'Only in China': Inhalation Vaccination, QR Code, Virtual Idols in Metaverse, Skynet Dystopian AI Network for Facial Recognition

'Only in China': Inhalation Vaccination, QR Code, Virtual Idols in Metaverse, Skynet Dystopian AI Network for Facial Recognition

Zebra Labs Raises $5 Million to Help Chinese Celebrities Enter the Metaverse

Image Credits: Wowkie Zhang's collaboration with a virtual character in his music video. Screenshot: TechCrunch(opens in new window)

In June, Chinese pop-punk singer Wowkie Zhang released a music video in which he encounters a virtual character in a hyper-colorful, animated world reminiscent of Pixar films. The avatar, with Gen Z-styled silver hair, yellow and black oversized sportswear and baggy pants, makes hip-hop moves to Zhang's catchy, carefree tune.

A virtual character is not a one-off creation; instead, Zebra Labs, which produces the video, turns it into a piece of reusable intellectual property that can be bought as NFTs on marketplaces and appear in other virtual instances like video games. The startup is waiting for the return of the bull market to launch the NFT project, Scarlett Li, founder and CEO of Zebra Labs, told TechCrunch.

Zebra Labs' goal is to "create intellectual property that is deeply integrated with content" and "manage virtual idols like celebrities," Li says. Some of the avatars he creates are based on real-life stars, while others are original characters. To generate revenue, Zebra Labs cultivates an audience for its idols through short films, images and social posts, and in turn monetizes the fan base. It also licenses its virtual idols to partners for a fee.

Here's Zebra Labs trying to build a fan base for Zookie, who makes a cameo in Wowkie Zhang's music video, by dumping Douyin (China's version of TikTok) clips of the character:

NFTs, which are already widely used to authenticate IP rights, could be used to better engage fans, according to Li, who previously helped organize some of China's biggest music festivals. "When you turn 30, you lose interest in exploring music, so the virtual environment can give a boost to visualization [of music] again."

NFTs also give emerging musicians a more direct path to income. In China, music distribution is in the grip of music streaming giants owned by Tencent and NetEase. These platforms tend to drive user traffic to musicians who already have a lot of fans, "so to make a good living as a musician, you have to have a million followers," Li says. "NFTs can change that."

As a veteran of music festivals, Li is excited about the prospect of online concerts. She compares with the Fortnite concert of Ariana Grande, in which the singer descends on a colorful island in her virtual manifestation in a shimmering silver dress and glowing white ponytail. Zebra Labs is in talks with several game firms to launch virtual concerts for Chinese artists on a Minecraft-like game and metaverse platform by 2023, Li says.

Zebra Labs recently raised $5 million to advance its vision of a metaverse. The funding came from Chinese gaming company NetDragon and Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo. Bringing in a Japanese investor, according to Li, could help the startup learn from the country's long history of IP management, exemplified by the success of virtual idols such as Hatsune Miku. The company is also backed by SOSV, the venture capital firm known for its network of accelerators.

Following its collaboration with Wowkie Zhang's music video, which garnered around 40 million clicks across multiple online channels, Zebra Labs has five more artists in the pipeline. It also plans to launch a digital twin of Zhang by the first quarter of 2023.

Excerpt from a VICE documentary about China's dystopian Skynet.

Skynet is an artificial intelligence network for facial recognition and part of the global mass surveillance program. At any moment they will know what is happening at every point.
The social credit system will have complete control over your lifestyle. Not only will they know where you are and what you're doing, but they'll also decide whether to let you do it, whether to have access at all, whether to travel or not, which places you can visit, etc.

When globalists say they want to create smart cities, ☝️ this is what they mean.

China's movement restrictions have reached a new level
If your QR code is not green, you are cut off from society without
access to transport, food and even access to housing.

China is now introducing Covid-19 vaccines by inhalation as well.



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