Metaverse: What is There to Know?

What is the Metaverse?

To put it simply, the Metaverse is a “fully realized digital reality”. It’s a fully immersive experience that makes your digital life just as real and important as your physical reality. The Metaverse is unique in that it compiles a lot of different internet communications requiring them to work interchangeably. Most tech companies have created variables that fit into the Metaverse equation but have yet to execute a successful integration. Examples of the variables are VR headsets, virtual gaming, augmented reality, digital economy, and holograms. Of these things listed, holograms seem to be the only idea that hasn’t come to pass.

Trying to explain the Metaverse is difficult because the idea behind it is mostly just theory. Historically, the idea of a metaverse has been around for some time. It is portrayed in all forms of pop culture media like sci-fi books, movies, and art. The word “metaverse” originated from a 1992 Sci-fi novel, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Stephenson uses the term in the context of escaping one reality to exist in another.

How are tech companies responding?

Every tech company has taken the plunge into exploring this landscape. They almost have no choice because of fear of falling behind and losing relevance in the industry. As most are aware, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerburg, officially changed the name of his company Facebook to Meta. Zuckerburg made it clear that the “Metaverse is the future of the internet”. In an article by Shirin Ghaffary for Vox, former Meta employees fear the company is using the exploration of the Metaverse as a distraction from the current issues imposed on Facebook. Some of these issues including mental health, opposing political stances, and the spread of misinformation.

Other companies such as Microsoft also have been working towards this cyber space for some time now. It really is just a race to see who can successfully execute the idea first.  However, the Metaverse goes beyond tech companies. As we move further into a shared digital landscape, we are finding that the proper function and safety for these spaces takes the collaboration of everyone including governments, regulators, and society.

Should you worry?

Like any other technological advancement in the past, the masses are always skeptical. Just like predecessors of the Metaverse (cell phones, mobile internet, social media, etc.), tech professionals will need to explain these new ventures. The Metaverse will at some point be part of our lives, but it will most likely be later than people anticipate before it infiltrates on our everyday living. The Metaverse will be whatever people make of it.

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