Metaverse, explained

The development of a virtual, interconnected, and hyper-realistic environment has become the focus of interest in recent months. But what exactly is this technology, and when will it become available? Let’s talk about it.

Metaverse
Metaverse

A full virtual environment in which anyone can be, do and build whatever they wish. The term “Metaverse” refers to a shared virtual realm that anyone will be able to access via special glasses and other devices.

Although the argument over the metaverse has recently intensified, the concept is not entirely new. The definition used in the title of this text was already used in the film “Ready Player One.” The film, directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 2018, supports the idea. Furthermore, the term “metaverse” was originally used in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel “Snow Crash.”

However, the idea achieved technological revolution status in October 2021, when Mark Zuckerberg stated that Facebook’s name would be changed to Meta. He also claimed that the company would concentrate its efforts on the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (VA) markets.

But, first and foremost, what exactly is the metaverse? How does it function? When will we be able to use this technology? Because this is a topic that raises many questions, I’ve created a guide to help you grasp the main features of the metaverse and how it will affect your life in the future years.

 

What exactly is the metaverse?

The term “metaverse” refers to an alternative reality that exists in a virtual world. It allows you to create an avatar and engage in numerous activities such as shopping, watching shows, and connecting with other people. Everything is based on virtual reality. The gained popularity recently when Facebook changed its name to Meta, signifying its aim to develop its metaverse.

Photo: CNET

The greatest challenge in describing this world is that it does not yet exist—but tech conglomerates are investing massively to change that in no time.

As previously discussed, the term “Metaverse” originally appears in Neal Stephenson‘s 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash.” People in it use the Metaverse to escape from a harsh world.

This and other writings by the author are no longer used as sources of inspiration in the actual world. It’s worth noting that Neal Stephenson served as a consultant for Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company, Blue Origin, from its inception until 2006.

 

What can you do in the metaverse and how does it work?

People will be able to replicate all facets of life in the metaverse in the future. Mark Zuckerberg highlighted what it will be possible to achieve in the metaverse in a press release at the time of Facebook’s announcement of its transition to Meta:

“You’ll be able to do practically anything you can imagine, including meeting with friends and family, working, studying, playing, shopping, and creating, as well as wholly new experiences that don’t match the way we see the world about computers or phones today.”

 

Would anything be possible?

It is impossible to fully describe how the metaverse would work in practice since it does not yet exist in the way that Facebook’s (now Meta’s) creator described it. What is known is that all users would have their avatars and would be able to work, communicate with friends, design and decorate a home, buy clothes and accessories, attend shows, and even travel. Of course, it’s all virtual.

It would be feasible, for example, to find buddies to go to the movies or to view an art exhibition that existed only in the metaverse. When it comes to accessing a website, you could enter into it rather than simply opening the page on your computer or mobile phone.

The idea is for you to be able to access this virtual reality world via your smartphone, computer, or video gaming console. Once inside, you can be whatever you want and do whatever you want, such as fly, drive supersonic automobiles, dance at a party with pals from all over the world, play football with your idol, and so on.

The idea is that the metaverse will have its economy and currencies that users would be able to use to buy, sell, and exchange digital properties, various products, avatar accessories, and other items.

 

What are the primary technologies that form the Metaverse?

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated 3D environment that resembles the actual world and allows people to engage fully. Today, special eyewear integrated with headphones and sensors is required to access this technology.

 

Augmented Reality (AR) (VA)

Augmented reality merges the virtual and physical worlds. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality incorporates virtual features into the actual environment. One of the most notable examples of VA is the game Pokémon Go, in which players use their smartphone cameras to capture virtual monsters on a real-world map. There are also specific glasses with information shown on the lenses.

 

Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFTs

Blockchain technology enabled the birth of bitcoin, the world’s first and most well-known cryptocurrency. This technology allows you to monitor the transmission and reception of certain sorts of information over the Internet. It is quite safe, as is the technology that permits bitcoin trading.

In the metaverse, NFTs (an acronym for non-fungible token) will also be used. Simply described, NFT is a computer code that acts as authentication for a file, ensuring its uniqueness. It would be used, for example, to authenticate the transactions of all goods within the metaverse, such as virtual property, providing certainty that it is unique.

 

Are Metaverse and virtual reality the same thing?

No, as previously said, Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of a computer system to build virtual environments capable of tricking human senses — vision, hearing, and touch — to provide complete immersion in this simulated world.

Technology is an important aspect of the metaverse since it will provide transportation to this other digital universe. But virtual reality isn’t everything. Many more technologies, such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs, will be required to build this vast and interconnected cosmos.

 

What’s the relation between NFTs and the metaverse?

NFTs are well recognized for their use in purchasing virtual art, however, this does not limit the technology’s application. Non-fungible tokens, which serve as a metaverse ingress and transit key, can be utilized to grant users regulated access to numerous platforms.

Not by chance, blockchain-based games make extensive use of NFTs. Users can, for example, use this type of token to sell virtual real estate to other players; in the metaverse, they will be able to do this and other types of transactions across numerous platforms.

This kind of application has already been carried out in the actual world. The NFT’s main entrance. NFT-based tickets were sold during the NFL Annual Conference in New York City in 2019. Depending on the ticket, the viewer might attend the lectures, attend a VIP dinner, and even have a personalized message displayed on the Times Square billboard. As a result, the NFT has been identified as one of the primary mechanisms by which the metaverse will be economically possible.

 

 

How does the metaverse intend to transform the internet?

The globe is presently in the so-called web 2.0 era. The key element of this internet paradigm is that it is a social network-mediated environment. Furthermore, most interactions take place on flat screens of devices such as cellphones, PCs, and tablets.

 

Between 1999 and 2004, there was also Web 1.0. They were those static pages from the early days of the Internet.

Metaverse advocates believe it will be the catalyst for web 3.0. The internet will become more immersive (virtual reality), decentralized, and open in this new century.

As a result, the virtual and physical worlds will become more intertwined. But, after all, what transformations are you referring to? Take a look at some of them.

 

Work

One of the primary bets for technology companies like Facebook and Microsoft is the ability to hold working meetings within the metaverse. It would be feasible to imitate face-to-face meetings, maintain eye contact with avatars, and interact more intimately with colleagues in this virtual reality.

Education

Another purpose of the metaverse is to make learning more immersive. It would be able to promote classes in the virtual world, providing students with a more engaging experience. Three-dimensional holograms could be used to study the human body in courses such as medicine. Even surgeries and treatments for distant ailments could be performed in the metaverse, according to Tania Cosentino, Microsoft’s CEO in Brazil, in a recent interview.

 

Entertainment

This is where the majority of the initiatives that have been established thus far can be found. The metaverse, according to the concept, goes far beyond games, providing comprehensive entertainment experiences. Shows, movies, television, sports, and video games are among them.

However, they could also cover travel, works of art, and other topics. Casinos might even come to life within the metaverse environment. Users could also place bets using bitcoins.

 

Economy

Many transactions could take place in the metaverse. Experts believe that a complete economy, including land transactions, real estate, services, transportation, digital art, and more, may flourish within the virtual world. The virtual economic system would rotate, making it beneficial for brands and users.

 

Investments in the metaverse

As the metaverse grew in popularity, investment opportunities in the virtual world grew in popularity as well. There are already some methods for making financial investments within the metaverse, the majority of which use cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

 

Will it eventually replace the internet?

To begin, keep in mind that the metaverse is still in its early stages, and everything written about it is speculative. These hypotheses are not made up; they are based on the ambitions of the technology behemoths, the firms that today lead and define what the Internet is. Still, the web’s future is up in the air, and what happens to it in the next decade is unknown.

For most CEOs, the metaverse will be a supplement to, not a replacement for, the current Internet. It will be available not only through virtual reality devices, but also on PCs, mobile phones, and video gaming consoles. However, as he will compete for the position with the traditional web, it is always debatable.

 

Criticism of the metaverse

When we talk about the metaverse, it’s not all roses. Many individuals are opposed to this proposal for a variety of reasons, including the potential for technology to be centralized in a small group of firms and the lack of data privacy.

The admission of conglomerates such as Facebook and Microsoft into the contest for the metaverse, for example, would be incompatible with the goal of a decentralized technology open to all.

Furthermore, companies that currently have a huge amount of user data would gain even more information as a result of this same centralization.

Furthermore, countless legal and ethical quandaries about the metaverse’s bounds should occur, which cannot even be imagined because the platforms do not exist. However, problems about copyright and virtual crimes, for example, can be predicted.

The truth is that technology is about to revolutionize life as we know it once more.

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