Metaverse: An Alternative to Reality

We all have fantasized about living in such a wonderland where everyone can be whoever they want and be their own heroes in their own fantasy world. It could be possible to do that in the Metaverse.

The Metaverse is an immersive virtual reality technology that was officially announced by Meta (the new name of the Facebook company) last year. However, technology has existed in science fiction novels and movies for over three decades. People have fantasized for a long time about experiencing those fantasy worlds in their imaginations. Today, it’s possible to live their fantasies.

 

Creating Digital Experiences

Just last October, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the rebranding of his company. Even though his announcement was out of the blue to Facebook users, Zuckerberg stated that the renaming of Facebook was essential as a symbol of a way forward to realizing the Metaverse.

The Metaverse is an augmented reality environment that allows people to live and interact virtually. Metaverse technology is all about creating digital experiences in cyberspaces as an alternative to reality. It has the potential to alter the way people interact with each other. Tech corporations are already in a race to dominate the Metaverse market.

According to the reports from Grand View Research, the global Metaverse industry is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.4% from 2022 to 2030. The report further stated that the major factors expected to drive the revenue growth in the coming years include: a growing focus on integrating digital and physical worlds using the Internet; the increasing momentum and popularity of Mixed Reality (MR); Augmented Reality (AR); and Virtual Reality (VR).

 

Fantasies Before the Metaverse

In 1992, the American novelist Neal Stephenson, in his science fiction called Snow Crash, depicted a digital world where people use digital avatars to live, work, and play online. The author coined the name “Metaverse,” which he used to refer to a world where people escape their dystopian reality. The novel also narrates two giant tech companies dominating the Snow Crash digital spaces and controlling the entire operations rather than governments.

In 1996, everyone’s favorite Space Jam movie was released. The story is about a famous basketball player character called Michael Jordan, partnering up with a cartoon character named Bugs Bunny for a basketball match in an alternative reality world. For the match, Jordan and his other teammates were teleported into a cartoon world where they had to face giant cartoon opponents.

In 1999, in the movie The Matrix, the character Neo was given the option to swallow “Red pill or Blue pill”, which were metaphorical representations of simulation and reality; dream world and real-world; in order to escape painful reality. The character chose the “Red pill” and started experiencing a dream world, which is a metaverse of The Matrix.

In 2018, a movie called Ready Player One, which was based on Ernest Cline’s novel was released. It shows that in the year 2045, despite technological advancements, people live in extremely harsh and low living conditions. To escape their painful reality, people use immersion in virtual reality to interact digitally. The movie shows, that people prefer their virtual reality lives over their actual lives.

The 2021 movie, Free Guy, shows a story of a video game character called Free Guy. It turns out, that Guy learns the true nature of his existence when he meets the girl of his dreams, a human player in the Metaverse.

Concerns About the Metaverse

It appears that we are already on the verge of the next digital evolution. In the Metaverse, people have already started playing games, hanging out together, going to clubs, owning digital assets, having digital coins, working in co-working spaces, visiting places, and so on. Better still, Barbados became the first country to establish an embassy in the Metaverse. Really, the possibilities are endless.

However, the technology has its own flaws. Even though it is in its early stages of development, it is being created with cutting-edge technologies and loads of processing power that have the potential to disrupt the operations of a wide range of sectors, including gaming, sports, real estate, media, retail, and fashion, among others.

Furthermore, as tech giants seek to revolutionize how people interact by creating a virtual universe that co-exists with the actual world, many others are concerned that the technology may be used as a tool to manipulate people’s view of reality. After all, much like movies depicting the Metaverse, people might utilize the technology as an alternative to escape their reality.

Additionally, just like any other tech platform, there is a concern regarding security. At this stage, it is uncertain how safe the Metaverse is.

 

Photo: CKA/Shutterstock

 


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