Let's take a glimpse into an ultramodern world where reality enters into the folds of a dreamland. It is a whole universe of imagination where everything meets the virtual world. Teleportation into different worlds can even happen in a very realistic way. We will face both the real and virtual worlds simultaneously. We have to use internet technologies, not as an option, but as necessary. The clock is ticking to take us into that future, and that's not too far. Let's look at what the Metaverse is and how it will shape our future.
Metaverse : What is it actually and how does it work ?
Metaverse comes from the words "Meta'' (meaning beyond) and "Universe". The term was first coined by Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel "Snow Crash". It was also depicted in Ernest Cline's novel "Ready Player One". Who knew science fiction was going to be real within a few years?
Metaverse refers to a virtual world that lies beyond the physical world. You can put the word "Universe" instead of "world" here too. It is a hypothetically 3D environment where reality is extended to meet the virtual world. It is not the classical concept of a VR game or movie/show. It will consist of our everyday experiences of communication, education, entertainment, tourism, official works, etc. The Metaverse will be suitable for almost everyone to use. This single concept can change our outlook on everything.
The 'Metaverse' will be possible through VR (Virtual Reality) incorporated with AR (Augmented Reality). Some additional features will be added to provide a better sense of the real environment. Except the social media elements, holographic avatar identity, content creation, social acceptability, cryptocurrencies etc. will be added. Some games where Metaverse is claimed to be already existent are Active Worlds, Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite etc. But the concept will reach a new dimension in the future.
Besides games, Metaverse in the future will allow people to work, study, do business, play, tour, paint, exercise, listen to concerts, create something, socialize etc. In that world,cryptocurrencies will be introduced for economic purposes. Teleportation will be possible shorthand.
When will it become possible?
Tech companies are rushing to create it as soon as possible. CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook), Mark Zuckerberg, estimates that it could take five to ten years before the key features of the Metaverse become mainstream (USA Today). The Metaverse will be a mirror world, of augmented and mixed reality. Meta, Microsoft, Magic Leap etc. are working on it and billionaires are investing in it. Although, initially, it is going to be expensive, eventually, the costs of the VR materials will come down to ensure that for everyone. Cryptocurrencies may be introduced there as a medium of economic exchange.
'' Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream and so were computers and smartphones.''- Mark Zuckerberg.
How it will change the world
It will bring a revolution in every sphere, including education, workplaces, shopping, tourism, games, sports, business, communication, and what not to change the way we look at the world. Just like the internet and the phones have made the world connect, the Metaverse will do something beyond the dimensions. Alongside everyone,the physically challenged and the disabled people will especially be benefitted.
Imagine yourself roaming about in space while taking lessons on the solar system. You can travel to a different planet, through a spaceship in front of eyes which seem real, in a virtual Universe. You can even encounter any event in history, like a war or a disaster. You can be present in an ancient age of a historical event yourself while learning about that. You can even enter the era of dinosaurs, meet them and experience the disasters that destroyed many civilizations hundreds of years ago. Getting the 3D images of the scientific terms will be possible too.
Every student will get the best classroom in any part of the world. Not just a virtual classroom on a screen, but a complete classroom, be it a university where you can communicate with the professors for learning or just a school classroom with your classmates beside you. There, education will be so much fun!
Workplace and Business
Work opportunities will be abundant in the digital world. In particular, physically challenged people will benefit from it as they can do any job here. Work facilities will extend the digital world by conducting all official work. A 1 billion dollar metaverse platform will sell high fashion for digital avatars ( Business Insider). Car companies like BMW, even news media like the BBC, are shaping their images in the online world (Financial Times). Real estate companies will work on virtual land and properties. Houses, companies, markets, commercial spaces, schools, and universities will be established there for use. Buyers and sellers will connect in different ways. Suppose you are exploring Mount Everest for your class assignment, and you suddenly remember about the groceries you need to buy. You can instantly switch from there to buy those necessary groceries by choosing them on a realistic shop by moving in there. You can then order those products to be delivered to your real home.
(Image: Virtual shopping mall)
Distance will not be any matter of concern for realistic communications. You can get together with your friends virtually in a gaming zone or on a hangout that's beyond today's video calls. Besides, you can switch from one place to another, carry anything to show your friends, investigate, and shift it back there again. Communication in classrooms, business meetings, socialization, and even hangouts at any place and time will seem inexplicably real. Social media will become live in the real world.
You can watch a concert by your favorite artist, for example, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, or Marshmello live on the metaverse. You can even enter into your favorite song in the musical environment.
Sports and Games
You can watch football matches in the virtual stadium where fans beside you are cheering for their favorite teams among the audience. Other sports will have the same features with new enthusiasm.
Moreover, entering into video games and playing them is a new feeling that will be extensively possible in the Metaverse.
Entertainment companies like Disney will have the best way to utilize the full potential of the Metaverse and create a fairytale dreamland that everyone, irrespective of age, wishes to enter into. Kingdoms of inexplicable beauty, artful works of imaginary palaces, dreamy magical powers will come to life. Besides, historical, sci-fi, horror, disastrous, and any type of movie will be capable of entering into an AR environment. Imagine being present in a fantasy world of a favorite movie. That is coming soon by the Metaverse.
Changing everything can even be dangerous.
Science fiction is coming to reality. But this technology will bring possible harm just like the others. Health and mentality can be affected, leading to problems that cannot be cured in the virtual world.
Getting detached from reality
As much as humans are advancing on internet technologies, we are losing track of our lives and surroundings. Socialization is based on social media sites. The more realistic the virtual world gets, the more fake people become. The dark sides of social media are already evident. Nevertheless, people are still getting addicted to that against their consciousness.
Ignoring society and social people
Even now, some people abandon society and people around them and get submerged within the screens, doubting their existence and everything. How serious will it get when the screens take the form of a complete environment? Social norms, culture, and the environment will face abandonment.
Ignoring the Earth and environment
Already, most people are ignorant about the future of global warming and the environment. However, we are becoming conscious now. But once the trend of hashtags #Save the environment fades, how many of us will still think of the Earth? If the virtual environment becomes our favorite place, the real one will face abandonment.
Losing track of real works
Real-life work will get less importance due to the holographic versions of reality.
VR gamers have reported several health issues, including eye damage, disorientation, even seizures. Motion sickness, eye strain, headache, and nausea also impact VR users. Experts say that VR can affect the eye-brain connection. Besides, long-term lack of physical work can affect physical health too, causing diseases. However, exercise can prevent that.
Although the futuristic prototype will take us into a different Universe, the possible negativity should be kept in mind. Since the ''Metaverse'' is a concept from science fiction, it will probably make our imagination evolve into a true form. But, when we say that it will change the world, it also means keeping aside the benefits.