So what is the Metaverse? It sounds like a subject billionaires talk about to be in the spotlight, like the owner of Tesla, Elon Musk on how he wants to build a world on Mars. Another news is about Mark Zuckerberg, on how he rebrands Facebook to Meta. It seems like all the billionaires are all into Metaverse.
The term "Metaverse" is not new, but there has recently been a surge in popularity and speculation about what this all means in practice. The metaverse idea is useful and will likely be surrounding us for some time. This is an ideology and concept worth understanding even if, you are not interested in the whole idea of Metaverse or crypto in general.
Humans have developed many technologies to trick our senses, from audio speakers and televisions to interactive video games and virtual reality, and in the future, we may develop tools to trick other senses of our body such as touch and smell. There are various names for this technology but do date, there is no terminology to describe the 1st creation of the world we live in now (the physical world) and a world which is built by men with false visuals compared to reality (the virtual world)
Words like "internet" and "virtual world" have been associated with the places we access via computer and mobile screens. They don't quite capture the stable interweaving of the internet with virtual reality (like 3D game worlds or virtual cities) and augmented reality (like navigation overlays or Pokemon GO).
Facebook announced recently that they are tapping into the Metaverse. To the extend Facebook to be rebranded to Meta. Mark Zuckerberg shared the idea of how business on Facebook will look like and how social media will have a new breath of life by incorporating Metaverse.
The term Metaverse has been a catchy and trending word though scholars and academics have been writing and documenting this idea. It didn’t catch and gain much popularity due to the word itself “Extended Reality”. It sounded old fashion and hence a boring name (subject) to be adopted by the mass. This made the majority of the people ignore the old fashion term of the metaverse.
"Metaverse", coined by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel "Snow Crash," has a different and more appealing approach. Authors have an instinct of recognizing trends of names that need to capture their audience like "Cyberspace" comes from William Gibson's 1982 book; "Robot" comes from Karel Musty's 1920 play.
Recent neologisms such as "cloud" or "Internet of Things" have stuck with us indefinitely because they are practical ways of referring to technologies that are becoming increasingly important to the human race. Metaverse sits in this same category.
If you hear/read extensively about big giant tech companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple, you'll probably experience the rapid technological advancements (such as the rise of the metaverse) are inevitable. It's a given choice and it’s not hard to start thinking about how this new technology will be shaping our society, politics, and culture, and how we will adapt this in our daily lives in the future.
This idea is called "technological determinism," the notion that technological advancement shape our social, power, and cultural relationships, with us as the passengers (some trendsetters). This ignores the fact that in a democratic society we have a say in how all of this happens.
For Facebook and other big giant companies, that are adamant to embrace the "next big thing" before their competitors do, the metaverse is attractive technology because it presents opportunities to the market, new types of social networks, new consumer gadgets, and new patents.
The only question here is – will you and I embrace this new technology willingly and be happy with the advancement and the opportunity it brings to the table?
A challenge that is currently spurring around is, what kind of worldview with the metaverse represent?
A glimpse of an experience of Metaverse can be derived or taught of us as a human, being in a box or a container within a single reality. Imagine you as an individual that enters a room full of rose gardens and butterflies and streams flowing and nothing is real but you experience a whole new life and environment around you. This is what Facebook is trying to implement within the Facebook Metaverse.
In another approach, which sociologists say is common in Indigenous cultures, each of us is able to create the reality we live in through what we do in our daily lives or whish such an environment. This includes the work environment, socializing and connecting people, land, life, and spirituality, and together creating reality. It’s like building a whole new world based on the creativity and need of the person at the present moment.
The main challenge with the current (existing) view is that it leads to a "single world domination": a reality (virtual reality) that does not permit other realities to be infused in. This is what we have been experiencing with existing platforms.
The idea of a Metaverse is shifting daily into our lives, knowing or unknowingly within a universal platform. The metaverse offers us endless possibilities by overcoming the constraints of the physical world; but by doing so, it only replaces the limitations imposed by what the metaverse allows.