I am a tech enthusiast myself, and I follow online privacy-related news closely.
We can agree that the internet is one of the greatest inventions ever. We have all the knowledge in the world at our fingertips, but it still has a small drawback its is not very interactive. Imagine if instead of seeing the internet on your mobile or laptop screen, you could enter it and see it as your surroundings.
And this brings in the concept of the metaverse, coined by Neil Stevenson in his novel Snow Crash. The Metaverse refers to a collection of virtual reality rooms, which are connected to a recognised virtual universe similar to the internet. The word Metaverse is made up of two words meta, which means beyond and verse, which is formed from the word universe.
The term is typically used to describe the concept or a future version of the internet, made up of shared 3d virtual spaces linked to a considered virtual universe. The metaverse can not only be looked upon with one perspective, that is only virtual reality, but it can more likely be the culmination of several technologies like augmented reality, blockchain and many more, changing the internet as a whole.
How Will We Interact With the Metaverse?
Think of it as an internet that is inside of rather than one that you're looking at. This digital world wouldn't be limited to devices, avatars could walk around in cyberspace is similar to how we move the physical world, allowing us to interact with people on the other side of the planet but in the same cyberspace. Almost diminishing the physical boundaries and giving the sensation of being physically present.
It refers to sharing virtual worlds where land, buildings, avatars, and even names can be bought and sold, often using cryptocurrency, all while being physically interacting with the virtual world. The Metaverse would work similar to the internet, you would have to log in and connect to it with a virtual reality headset, which is a head-mounted display, you can then interact with objects like you normally would in the real world. Instead of seeing images on your mobile or laptop screen, they would be projected onto your eyes through AR or VR glasses and other gears, making it feel like you're in a virtual world.
Fortnight which in three years has attracted a mind-boggling 350 million players just spending over 3 billion hours a month in this virtual world and it has already become a world way beyond the original first-person shooter game with party Royale joining that away out this year.
Marshmallow's concert-like concept has attracted a world record of 10 million people last year on fortnight, and Travis Scot more than doubled that in April with 27 million attending his virtual concert.
Now imagine a world like this connected to our real world where you can meet shop, work, go to school, play games, be creative and be whoever you want while teleporting or travelling to wherever you want in the metaverse.
Is the Internet Being Replaced?
The metaverse will not replace the internet but would be a version of it. Instead of just texting your friends. You could meet them or their avatars online. The Internet helped us find a tribe of friends that were going through the same thing as us, that its communities, Facebook groups, blogs, chat rooms. All of these things gave us a chance to anonymously vent our frustrations and receive genuine help without feeling too exposed, there was also a high level of anonymity that still exists today and has been the part of the internet that runs parallel to the overexposed world of social media where people sometimes overshare things that are not supposed to be shared.
The Metaverse will take the same safety and anonymity and freedom that the internet bought us in the way of online community support and services, except the perks of having a physical presence and real-time interactions with the digital world at the time. It will remain anonymous if desired and add a personal touch to everything that you were doing before on the internet. For example, in the present day scenario, collaborating on projects at work consists of a conference room meeting, or you send out memos and people report back to you individually, the Metaverse will allow us to collaborate on the same project, but we will also be sitting beside our co-workers, no more apps as we just travel from world to world, no more screen time as we're simply accessing the metaverse by wearable devices and then we're not getting sorted by IP address, but, by time and place in virtual reality markets.
It will correct the two dreadful experiences of FaceTime and Google Docs, allowing for unhindered collaborations and a feeling of being received. Or you could go on virtual dates with strangers, or travel the world with Google Maps on virtual reality headsets. Google Earth has already done some of the heavy liftings when it comes to bringing the physical world into a digitally native format and so has Microsoft with its flight simulation game which brings the hyper-realistic representation of the world to our digital screens. Imagine seeing these things with VR headsets, and online shopping which would also change the personalised avatars that can try our clothes online.
Where Do We Stand in This Journey?
But for a strong virtual universe, everyone needs to want and afford VR headsets which is a far cry from the price point where we are in today. The technology would need to be stylish and small and light enough to entice more people and advanced enough to work seamlessly in any part of the world even in places with patchy internet connections. This has not happened as of yet.
However, several large tech companies are chasing down the metaverse. Facebook bought Oculus in 2014. With their metaverse vision in mind, they have launched a new product group to build a new 3d social space, calling for connective tissue to bridge varying services. Microsoft is working to build an enterprise Metaverse and Epic Games has raised $1 billion to spend on its Metaverse plans, and Roblox is also working in this realm. Apple also has longtime AR ambitions. Other firms are investing in the metaverse vision because they don't want to risk getting left behind. While some are experimenting to see what the other possibilities are and what else can we achieve through these technologies and where it leads us. There's still room for startups since a digital world would require lots of content, tools and places for people to see and engage with which would upgrade the internet as a whole. As upgrading the internet or working on some ideas by some single giant entities is never a good idea.
The future of the metaverse is bright and filled with possibilities along with a lot of scope for development and research. So what do you think is the metaverse transforming humanity for good? Will it result in a Ready Player One-style universe or a dystopia like the matrix? This is the future that humanity is destined to go through to bring about more technological leaps, and we are just getting started.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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