Metaverse – An Expanding Imaginary Place in the Digital Future

March 13, 2023

The ‘Metaverse’, platform of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, now called Meta, is basically a network of 3D objects that represent a place, an event, interactions and any activities in a virtual way.

The term “metaverse” was originally coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, in the ‘cyberpunk’ style. In the book, the “metaverse” was described as a shared “imaginary place” that is “made available to the public over the global fiber optic network” and accessed through virtual reality glasses.

The book says developers can “build buildings, parks, signs, as well as things that don’t exist in Reality, like vast overhead light shows, special neighborhoods where the rules of three-dimensional space-time are ignored.

The ‘Metaverse’ will allow users to play games, meet friends, join an event, travel places, attend online classes and virtually do many things that are being done in real life.

Generally experienced with virtual and augmented reality headsets, users can simply use the headset device which is also interconnected with other functional devices such as audio sets, joysticks, etc…

It’s a whole ecosystem of all sorts of features coming together, like:

• Virtual reality

• Artificial intelligence

• Cryptocurrency (decentralization)

• NFTs

• Internet 3.0

• Gamification

What is the business model within the Metaverse?

• Selling NFT artworks (A non-fungible token is a special type of cryptographic token that represents something unique. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and many other utility tokens, NFTs are not mutually interchangeable. A fungible item such as money, can be exchanged for another).

• Vox Sales. Metaverse is a construction of voxels which are 3D grid digital values (that is, buildings, stores).

• Constructions

• Building the headquarters for branding purposes.

• Announcement

• Games

Not everything is flowers. Experts warn of dangers

The immersive virtual world has been fostered and is a top priority for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, but experts are skeptical about how good it will be. Dr. David Reid, professor of AI and Space Computing at Liverpool Hope University, thinks this will change our lives, just as the internet has.

“The metaverse has huge implications – it comes with fantastic advantages and terrifying dangers, we need a highly robust system to police the metaverse. We are clearly in the early stages, but we need to start talking about these issues now before we go down a path we cannot reverse. It’s crucial,” said Dr. Reid.

Virtual worlds are not inherently better than the real one. Worker exploitation exists in them, Misogyny and homophobia exist too, ask anyone who has ever had the misfortune of sounding feminine on voice chat while playing a multiplayer shooter or not gender conforming on Twitch (social network of live broadcasts). The idea that a metaverse will magically solve any of these problems is total fantasy, added Dr. Reid.

The ultimate goal of the metaverse isn’t just virtual reality or augmented reality, it’s mixed reality (MR). It’s mixing the digital world and the real world. Ultimately, this mix can be so good and so all-encompassing that the virtual and the real become indistinguishable. Whoever controls it will basically have control over your entire reality. Many current Augmented Reality prototype systems have face, eye, body and hand tracking technology. Most have fancy cameras. Some even incorporate electroencephalogram (EEG) technology to pick up brain wave patterns. In other words, everything you say, manipulate, look at or even think about can be monitored.

Zuckerberg thinks the true metaverse will be ready within a decade. Aspects already exist now, and we will see significant leaps in the next few years. Tech giant Meta (formerly Facebook) has already invested billions of dollars in building the “metaverse” and recently pledged to hire 10,000 more employees to work on the project. “There’s no doubt the likes of Meta have the technology to make this possible, but I’m yet to see what a more attractive option it will look like compared to existing social platforms, especially considering the cost and difficulty of using a headset VR,” says Zuckerberg.

The creators of Web3 say it will be dominated by large corporations and proprietary algorithms. One form found for this domain was the blockchain, a record that is linked through encryption, a technique created to communicate securely without others knowing what you are saying. Basically, it is a way to obtain data privacy, where only with a “key” it is possible to discover the content.

The growth of the virtual economy also depends on the future of metaverses like virtual games and virtual worlds where there are no interruptions. Both users and creators earn a lot and can even increase if NFTs are added to game assets.

The metaverse’s vision of having a universe in which people from all continents come together to play, work and learn together is futuristic in every way. But the technology needed to support this is not something that everyone can easily access.

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