After somewhat of a hiatus due to family situations, I finally get around to taking a look at what's going on in the virtual world side of things to see what I've missed. Surprisingly, people are going ga-ga over http://www.highfidelity.io and this revolutionary approach to virtual worlds that would allow for massively more concurrency (orders of magnitude more), photo-realistic graphics, and an assortment of other claims.
Using a "Collaborative Cloud" wherein the users help to serve and simulate the virtual environment in a decentralized fashion, and display it all by betting the future on voxels.
Or in layman terms - exactly what I've said in detail years in advance, on the blog, in print (research paper), in interviews, and in a speaking engagement for Loyola Marymount University, not to mention as a contribution to Metaverse Roadmap, and a further structure found outlined in Solipsis Decentralized Metaverse, OpenCobalt, DSG(RedDwarf), and a decentralized collaborative cloud utilizing multiple technologies in a specific combination to achieve something completely novel in approach.
The problem isn't those specific technologies - had I seen just the "we're going to decentralize it" part on its own.. ok, fair enough. But combining it with the full bet the farm approach on voxel technology - and then adding some extra hardware to interface with it? Now we're down to such an unlikely combination of claims and configuration for a "new" ecosystem that it's impossible to attribute it to anyone but myself.
First, and foremost - it would be a game changer to bet against the entire industry and win. But in order to do that, you'd have to have in-depth and detailed knowledge of what you're betting on - an understanding that nobody else has.
When it comes to betting the farm on voxel technology, while describing that it is capable of something it is not, unless in a very specific and exotic, as-per-unreleased type of voxel/point-cloud technology system, there is only one source outside of Bruce Dell at Euclideon that describes anything in detail about how that specific system would work - or at least overwhelmingly plausible enough to make a strategic bet on it.
Bruce Dell isn't giving anyone a specification sheet or in-depth details for Euclideon Unlimited Detail, which is mainly why a majority of the industry thinks it's a hoax - and we're talking the biggest names in the computer graphics industry.
As I’ve said before, the highfidelity.io site is listing that they’re placing their bet for the future of graphics in sparse voxel octree, and then go on to attribute abilities to it that aren’t correct, or if you’ve read this blog you would know that the capabilities they are explaining… like seeing your house off into the horizon, and distant planets, and infinite molecular type detail while not requiring a super computer… they’re not talking about sparse voxel octree, but Euclideon Unlimited Detail engine which is an exotic type of point-cloud rendering system that does everything they say on the highfidelity.io site but incorrectly attributed to sparse voxel octree which would choke on the unique amount of objects to be rendered.
If you were to search for how Euclideon Unlimited Detail engine works on Google, you'd be faced with that very same article (Quantum Rush [redux]) among a sea of people saying it's likely a hoax or misrepresenting sparse voxel octree.
Otherwise, if we take that out of the picture and assume highfidelity.io had no prior access or knowledge of that information provided by me, it leaves them betting against the knowledge of the entire industry based entirely on speculation and an incorrect understanding of how sparse voxel octree actually works.
Not exactly something you'd be sure enough to bet 2.6 million in funding on.
Then there is the part about creating the "new type of Collaborative Cloud" wherein highfidelity.io decides that the best approach is to decentralize the workload among the users instead of primarily on a central server system. Again, if you're talking just the computation part, then yes we're looking at something like OpenCobalt, and if we're talking about the networking stuff, then we're talking about Solipsis Decentralized Metaverse, and if we're talking about distributed file storage in a BrightNet system wherein the users are the collective asset storage and retrieval system... there's a system for that as well.
It’s not the individual parts that I’m worried about, but the fact that there I a specific and very unlikely combination of those methodologies which create the complete Hybrid Decentralized Network. A combination of technologies covered in detail here and explained, and that information is protected with specific use-rights. It’s not the parts that are the problem… it’s the billion to one odds of having the same conclusion without any prior understanding, involvement, or even if you were to take literally the professional advice of absolutely the entire graphics industry which is contrary to things I say here.
The odds that such a configuration of ideas suddenly found themselves strung together without any inclination of what I’ve put forward publicly for many years, in a community they are directly involved with, and a company they still have ties to are astronomically against. Information that is presented in licensed writing here, video interviews, material used at Washington State University (with my permission), and Loyola Marymount University (with permission) and more.
No, they don’t get to play stupid about this.
And while decentralization handles the scalability aspect well in higher loads and high-number users (it's strongest point is the Achilles heel of centralized architectures) But at no point had it ever been proposed to bring those separate technologies together (just the different decentralized architecture aspects) into a new breed of system to cover all of the bases and do everything that highfidelity.io claims it would accomplish. Furthermore, the problem with purely decentralized systems is that they excel at redundancy and high loads, but when that is too low it fails miserably - as in, the very thing that a centralized server would excel at, is the failure point of a decentralized system and vice versa.
See also a bittorrent download that gets stuck on 99% because there aren't enough seeders to finish the missing pieces. Ergo, the way you solve that is to have a Hybrid Decentralized architecture instead, wherein when the capacity is high the system defers it to the collaborative cloud of decentralization (the users), and when it's low those users will connect to a central server for that information when needed. Otherwise, if highfidelity.io is betting the farm on purely decentralized methods alone, it wouldn't be news to know in advance that it's going to have a high failure rate unless under high duress and redundancy. So they're going to have to add their own server in there somewhere as the backbone to balance it out and pick up where decentralization fails.
Problem is, you're now squarely in territory covered in-depth by me when you do that. The other option is not touching that solution and approaching it like the bus in the movie Speed - go under a certain speed and it explodes. In this analogy, you go under a certain concurrency number and the system falls apart.
In this manner, two approaches are working symbiotically to handle the situation only when they are best suited for the situation, and each weakness is the strength of the other to allow a reversal of a paradigm wherein the more users you have in the system, the more powerful it gets, and when there is low usage it doesn’t fail, either. Of course, this isn't something that has been proposed before... but we've seen the either/or aspect already. Either it's completely decentralized or it's completely centralized, and each has a fatal flaw all by themselves.
Again, unless you're reading my research, blog, and watching the lectures and interviews where I've talked about the structure of Hybrid Decentralized methodologies wherein all of those approaches are taken into account, and in detail.
So that would be "strike two" in the honor system, where I'm supposed to play nice and not be pissed off about seeing what amounts to wholesale theft of novel concepts and ideas. See, on their own, you *might* come to any one of those single conclusions (ie: Just Solipsis, or OpenCobalt, or a BrightNet, or DSG/RedDwarf) without me.
But not every single aspect from multiple systems altogether coupled with a centralized anchor and taking a position on voxels with an understanding that transcends the entire industry in direct defiance of common wisdom that has no other available source than myself.
Now we're talking billion to one odds against that they thought it up on their own. Especially since the man in charge of all of that was the founder and CEO of Linden Lab, and one of the investors is Linden Lab themselves, during the years wherein interviews, lectures, and involvement in panels with me on the same subject coming from within his own virtual world system media and prominent to a point where it would be nigh impossible to have not come across it becomes part of the mix.
Saying otherwise is downright silly.
What make this a voluntary infringement, and strike three, is that every single one of those novel concepts and ideas are outlined in detail across four years or more of this blog. This would seem trivial up front... hey, it's just a blog!
Therein is the sticking point... this blog is entirely licensed under Creative Commons Share-Alike, Remix, Attribution, Non-Commercial use. When you're regurgitating talking points and ideas that are publicly and provably pre-dating you by years, and are covered legally by licensing, and you deliberately break that licensing maliciously by giving no attribution or making absolutely no effort to reconcile the non-commercialization aspect of that license and instead make that licensed information the basis of your argument, business plan, and pitch to raise 2.6 million dollars in capital, you're no longer getting benefit of the doubt.
They’re just doing something immoral and likely illegal.
Now, had highfidelity.io been a non-profit foundation, looking to open-source the project - they would have been just fine and I'd have nothing further to say about it all. That's what the licensing was intended for. and evn if they had come to me in private before raising the money or starting the company and asked for permission to specifically pursue this system, this wouldn’t be happening today. No, I might have asked for involvement or for them to put an offer on the table to satisfy that commercial licensing requirement.
But specifically capitalizing on novel information contained within this blog without my permission means I‘m not without options. Just as it would invalidate any patents they might have filed if it turns out the information and ideas presented in those patents are pre-existing and in violation of legal premise for that use.
Seeing that the company is pitched, founded and raised a few million dollars already, and that I haven't had a heads up about all of this from them, or even a good faith effort to reconcile that non-commercialization license for that information... it's a safe bet to say they never intended to reconcile that and were pretty much hoping nobody was going to call out the elephant in the room.
But what is the recourse here? At the moment, quite a lot... since it is licensed information, and this isn't just a little bit of commercialization, but wholesale commercialization to the tune of millions of dollars in outright defiance of the license to that information which forbids exactly that without my permission...
As it stands, (and to clarify things), highfidelity.io exists purely on thin ice right now. In order to solve the decentralization pitfall, they'll need centralized anchors. But they can't do that without my permission since it's licensed and a novel approach. In so much as the "collaborative cloud" infrastructure, that was also covered and under non-commercial license for the approach concerning peer2peer cache sharing, combined with area of interest networking, and if you wanted to go a step further... sure, you can add something like OpenCobalt functionality. Those were covered in the research paper specifically but not exclusive... they were given as an example of Hybrid Decentralized networking but not defining it with only those parts.
Hybrid Decentralized networking is the foundation here. Without it, highfidelity.io is absolutely non-existent. They either immediately suffer from the downfall of decentralized methods alone or centralized methods alone, and the minute they combine them to address the weaknesses of both in a symbiotic nature – you’re now squarely infringing and breaking the license of this blog and materials.
So they’re going to build a working product that requires appeasing this license (and me) or they are going to intentionally build just a decentralized system without the centralized anchors, knowing they’ve traded one Achilles heel for another… and ultimately building a broken product and service intentionally.
There is no third option there.
In relation to betting the future on voxels, they have no evidence to support such a claim wherein sparse voxel octree technology would overcome the crippling limitations it has as a trade off to the high detail - ie: It chokes when you add unique content en-mass, but is just fine to show the same object infinitely. However, Euclideon *claims* to have overcome that and says they will be suitable for game development as a platform in the near-term future. Those are just claims and there is nothing to substantiate those claims as of yet... unless you've looked at the only available in-detail technology breakdown of Euclideon Unlimited Detail outside of Bruce Dell's office safe.
At this juncture, highfidelity.io and by extension Philip Rosedale can either admit they are betting millions of dollars on a technology they have no understanding of nor assurances for actually doing what they claim it will do (incompetence), or in looking for how that technology works, came across the only available source in the world outside of the lock & key of Bruce Dell.
At the very least, 2/3 of the highfidelity.io system has now become the elephant on thin ice, as the entire underlying structure will be in violation of a prior license, if it already isn't. The other side is to arbitrarily build a system that they know is going to have drastic fatal flaws in it simply to avoid being in that jeopardy going forward.
The easy way out of this situation for them would simply be to reconcile that license term with me, whereby I would then grant them permission going forward, and even work with them if they’d like (maybe) to bring that system about.
Otherwise, the more they build... the more they’re dig a hole, and right now I’ve decided to hand them the shovel.
Yes, I’m rightly very angry right now and to wit, I’m being exceptionally and uncharacteristically nice considering the situation in that due to the licensing terms on this material, and that it shows proof of concept and details as far back as four years prior (or longer), it’s a miracle my first action wasn’t just to call my lawyer and file a lawsuit.
But I’m not doing that. At least not right now.
Despite the arrogance and blatant disregard highfidelity has shown in presenting ideas covered here in detail, and ignoring wholesale the licensing terms that come with it for usage of that information, to the tune of millions of dollars in raised capital – I’m quite calm and rational. Even if I do have a few not-nice words to say about the situation and the people responsible, that’s my prerogative and in no way are they entitled to me treating them nicely about it.
So far, they are already under the impression they are entitled to things they are not, and I’m not rewarding them for bad behavior or letting them off the hook. So is this all to be taken as “arrogant ranting” as Indigo Mertel put it so eloquently?
No… this is still my personal space to say what I feel, as I feel. It is my first amendment right, and it is my creative space when I’m feeling intelligent, and it is my nonsense space when I’m just spit-balling ideas. It is my place to vent when somebody has screwed me over or I feel passionate about something.
It is a raw stream of consciousness at the speed of thought.
However, I do listen to readers of this blog (more than you realize) and take the constructive criticisms to mind. Which is why I went back and re-wrote this entry to say the same things but a little calmer this time. The prior post covers most of the links across the blog here for where those details are found and shown – but there are others as well… Digital Evolution I an excellent post that goes into the nitty-gritty details step-by-step but I didn’t include it because at this point we’re talking about being self-evident and blatant.
The same still holds true about my prior post. Currently my aunt has stage 4 cancer and it has essentially spread and attached to most of her major organs to the point where she has given up all hope and refused treatment. She has decided to come home with the aide of a nurse until such time as she passes away, which is estimated to be within a month to three months. My uncle isn’t handling it well, and the entire family is doing what we can to get by.
I thank everyone for the heartfelt messages of sympathy and such that I received since the original posting about it. However, I’m still just looking to just tell it as it is so nobody is wondering what is going on that I’ve gone quiet for a length of time or indefinitely.
Given the situation, and the total stress and grief at this time, I have bigger issues to deal with than Ricky Shroeder from Silver Spoons hijacking years of my material as his own and pulling millions in investment off of it in violation of the very licensing which is presented and protected by law.
I have issues that are bigger than Philip Rosedale and his crack-team of photocopiers.
No… he can wait, because this is a matter of life and death, and highfidelity.io isn’t actually a problem for me so much as it is a problem for Philip Rosedale. The Sword of Damocles is hanging over his head… and that’s exactly where I’m going to leave it.. by a single thread. It’s a fitting Rocky Horror reference for the man known for wearing a Rocky Horror t-shirt in Second Life.
That doesn’t mean I am letting it go, or that I somehow waive my rights to the whole ordeal. It means I’m giving notice and that I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this situation over time as they progress to make absolutely certain they are not just running with the ball.
As for involvement with virtual worlds overall, I am already involved with a hyper-reality project that utilizes the information in this blog and research paper, which means I’m already in a position to invalidate highfidelity.io right out of the gate – but again, I’m not – because I want to see just how deep they are willing to dig that hole before I’m simply bored of tolerating it.
Other than that, my hiatus in the industry will generally continue into the undefined future as I deal more with other issues that need to have my attention.
I’ve said all I’ve had to say about it, and to spend a majority of my professional career being told I have no credibility for these things, and wholly ignored – but to see somebody like Philip Rosedale spit out the same things and get applause and treated like he’s ahead of his time? To have investors throwing money at him for it?
Yeah… that’s pretty screwed up to say the least. Where the hell was that praise and interest over the past four years when it was here and when I’ve been saying it? More importantly – how short are people’s attention spans that not a single person actually spoke up when highfidelity.io launched as a company?
In a way, I’m kind of ashamed of the community for this one. It took until well after the fact and I finally said something for anyone to suddenly remember what I’ve been saying for years – even the people who interviewed me, and the people who deal with me on a daily basis, and so forth…
Nobody said a word until I refreshed their memories a bit.
I want credit where it’s due, and I want the license of the four+ years worth of materials to be upheld and honored. And that means I expect either an offer of reconciliation for that licensed material to be made to me, or at some point I’ll just send them the bill outright for it. Failing that, I suppose then I’ll just call my lawyer.
But right now, I’m giving highfidelity.io the chance to redeem and reconcile honorably – and to remove their hand from the cookie jar.