world without physical boundaries. Amidst all these changes, we need to ensure that the technologies we develop continue to put humans first. Sign up for TARTLE through this link here.

Feature Image Credit: Envato Elements

For those who are hard of hearing – the episode transcript can be read below:


Alexander McCaig (00:07):

Okay. Metaverse, definitions. Who wrote this little white paper?

Jason Rigby (00:15):

The author's Jamie Burke from Outlier Ventures.

Alexander McCaig (00:19):


Jason Rigby (00:19):

It's the open metaverse OS. It's the title of this PDF, 34 pages we're going to go through.

Alexander McCaig (00:25):

Yeah, so everybody fucking buckle up. Here we go.

Jason Rigby (00:29):

This is a hot, hot pocket. I mean a hot topic.

Alexander McCaig (00:33):

Hot Pockets.

Jason Rigby (00:34):

Not the store that you buy your clothes from.

Alexander McCaig (00:37):

Oh shoot.

Jason Rigby (00:38):

This is the metaverse, is the hottest of the hot topics in tech right now. So we want to go through explain it. But what I want people to understand is not only we're going to talk about Tartle Metaverse.

Jason Rigby (00:52):

But what I want us to get into is a clear... I want people to understand: The metaverse is coming, and we'll be clear and concise on it, because he goes into it pretty heavily here without geeking people out. And then I'm going to take a macro approach on it, and explain the reasons why we're going through this. Explain the reasons why it's so important. And how it's going to change the world.

Alexander McCaig (01:16):

So we got to start with this. And he used this example and I've seen this film about five, maybe six times. Spielberg's always the head of the game.

Jason Rigby (01:26):


Alexander McCaig (01:27):

And he did, he did a film called Ready Player One, off of a book. And they're coming out with Ready Player two. And the idea here is that, the servers are running this... metaphysical world's not correct, this digital world, which people in a haptic feedback sense bridge themselves into. They have optical headset, they have headphones, they have sensors on their gloves, and they run on treadmills and stuff like that. So it's essentially, I'm going to take the natural functions I do in my daily world, and I'm going to capture that with these IOT devices and other things like that are hooked up to this metaverse. And I'm going to be moving an avatar in this space.

Alexander McCaig (02:14):

And other things happen in the film where, the people who run the servers, they can create and change all these different aspects about an individual's character, or the rules. Essentially it allows for complete and total creativity, and connection of people to interact through avatars.

Alexander McCaig (02:35):

Now, the earliest stages of this, and I believe they talked about it here in this paper. Were with MMORPGs. Do you know what those are? They're Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. So, I would say that this really got its fundamental start with World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft was this game where you could be like a paladin, or like a running bull or... You choose a species or a genus. And then within that, the genus has special traits, and you develop that person over time. But you take on a role, outside of your role of normal daily life, and you portray that in this highly customized character, in this massive open world.

Alexander McCaig (03:21):

So this let the foundation come into place for where we're really headed today. And within that, they had their own currencies, their own economic systems, all of this stuff that was going on. They had markets where you could buy and sell goods digitally, within this realm, this MMORPG game.

Alexander McCaig (03:38):

Now, fast forward a couple years, after this game gets released by Blizzard Entertainment, you start to get these things like virtual reality headsets. Like, hold on a second, now I don't have to look at the screen on the game, I can actually be within the game itself. So now we're taking a change of approach where I'm essentially observing this character in this metaverse as a third party. Now I become the first party in the metaverse where I'm ingesting it through first party view and all these things that are happening. And now these economic systems, I can actually feel like I'm in there being a part of that world.

Jason Rigby (04:16):

So here's my thought process on it, I love that the metaverse is happening in virtual reality. But I feel like we're missing a step that's going to happen.

Alexander McCaig (04:25):

Which is?

Jason Rigby (04:26):

Augmented reality.

Alexander McCaig (04:27):

Yeah, it's the augmentation of it.

Jason Rigby (04:28):

Because you're going to walk around with this glasses or whatever. Apple's coming out with their glasses next year, but you're going to walk around, and you're going to see people, augmented reality is instead of create these huge engines, let's augment what's here now.

Alexander McCaig (04:44):

Yeah, let's just overlay on top of it.

Jason Rigby (04:46):

Yeah, so if I'm wearing the glasses instead of seeing you while I'm walking New York city, I'm going to see everybody's avatars. And then I'm going to see the buildings are going to have billboards on them digitally, that's much easier to do.

Alexander McCaig (04:58):

Think about how much-

Jason Rigby (04:58):

Augmented reality is way easier to do than metaverse. If I go to the Louvre, I'm going to be able to look at that painting, it's going to recognize it instantly through my glasses. And then it's going to either talk to me [crosstalk 00:05:10].

Alexander McCaig (05:10):

Give me the Wikipedia page or-

Jason Rigby (05:12):

And share with me all about that painting, and give me cool facts maybe about it. And I can ask questions.

Alexander McCaig (05:17):

Everybody wants to make the jump. Like let's just go from here to full metaverse, I have an avatar, I'm doing all these things in here, my life is spent essentially evolving my avatar rather than me as an individual. All my hours are going to be through a digital perspective, and not through an actual, real physical one that we're having.

Alexander McCaig (05:40):

So you have the augmentation of our world, is going to be the smartest approach that is going to be required to be taken first, because [crosstalk 00:05:49].

Jason Rigby (05:49):

Yeah. Because you, you can do NFTs, you could have it. Well, Pokemon Go is a prime example of augmented reality.

Alexander McCaig (05:53):


Jason Rigby (05:54):

But you take that and you hundred-ex it, now what do you have? You have when you're walking down your normal street, there's prizes that corporations put out for you.

Alexander McCaig (06:02):

Fucking Pikachu is nutting on my leg. You know what I mean? Get off.

Jason Rigby (06:03):

There's NFTs. I can go home. You go to a soccer game, you can have fan tokens that are doing that now. And then if you have a certain amount of tokens, then you'll be able to see something to your glasses that other people can't see.

Alexander McCaig (06:19):

Or like, you know what'd be so cool? I have these glasses on, and I'm walking around, and there's a reported 911 call, that threat in a certain area. And it shows a red dot like, "Don't go over here, there's an issue".

Jason Rigby (06:30):

It's a warning, yeah.

Alexander McCaig (06:32):

Oh, human in distress? Everybody go over and help.

Jason Rigby (06:34):

Yeah. Or you can open your avatar up when you're at a bar or a club, and then other people can message you, that are at the bar or whatever, through that. And they could see your avatar. And then, that's going to happen, augmented reality. And Snapchat's been working on that.

Alexander McCaig (06:52):

Well, that's what they've always done. When you put a filter on your face, you're augmenting that reality. But the thing is-

Jason Rigby (06:59):

That's an avatar kind of-

Alexander McCaig (07:00):

But it's going to be inverted, because now it's you looking out. Rather than the camera staring at you giving you an image, you're looking out through the lens.

Jason Rigby (07:07):

Yeah. But it's easier, these huge engines, and they're getting so much better, these game engines, you can't even tell the difference. Like with the shadows, the clouds, and the sun. I always look at the newest game engines, when they do demos on YouTube.

Alexander McCaig (07:20):

Love it.

Jason Rigby (07:21):

I was looking at one the other day, and they had like, you could pick time of day. And they even had it, where it was? On the canyons. It would show according to GPS locations. There's no difference then that it looks so real. And then that shadow is exactly perfect, just as it would be on that canyon wall.

Alexander McCaig (07:41):

It's amazing.

Jason Rigby (07:42):

With the sun.

Alexander McCaig (07:42):

This I saw where technology was headed when I watched one film, it was called Final Fantasy: Spirits Within. And it was a massive, monumental effort, to create a full CG film, as realistic as possible. And I remember something akin that it took like a thousand server stacks of processing power just to get the strands of hair on this one individual right in a scene.

Alexander McCaig (08:14):

But now we've become so efficient in these things, and the more you would watch it, you almost forget that you're watching something CG. Does that make sense?

Jason Rigby (08:22):


Alexander McCaig (08:23):

And it's like shit, now I can't really tell the difference anymore. And I saw that so many years ago, in the early two thousands-

Jason Rigby (08:28):

Well, it's the same with Avenger movies, that's all CG.

Alexander McCaig (08:31):

No, I know, that's the point. But when you watch something, that's 100% CG, even the individual itself, the lead person, wow. And it took it's natural next step when I watched the film Alita: Battle Angel. Everything about the anatomical setup of the lead character itself, you knew it was wrong. That's not how humans actually look, but it looked so real in human.

Jason Rigby (08:57):

Whether it's Batman or somebody or Spiderman, whoever it may be, they're going to augment those characters. And it's going to be an actual actor, maybe running around doing it all, like they're doing now, but they're going to be blown up, look bigger, have a more chiseled face. And it's all going to be computer generated.

Alexander McCaig (09:15):

And here's where I guess what I'm trying to get at. The technology has been there for the augmentation of reality. And that's what's been seen, but we've always been the observer of the augmentation. We've been looking at it, it has been projected towards us, rather than us projecting out the augmentation on things and then viewing it. It's like someone's going to take reality, and bend it a little bit, and put it in a film, and then you're unsure where that line is. But now you're going to know for a fact that I'm going to augment everything I do. I'm going to overlay my world, my lens, what I see, with the processing power that's evolved over time, to frankly change the world to what I want to see within it.

Jason Rigby (09:59):

Yeah, it's funny. The other day I was watching a video of the early 1900s, and they were showing people that had never seen a movie, in a theater. And they brought them in, and this is early 1900s. Black and white old. So they were showing the people in the audience and they're all like, you know how they dress with their [crosstalk 00:10:16] everything back then.

Alexander McCaig (10:16):

I love it, yeah.

Jason Rigby (10:17):

And they're showing just waves on an ocean. People were dodging and ducking, they thought they were going to get wet, and the water was going to hit them. They were going like this.

Alexander McCaig (10:29):

But that is the flattest, most black and white, most non sensory stimulating thing. The thing is, think about us. We've become so overstimulated with all these things, we've become numb to it.

Jason Rigby (10:39):

Our evolution to technology.

Alexander McCaig (10:41):

Our evolution to technology, what's the natural next step? We got to overlay our eyeballs. The thing that everybody puts all of their weight into, in terms of how they view the world, and let's change how the brain will receive how the world is perceived.

Jason Rigby (10:54):

Yeah, and I like what he says in the foreword here, because this goes right along with Tartle. This is an amazing paragraph. I'm going to read it, and then you can talk about it.

Jason Rigby (11:00):

The parallels in the first virtual worlds we experience in gaming today and the Web more generally are striking, centralized, close, proprietary, and extractive. With shareholder supremacy over user centricity. We're giving away your time and data, in return for "free", in quotations, notice that's in quotations. Access to platforms has become normalized.

Alexander McCaig (11:25):

Yeah, the whole idea is, you work for these centralized authorities, these digital governments. That's probably how I would describe it, you working for these digital governments that are saying that you're getting a free service, but they're taking way more from you than what you get in return. That's a problem, it's designed for their benefit, but not for the person who's actually supporting that system. That model has to die, and it has to be replaced with something better.

Alexander McCaig (11:49):

So for instance, just with Tartle alone. We've used it as a clear example, it is user-centric. The user is in power, full sovereignty. They have to take responsibility, and then we put time into something that's free for them to use. They actually generate value through the work they put in, not the company itself. The user's generating real value for themselves, there's an actual return for their use. Not just saying, "Oh, I got to continue to use something for free". "Oh, well that's all well and good that I can use Snapchat for free, but does it actually do anything for me?" The slowest change we saw to that was a small portion of the world population became influencers. That's the only time that these platforms afforded them the opportunity to drive revenue, something valuable back to themselves.

Jason Rigby (12:34):

Yeah. And, I wrote this down as an affirmation yesterday, in speaking of whether it's gaming, whether it's social media or whatever. But I wrote this, "Nothing about that makes me whole". So whenever I'm doing something, like if you're on Wikipedia, and you're studying, that's great. If you're on social media, and you're engaging people, and you're helping people with human trafficking or whatever, maybe that's great. But we have to take this premise of, they're already having problems in the metaverse. These new metaverse decentralized systems. This lady complained because somebody groped her, in the metaverse.

Alexander McCaig (13:15):

Wait a minute, in the metaverse?

Jason Rigby (13:16):

In this new metaverse that they have, it's on. You can look it up. So now there's filters that you could put, where no one can touch you and stuff like that. You can put where you're not being seen, and all that stuff.

Jason Rigby (13:27):

So you still, and we'll get into this, but it's humans interacting with other humans.

Alexander McCaig (13:36):

Yeah, and you're going to probably see the worst. Because now they have-

Jason Rigby (13:41):

Look at Twitter, I don't talk that way to you.

Alexander McCaig (13:44):


Jason Rigby (13:44):

And you don't talk that way to other people, and if you get somebody that's just hamming people on Twitter. If you got those two people together in a room, they would talk totally different.

Alexander McCaig (13:53):

Completely different.

Jason Rigby (13:54):

When you put an avatar on somebody, and they can hide behind something, and there's no penalties.

Alexander McCaig (13:59):

They hide behind the Twitter badge.

Jason Rigby (14:00):

Yeah, but I mean in a metaverse, you don't know who I am, but I can touch your butt. Let's say for instance.

Alexander McCaig (14:06):

No, I know. And well, listen-

Jason Rigby (14:08):

You're going to get the worst of people.

Alexander McCaig (14:10):

It's like you're giving avatars to all the trolls on YouTube, that's tough. And there will be a massive learning curve. And then, we'll probably see, as more people adopt this metaverse thing, they're going to throw a regulation at it. The second, the first lawsuit comes out that my avatar was wrongfully whatever-

Jason Rigby (14:37):

Used or whatever.

Alexander McCaig (14:38):

It doesn't matter what it is. Something wrongfully happened to someone who put in all this time in a service. And someone's was abusing the nature of it. It's going to change this whole thing.

Jason Rigby (14:49):

Well, I mean, we have troll farms now. In these different countries, whether we're doing it, or other countries, it doesn't matter. But it's like, "Oh, okay, there's 200 avatars that got built to troll on whatever country that the other country doesn't like".

Alexander McCaig (15:03):

I don't think we should jump in the extremes of the metaverse yet.

Jason Rigby (15:07):

No, but Tim Sweeney, this quote that's in this is really good. He says that, "This metaverse is going to be far more pervasive and powerful than anything else. If one central company gains control of this, they'll become more powerful than any government, and be a God on Earth".

Alexander McCaig (15:23):

Let's explain how you even get to that point or that comment. If it is a low friction adoption, and allows people complete creativity and self identity, it can't not work. And if one person nails that structure first well, it's game over, they're going to control it all. And what's funny is that this whole idea, this metaverse, this user centricity, if one company does it well... Well, how are they actually doing it? With the onset of essentially decentralized systems. It still has to sit on a server somewhere. Someone's still got to host it. It's not just one that wins, it's who's the one that's supporting them. They're the only person like they're writing the narrative, but somebody's selling the pickax to mine the gold.

Alexander McCaig (16:17):

So it's interesting that when I see all these decentralized systems come out, you can philosophically be decentralized, but look at the problems recently that have been happening with just AWS servers. They're down constantly. There's such a great reliance on very centralized server systems. They have to be there. And then people are also relying on the people laying the fiber. Xfinity knows, Verizon knows, Google Fiber knows, the power is how the information is actually moved back and forth.

Jason Rigby (16:48):

A 100%.

Alexander McCaig (16:49):

Everyone's like, "Let's focus on what the avatar looks like". Well, hold on here, that's not where you would say the godlike thing is.

Jason Rigby (16:57):

No, not at all.

Alexander McCaig (16:58):

It's the person who throttles how that information is moved. That's where control sits.

Jason Rigby (17:04):

That makes sense, yes.

Alexander McCaig (17:05):

Smart resource holders have always known that. They're first to have the information, and they're the ones to control it when they choose to do so.

Jason Rigby (17:14):

And I think what we need to really look at, is when we look at this, is, does this make humanity hold? Does this help humanity? Whether Facebook has it, Google has it, whoever, everybody's eyeing for it, and I think it will, I think it's going to be forced to be decentralized.

Jason Rigby (17:38):

And maybe you could speak on this, and we'll close. Because this was more of the introduction to the metaverse, and then the next podcast we're going to do a definition of the metaverse.

Jason Rigby (17:45):

But this is why I love Tartle so much. It's helping humanity. So the Tartle Metaverse is about having humanity be at its best. And, what does that look like with Tartle? And for me, and you can give your definition of this. What it looks like for Tartle is, people understanding their self worth, not being farmed, but understanding that each person, no matter if you live in Australia, or New Zealand, or United States, or Africa, doesn't matter. That you're a valuable human being, that you have responsibilities for being put on this planet, and that we're all put to work, we're all put to help each other and serve each other. And that's the Tartle's platform.

Alexander McCaig (18:34):

Yeah, you're a 100% correct. I think we are more in line. I think we, and I'm going to say this right now. We were the OG metaverse. And I'll tell you why. The definition of meta, metaphysical, anything like that, is essentially this unseen world. A metaphor, it's something to speak about something to define it, that is reflective of it in a different format. That's not currently seen, but you can still understand it. Tartle is a function of human thought. So this meta sense, is thought, that's what it is. Thought drives it all. And the value of what we're doing as human beings, comes from our thoughts, thoughts drive those actions. And I'm sure some person's going to be like, "No, evolutionary actions happen first. You don't have to think about it". Bullshit and I'll fight you on all day long.

Alexander McCaig (19:27):

The idea here is that, the definition of how you define something as meta, is going to be and it has to be thought driven. But if we just say, let's just take our physical identity, and appropriate it to an avatar, and say, "That's the metaverse, and that's going to be beneficial". It won't. We need to look at it in the sense that we are defining it with thought. And then when it's freely joined with no friction, user-centric designed, and they are doing this for their benefit to actually receive a real gain, not a gain in the metaverse, but a gain that truly helps them in the physical, that's when you're doing the right thing. And that's how a metaverse should be defined, not for the benefit of the digital, but for the benefit of the human being.

Speaker 3 (20:17):

Thank you for listening to Tartlecast, with your hosts, Alexander McCaig and Jason Rigby, where steps into the future, and source data defines the path. What's your data worth?