Today the tech world is completely shifting on its axis with AI, NFTs and the like taking over the entire sphere. In this new age of tech, in the Arab world alone, many are making their mark in the feared yet loved industry. Today we are placing the spotlight on one such figure, a tech savvy Egyptian by the name of Mohamed Tawfik. Known as a jack of all trades when it comes to tech, he dabbles in everything from broadcast engineering and game development to tech consulting. In a conversation with Tawfik, we got to take a peak into his world as well as his foray into AI and the metaverse.
His story began when he got headhunted by Brenden Greene, one of the biggest names in the gaming world and the creator behind PUBG Battle Royale. Working with Greene opened many doors for Tawfik where he was able to work as the head of blockchain and AI in gaming.
When it comes to gaming, Tawfik is a developer who strives to improve and better the user experience as much as possible. He wants gamers to truly get immersed in the game as well as to push what can be possible within the gaming world. With Greene, he was able to turn his aspirations into reality through a cool project they both worked on.
A Game The Size Of Planet Earth
In a lot of triple A games (high-budget PlayStation & Xbox games) like Grand Theft Auto or Assassins Creed, players are limited to navigating through a particular zone or area like how in “Grand Theft Auto” (GTA) the main player navigates through the fictional city of Los Santos while in “Assassins Creed Origins” the player navigates through ancient Egypt. Tawfik wanted to do something bigger by creating a game the size of planet Earth. In such a game, players will get to explore the entire globe.
So we had to ask, how? ‘Through AI’ Tawfik simply answered, ‘we taught AI how to create buildings in real time so while a player is navigating the open world of the game, the AI will automatically generate that world.’ The game is called Artemis and is considered a huge feat in the gaming world.
Debunking NFTs & The Metaverse
Beyond gaming, Tawfik’s passion towards tech has also led him to start teaching and simplifying big complex concepts like NFTs and blockchain by giving conferences and lectures to the general public. Knowing how tech savvy he is, he didn’t just want to give lectures and conferences in the conventional sense within a lecture hall, instead, he decided to head to the kitchen…the metaverse, “I actually gave two to three lectures in the metaverse. I loaded my character into the metaverse and gave my lectures in front of the avatars representing each of my students.”
Speaking of the metaverse and NFTs, Tawfik went on to explain their potential especially in the Middle East, “the metaverse is a virtual world where you can create anything imaginable. You can make a gallery, a game, a house, a car, it can be anything. When it comes to NFTs, they serve a completely different purpose, an NFT is a digital receipt that proves ownership of both digital and real-world items like houses and paintings”.
When taking those two concepts together, Tawfik explained to us their potential, “a kid from Aswan could make a drawing, put a digital copy of it in a gallery created in the metaverse. Then he can sell it to someone living all the way in London who has access to the metaverse without actually having to look for a way to put his artwork in a real life gallery in Paris, for example. He also would not be afraid of it getting stolen because he will have a digital receipt of the painting known as the NFT.”
The more Tawfik spoke about AI and the metaverse, the more we realized not only its potential but how fast such an industry is growing. Today, in the gaming world alone, the growth is truly exponential. When looking at Saudi Arabia, they have already plunged into creating a massive billion dollar gaming industry that includes the metaverse, augmented reality and NFTs. Members of these games have the power to design their own virtual creations and use them in the games.
This barely scratches the surface at what AI technology can do as beyond gaming, the tech has managed to venture into other industries including media and news with several broadcasting channels taking on AI-generated TV presenters as their main hosts. Scary? A little.
So this makes us beg the question, what’s next? Will there come a point where AI will completely take charge? Thankfully, Tawfik had a reasonable outlook towards where AI is heading, “AI is merely a brain locked in a jail, it can’t do things on its own because it has limited parameters. I do not think we will reach the point where AI will take over. I think our jobs will get easier so that instead of writing code we can just give the AI a few guidelines and it will create the program for us.” Tawfik also stressed on how even if AI gets more powerful, there will always be a governing body controlling and regulating the technology.
This is already the case, as just recently, the US senate held an entire hearing about the need to regulate AI alongside prominent figures in the tech field who signed a petition demanding a pause on developing a more powerful version of the infamous ChatGPT. These efforts are there to curb and slow down the rapid pace at which this tech is growing.