The metaverse has taken the world by storm, or at least talked about it, as there wasn’t much in the way of a true mainstream metaverse except maybe Second Life, but that came out 20 years ago. However, it can most likely be said that the metaverse was not created in a day, so it is possible that all of these allegedly life-altering platforms are still in development.
Take Teraverse for example. This virtual space is still in its early stages of development by the Institute for the Future of Society at Kyoto University and Teraverse. However, unlike other metaverses, Teraverse focuses solely on introducing Buddhism into the modern world.
This is the time to point out that Tera is the Japanese word for Buddhist temple, and as such aims to host offshoots of real temples in virtual space, thus getting rid of the constraints of the physical world such as space and time. According to a press release image, temples of all shapes and sizes can be made in the Teraverse and visitors can fly all over the place and examine them… They also obviously shoot lasers at their faces, which is pretty cool.
This is a really cool feature and is especially great for temples in remote locations suffering from low population. But it’s also important to note that “tera” in “Teraverse” is also a reference to the prefix “tera-” which stands for a factor of one trillion and is used in arithmetic terms like “terabyte”.
This may indicate that Teraverse also aims to be a powerful digital land of enlightenment. Hints on this can also be seen in the Tera Platform AR v1.0 highlight: Buddhabot!
Buddhabot is an AI-powered AR Buddha trained on the Sutta Nipata and Dhammapada Buddhist scriptures using Google’s machine learning BERT algorithm. Users can ask a question to Buddhabot and he will respond with advice based on actual Buddhist teachings.
Professor Seiji Kumagai of Kyoto University said of the platform: “With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russo-Ukrainian war, more and more people are feeling pressure in the real world. The Buddhist virtual space we started, Teraverse and Tera Platform AR Ver. Version 1.0, as a prototype, New ways to integrate traditional knowledge and science. As an option in today’s diverse society, we hope to bring people healing and pleasure, create new vitality and new hope, and achieve a more vibrant society.”
▼ Even if Budapest people ask some modern-day questions, scholars and monks can handle fine-tuning the algorithm.
Unfortunately, both Buddhabot and Teraverse are not yet open to the public. At the moment, they need more development and security, especially since they deal with religious icons and open the door to whole new forms of desecration. Although it is coming, and in the process it teaches us the importance of patience.
Source: Kyoto University via CNET Japan
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