As a human being, it’s in our nature to try and leave something behind and have a legacy. Whether it be a tomb, a monument, some artwork, or other accomplishments, we all want to be remembered in some way when we’re gone. But while this desire for a legacy could turn irrational, there is one sound alternative that we have always considered to be just an element of sci-fi. If creating a digital representation of ourselves was possible then we could make them a living relic of yourself and it may even be able to become “yourself.” While this sounds a bit unrealistic, there are some people who claim otherwise, such as Alex Roy, the founder & CEO of EverLife.AI at Beers & Pitch, who wants to introduce their new digital avatar AI. So, how far has this technology advanced and how does it work? Well, let’s hear him out.
Hello, Alex! It’s a pleasure to meet you. First off, could we ask you to introduce yourself to the audience? What kind of past experience do you have and what has led you onto the path of the blockchain?
Thanks, it’s a pleasure being here with you. I’m a hands-on tech entrepreneur with rich experience in building and launching innovative enterprise software products.
Prior to EverLife.AI, I founded SalesboxAI – an AI for sales and marketing platforms that are focused primarily on driving sales for businesses using AI-powered Sales Avatars. We work with brands and their agencies across North America, Europe, and APAC and have over 50+ employees.
Prior to that, I have over 15+ years of experience working in a multitude of roles from product management and marketing to software development at various startups and Fortune 500 companies.
EverLife.AI was a natural extension from this to build out a personal Avatar network that leverages AI + the blockchain + a P2P distributed network.
Let’s take a closer look at EverLife. When have you decided that you wanted to create a project like this? What was your inspiration to do so? For some of us, it resembles an old online game called Godville, where the game plays itself and you just check your avatar from time to time… as a god. Is this the kind of experience you want your users to have?
For me personally, in 2017 several things happened during the move from idea to action mode – having a second child at 40, losing someone I admired. This was on top of the fact that it was an extension from the B2B sales avatars that we already had built at SalesboxAI. It was something we can take to the brands we already work with to turn their customers and employees into brand advocates.
With regards to user experience, your personal avatar is like a new member added to your inner circle. It’s your sidekick, companion, and friend all rolled into one.
While its typical for us to talk about how projects are going to compete with the competition and what marketing strategy they would use to do so, this question doesn’t really work in your case. EverLife seems truly unique, so it’s hard for us to even imagine what kind of demand it might raise. What, from your point of view, could be seen as the main “selling points” of EverLife? The promise of eternal life seems a bit vague.
Great question! While everyone has a personal email and phone, very few have a personal avatar and an avatar network that you can join. Right now, our users are coming primarily from social media channels such as Telegram and Facebook.
Your EverLife Avatar is:
• A companion that listens and talks to you
• Makes you more productive through the skills it has
• Makes you more knowledgeable and informed about the things around you
• Earns EVER tokens by doing jobs on the EverLife Network
• Discovers real-life opportunities for you
• And of course, it preserves your legacy
One of the aspects you mentioned in the white paper is that you’re going to embrace artificial intelligence to create self-learning entities known as avatars. As of now, we have no such thing as an AI, but machine-learning algorithms and neural networks could make a miracle out of data science and can even learn a bit (if this could actually be seen as learning). So what exactly would these avatars be capable of and how could they help their user? Also, it was mentioned that there would be a marketplace present to upgrade your avatar. What kind of enchantments would be available?
You are right that although there has been a lot of research and advancements in the field of AI, you could argue that we are in a very nascent stage today. But if you look at the past, you’d see that technology doesn’t evolve at the same rate all the time; usually a breakthrough happens, followed by a giant leap forward, and then it plateaus for a bit.
While designing the EverLife Avatars, our focus has been to build a modular structure that allows you to add skills to your avatar to make it smarter, more useful, and knowledgeable over time. The skills themselves can be purchased from the marketplace or developed by an individual as well. The skills to begin with would revolve around the six use cases I mentioned earlier – smarter conversations, utility tasks, information alerts, job related, networking related, and memoir related.
Could we ask you a little bit more about the platform itself? Why have you decided to use the Stellar network as a foundation for your project? What about building your own blockchain? What do you think about the balance between creating new blockchains and developing existing ones? And what are the main principles behind the “work” action of the avatars? How does this actually work? Are users the ones who deliver theme tasks or can they function in automatic mode? This might be slightly futuristic, but do you expect some kind of ethical guidelines to appear to regulate relationships with avatars? For instance, could they actually become self-aware, have desires, or develop preferences?
We use two chains – Stellar for payments and EverChain, which is a custom chain that was forked and adapted from the Secure Scuttlebutt Project. For micropayments in our ecosystem we needed fast transactions coupled with low transaction fees, plus we loved the fact that Stellar had the right building blocks that the EverLife Avatar could use for smart contracts. Each avatar has a unique DAG chain that only it can write to. It has references to conversations, smart contracts, transactions, etc. This is what allows it to respawn years down the line as well, and the memories and knowledge come flooding back from the network.
When you build a new world, it’s like the Wild West and the avatars are naive to begin with. They would need the intervention of their owners to enroll them for jobs. But once enrolled, it can perform most of the jobs on its own, or in some cases in conjunction with its owner. But down the line we could have developers add skills to the marketplace that allows an avatar to evaluate what is the best job for it to enroll to.
In terms of guidelines, yes it could evolve with time, and right now it’s your alter ego – your personal avatar that you own. Just like how you have a personal email or phone.
It seems that your projects are heavily oriented towards technology and the future overall. Still, it seems that you are eager to start right now, with Q3 of 2018 being the planned date for the first avatar at Everlife to get a job. Then your schedule gets even tighter. How did you manage to create such a grand project in such a short period of time? Is this due to some earlier developments?
As I mentioned earlier, SalesboxAI is a four-year-old company and we have an omni-channel sales avatar that can communicate through channels like email, Twitter, Messenger, Telegram, and more. We were able to leverage this knowledge and experience and get things off the ground faster. Currently, we have over 65,000 avatars on the network, first two jobs went live, and we just signed up our first customer who is looking to post brand advocacy-related marketing jobs on the network during the year.
There is a lot of sci-fi literature out there that mentions machines overthrowing humanity and similar scenarios when we become inferior to the creations of our own making. From your perspective, after acquiring certain skills, could an avatar become better than a human at what it does? Could there be a company with the entire operations being run by just a few digital constructs? How do you see the future of mankind from the perspective of digitalization and AI, and what changes do you expect to see in the near future? Would the blockchain be the harbinger of those changes?
We are in an era where there is unprecedented overload of digital information which is overburdening us, making us robotic, and taking our focus away from being human and building relationships.
AI could assist us in this by augmenting our capabilities to interact with this digital world, discover opportunities, and keep you ahead of the curve and create value.
I wouldn’t say the blockchain or a specific buzz word is what drives those changes, but rather the good old human desire to be competitive, stay relevant, and be the best version of yourself that you can be.
While there was plenty of room to show off your ML expertise, we think that the blockchain aspect has been slightly overshadowed. What kind of benefits does the blockchain bring to the IT sphere and data analysis in particular? What future trends do you expect to arise from this collaboration? Could we also ask you to share some digital sources with our audience that you have used to bolster your blockchain knowledge?
The blockchain as an immutable source of truth, and allows you to make decisions in a trustless environment. Currently, a majority of the use cases have been in the financial domain, but this is changing and EverLife is a great example of that.
The blockchain is a vast topic with several angles to it such as tech, governance, security, etc., I’d recommend this compilation as a good place to start.
It seems like we’ve covered all that we wanted to. If we missed something, please feel free to express yourself below. It would also be nice of you to leave some links to materials about EverLife for our readers to follow. Now we will say farewell and we hope to hear good news about Everlife’s development!
Thanks! It was a pleasure speaking with you. I will certainly keep you posted on our progress.