The metaverse is rapidly approaching mainstream use, as technology companies like Meta (formally Facebook) and Apple invest billions into researching the possibility. The idea seems utopian, a figment of our imagination born from science fiction movies, but the opposite is true. The metaverse promises to be the new internet, the new normal, and everyday use.
Is the Metaverse the Next Internet?
Within ten years, the Metaverse will be what the internet is today. Constantly around us, conventional to use, and complete normalcy.
Let’s explore what the metaverse is, what it could become, how long until you will be using it, and what the dangers are.
What is The Metaverse?
First things first – the metaverse is not going to be on your computer screen. The key to the metaverse is immersion. What the metaverse aims to achieve is connection through reality. When we look at a computer or phone screen, what we see doesn’t feel real – we can’t reach out to touch it, it’s two dimensional.
Virtual reality is the building block of the metaverse. That’s just how close we are – VR already exists, and is a widely used in the gaming community. Major console and pc games have adopted virtual reality, and a headset is soon to become more important than a controller.
VR delivers the immersion, in the incredible feeling that you are in the game. But that’s where it’s limited for now. Games. What the metaverse will become is much greater than just games. It could be used for everyday life, for work, for sports teams, for connecting with family and friends.
Who is Making the Metaverse?
This new digital frontier is being pioneered by Facebook, Apple, and the rest of Silicon Valley. You may have noticed on the 28th of October 2021, Facebook made a big announcement. The company would become “Meta”. Their social media platform remained “Facebook”, but the parent company was rebranded.
This came after months of research and development, and with the rebranding, Meta centered themselves in the metaverse they are creating.
Apple is doing the same, but behind closed doors, according to John Radoff. What is unique about Apple’s approach is their commitment to their brand.
Microsoft, the third pioneer of the Metaverse, is open to users creating their own environments and using whatever product they want to reach Microsoft’s platform, a theory called decentralization. Apple, presumably, will aim for users to use only Apple products to access their metaverse, whilst Meta’s approach is unknown.
What Will Be in The Metaverse?
The possibilities are truly endless, your imagination can be endlessly entertained in the metaverse. To fully understand the potential of the metaverse, we’ll use an expert’s insight – Avi Bar-Zeev, who spoke to Forbes back in October. He’s worked in this area for the last 30 years, for all 3 of the tech pioneers.
Bar-Zeev believes the metaverse, within ten years, will be what the internet today is. Constantly around us, conventional to use, and complete normalcy. For example, meetings for work won’t be done in person, they’ll be held in the metaverse, in virtual reality.
Bar-Zeev also supports the future of augmented reality. Rather than being fully immersed in virtual reality, augmented reality interacts the real world with the virtual, putting digital objects into you real world perspective, through glasses that have already been created by google.
He prefers this future, as augmented reality maintains a connection to the real world, not allowing complete ignorance of the world around us. After all, we shouldn’t have to escape our world 24/7, we should aim to improve it.
The Dangers of The Metaverse
Avi Bar-Zeev is an ardent supporter of the metaverse, but also warns about its dangers. The first danger is one that the internet has arguably succumb to – advertising. As immersion becomes more prominent, companies may become tempted to profit off the immersion.
Virtual reality offers even greater space, a full 3-dimensional world, advertisers will aim to take up some of this space. Filling up the metaverse with advertising, a constant exposure to commercials and signage, is Bar-Zeev’s worst nightmare – but isn’t impossible. The pop-up ads of the current internet might migrate into the metaverse.
Additionally, tracking and other privacy issues might present themselves in the metaverse, but regulation continues to grow against these invasions – so Avi isn’t too worried about that.
Is the Metaverse the Next Internet? The Final Word
The metaverse will most likely replace the current internet within a decade. It knows no bounds – from gaming, to work, to a simple connection to your family and friends – the metaverse will have it all. There’s some things to stay aware of, but ultimately, the metaverse will deliver an immersion and connection never imagined possible before.