iNFTs: Bringing NFT Characters to Life

Medium Oct 1, 2021 · 4 min read

Key Takeaways:
— NFTs might have launched as static images, but they’ve expanded into so much more with video, audio, meme, and code created and owned as digital assets.
— With artificial intelligence joining the mix, intelligent NFTs – or iNFTs – offer an incredible stepping stone to where entertainment and information sharing can go.
— Through iNFTs, art can use the information and data it’s given to create and collate more art. The result is hugely exciting technology that can engage and interact with the world in a unique way. And what a thrilling future it is!

If envelope-pushing technology is our thing, then this is the article for you. Here, we ask “what are iNFTs?”, and show you some of the exciting new experiences they offer.

NFTs have been evolving at a fascinating rate. We’re talking art, fashion, and collectable creations. They’re a broad, exhilarating concept behind some incredible technology. The potential for them is continuing to expand, and the promise is pretty mind-blowing.

NFTs aren’t just JPEGs or cool 8-bit-esque pictures. There’s a much bigger, far more exciting possibility laced into how far NFTs can go. And once you add expansive technology like AI into the mix, you’re looking at a concoction of a digital revolution that can lend itself neatly to entertainment and information storage and sharing.

Let’s dive in.

iNFTs: smart, getting a whole lot smarter

“NFTs are blockchain-based records that uniquely represent pieces of media. The media can be anything digital, including art, videos, music, gifs, games, text, memes, and code.”  – Chris Dixon

Dixon’s comment is a profound one here because it implies that while NFTs might have started as images, they really can be anything. They’ve shifted from static, transcended to encompass audio, video, and so much more and are now veering into the intelligent with AI thrown in.

What exactly is an iNFT?

Intelligent NFTs, or iNFTs, are NFTs with interactive, intelligent and sense-making abilities woven in. They’re blockchain-based characters that can learn, adapt, and interact with information, with each other and with you. 

From a tech side, an iNFT is an NFT that is embedded with something called a Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3). Basically this is a deep-learning tool used to produce human-like text. So, machines learning to talk like people and interact with people. With iNFTs, this tool is integrated into part of the NFT’s immutable smart contract, giving the asset the incredible ability to learn and interact from the knowledge.

Tech talk aside, this means that iNFTs combine AI-driven characters and avatars with smart contract technology. The result is a fun, massively engaging bit of technology that can be used to entertain, educate and evoke a brand new way of looking at and using art.

What does AI mean practically for NFTs?

With the introduction of generative intelligence, iNFTs improve the potential – and the value – of NFTs at a massive scale.

How can we use iNFTs or see them in action? Well if we’re looking at popular NFTs that exist right now and layering them with intelligence, we could be looking at the following kind of digital potential:

A new form of self-creating art

Imagine the NFT you own is given a bunch of creative information. From there, it creates its own piece of art. Let’s say you own a character that is designed as a digital creative: It writes and composes music from samples fed to it. Then, you, your community or the world in general enjoy the show that your NFT puts on. Raw creativity; digitally born.

It’s worthwhile mentioning that machine learning is not a new concept, not by any means. But as a blockchain-based entity with decentralised ownership as a fundamental component, the art created from the NFT itself brings some very unique and interesting questions to the table regarding true creation and genuine ownership. 

Content, created and curated by community

iNFTs also open up the world to an information economy built on the collective insight from experts. With consensus (where there is majority agreement) as a massive grounding force behind blockchain, there is verifiable accuracy of the information that an iNFT is given. 

This, in particular, represents a truly remarkable application of the technology where people can essentially interact with a pool of information in a brand new way. It opens up the world to know more about things like the complexity of crypto and get to engage with the massive well of knowledge from crypto experts without needing the people to explain things. It’s like an intelligent Wiki page that can chat with you like any other human (with the right info) might.

The revolutionary entity in gaming and entertainment

The concept of a self-thinking NFT completely revolutionises what it can do. We could be looking at Bored Apes putting on performances. In essence, the show would be run by the character, but the character would be owned by the community. Or an Axie that trains another Axie up for you with the insight you have given it. 

It’s a small idea, but the implications are enormous. Decentralised assets like NFTs, along with the intelligence of AI, have the potential to give the people (and not one company) the power to partly own – and continue to build on – gaming and entertainment.

When are we looking at iNFT development?

Well, the first iNFT has already been created. “Alice” was created by London-based artist Robert Alice in collaboration with artificial intelligence research firm Alethea in June and she was auctioned for just under $500k at Sotheby’s.

And Alice is only the start. Alethea might be the first, but it certainly won’t be the last to establish and explore the potential behind AI-meets-blockchain. If the rapid rise of NFTs is anything to go by, we’ll be looking at the quick increase of iNFT expansion and development in no time.

Like what you’re hearing, and fancy making your own NFT? Check out our School of Block episode to make your first steps!

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