By: A. Melcon
The metaverse is essentially a virtual reality network which acts as an online multiplayer game in which humans are now choosing to carry out activities which they would usually only carry out in their real lives in.
This new virtual reality platform allows users to use avatars to represent themselves, communicate with others and to use digital currencies to make purchases such as clothes, cars, residencies and more- all online. As the metaverse is accessed with virtual reality headphones and occurs on a digital platform instead of real life, users are also offered more unique experiences such as travelling to exotic places, watching exciting football matches and more; all of which are experiences that may be out of their usual comfort zone or budget, making this alternative very attractive to some.
When studying how the metaverse works, it is important to know internet is not to be confused with it.
Whilst the internet is a platform one can browse on, play games on and research on, metaverse is a digital reality game in which players can essentially “live in”. Therefore, it can be affirmed that the internet will not be suffering from any competition from metaverse, as metaverse simply builds on the internet and what is offered.
Although metaverse, at the beginning of its creation, was seen merely as a vision which, due to the distinct nature of it and the fact that humans had not yet seemed to have reached such a high amount of interaction with technology and virtual reality, was not seen as something which would expand significantly, its perception amongst humans is rapidly changing.
Facebook has even announced that it will rename its corporate name “Meta” in support of this virtual reality; This is just one of the factors that suggest the magnitude of the impact metaverse could have on the world. It is evident that, if metaverse were to become the extremely popular online platform many are suggesting it will become, it is clear that critical changes to society and our economy would follow.
Even though there are many factors that have allowed the growth of popularity of metaverse, analytics have limited it down to three important qualities. Firstly, the success of metaverse can be partially attributed to how realistic the presence that users feel is, as now, especially with new virtual reality developments such as head mounted displays, the quality of user interactions have increased significantly.
Moreover, standardization, which allows the program to work across a variety of platforms, also has taken a part in making metaverse more popular as it has increased how accessible it is. Lastly, the ability for the virtual assets purchased in the metaverse to be used in other virtual platforms, one example being zoom is also a considerable factor. Also, NFOs and other digital technologies continue to facilitate the transfer of digital goods from a virtual world to the real world.
However, despite how clearly one can see the many benefits such as convenience, excitement and new economic opportunities metaverse can offer to the civilian population, there are also many negative social implications we must consider before allowing our society to become so fully immersed in a digital program.
Already, with the increasing access to the internet and technology, many suffer from user addiction, which undoubtfully has countless negative effects on how society is shaped if this were to occur in mass numbers. Moreover, it would increase exposure to other dangers of the internet, some examples being hacking, hate speech, privacy breaches and countless others. Most importantly, metaverse poses a great threat to how we will be able to communicate and live within the real world.
Will spending hours and hours on this virtual reality, in which everything is just pixels on a screen, instead of atoms and real-life particulates, change the way we behave? Will we perhaps lose touch of reality and the real world and instead become addicted and immersed in what is essentially an online role-playing game? Or will we be able to successfully use the metaverse to our advantage for new business opportunities and a new market without relying on it completely for our social interactions?
Unfortunately, only the future holds the answers to the infinite questions one may ask themselves about the overall impact metaverse will have on the human population. Therefore, we must only wait for time to tell, and in the meantime, take precautions with how we, as individuals, respond to these new advances in technology with consideration and care.