What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is the next evolution of social connection and is Meta Platform Inc's (formerly known as Facebook) vision to help bring the digital world into the real world, and the real world into the digital world. Subsequent to the tech giants recent rebranding from Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg believes that Meta’s Metaverse will be the successor to the Internet, a collective project that goes beyond a single company.
Metaverse is going to change the way that we communicate in a number of ways. It will be created by people all over the world with other huge corporations such as Microsoft giving their insight into revolutionising Teams and Epic Games looking to expand their standpoint.
How will this all be made possible? – Virtual and Augmented Reality. Virtual Reality is a fully immersive simulated experience that is whatever the application makes it to be. Many game applications for VR include simulations such as driving, sports and others. Augmented Reality is an interactive experience shared through goggles, similar to VR, which essentially overlays a computer-generated environment onto the current real world to create a shared experience between the two entities.
Branded as “The successor to the Mobile Internet”, the Meta is going to allow people to unlock new experiences through immersion. The Meta is shifting the traditional screen technologies so that we can have a deep feeling of presence in internet communication. Over the last two years, the remote work scene has made its mark amongst all different types of workspaces and while the restrictions surrounding the pandemic are no longer underway, many of the larger work communication platforms such as Teams, Zoom and Skype are still continuing to be used as an alternative to attending meetings in the flesh.
The Metaverse is looking to revolutionise the way we co-operate and work on projects. Workers will be able to interact with each other inside a digital environment, collaborate on projects and participate in various different tasks that wouldn’t even be viable in the real world. For example putting together a coding project in AR with the physical co-operation of a colleague sharing the same workspace without intruding your physical space. Inside this virtual space people will be represented by avatars in which will show an accurate depiction of yourself for work communication purposes, with the animated wackier avatars reserved for gaming and socialising within the Metaverse. The whole concept of this new communication channel strikes a plethora of benefits. Enhanced productivity on group projects, no travel times as you can work from home in a new digitised home for work which in turn means less vehicles on the road therefor a reduction of greenhouse vehicle emissions.
Meta is investing $150 million in VR/AR in order to unlock the opportunities in the metaverse and are funnelling this funding into building skills, learning, creating and also development. Meta has claimed that these new technological introductions are going to serve 10,000 new jobs in Europe alone. With all these advancements in digitised communication there has been many discussions as to whether these work benefits of the Metaverse would be suitable for education environments given the ease that learning could be with the Metaverses interaction. For many practices in education this is a huge innovation.
Mark Zuckerberg’s vision
Is this quest for virtual expansion and sensory enhancement something positive for the world or is the virtual library of make-believe just a further disconnect for us as people and a further human sensory inhibitor?
Whatever technology we create in order to simplify our day to day tasks, or add value to our lives in terms of experience and entertainment, this must never replace the basis of what is intrinsic to our nature: Human Interaction.
If we start removing human interaction and substituting it with a digitised imitation of what we would prefer the world to see, we lose our identity and isn’t this dangerously detracting away from the very fabric of what being human is about?