The metaverse It is the new concept that will probably star in the next evolutionary process of society digital in the current decade.
The metaverse allows human beings to overcome the physical and temporal limitations of the real universe to enter new and infinite universes through avatars or virtual projections of people.
Metaverses have been with us for years, but lately Decentraland, Sandbox, Cryptovoxels, Roblox or Earth2 have become very popular. But they will be the metaverses of Goal (before Facebook), Microsoft Y Google those that will popularize these new virtual environments, particularly due to their market power and their clear social or professional orientation.
For these big tech companies the metaverse is a key concept in their long-term growth strategy, although they are aware that developing a metaverse functional and without operational fissures will require several years and will only be a reality in the medium / long term.
It is very probable that the passage of metaverse describe a relatively long and slow initial trajectory before, at a given moment, undergoing a sudden development. This happened, for example, with bitcoins (initially unnoticed) or with mobile telephony whose turning point was the arrival of the smartphone.
Make the leap to metaverses seems much more plausible after the sudden and intense digital transformation caused by the pandemic, which has revolutionized teleworking and the digital insertion of many sectors of the population, previously reluctant or oblivious to change.
Buying online or participating in video calls has reached all ages and all strata of the population. Thus, the transition from browsing the web or meetings with a grid screen to the immersive experience virtual will be more natural and understandable.
Meeting rooms or classrooms virtual in the educational field, they will allow work and learning experiences equivalent to the flight simulators of years ago. The scalability of the training in most of the educational stages through augmented reality deployed within the metaverses – as is already being done in some companies – will be the best way to transfer the praxis to the students, while helping to transform the model educational.
Learning in an immersive environment will multiply the efficiency of the process and increase the concentration that is currently so impaired by the intrusion of instant messaging and device notifications.
To be able to recreate such experiences immersive as intense, the new optical and sensory devices can be used (glasses of virtual reality or augmented reality). The power of current devices allows experiences with 360-degree vision and increasing sensorization, although most users still access the metaverses from their personal computers or mobile devices accessing only two-dimensional experiences.
From another point of view, the popularization of crypto assets or virtual currencies and other recent innovations in this field, such as NFTs (non fungible tokens) allow the aggregation of technology layers such as blockchain.
In a way, metaverses they seem the ideal environment for technological convergence. Thus, the accreditation of the identity of users or the registration of digital properties in this new virtual universe is a field of great interest for blockchain technology.
Also massive data processing techniques (big data) will allow companies to know the behavior, habits, tastes and trends of the avatars and, consequently, of the corresponding consumers they represent. These consumers may have very different habits depending on their life in virtual or real environment. This can lead many to move their consumption from the real world to the virtual world, where they can be who they want to be.
Art and metaverse
Artificial intelligence will amplify the effects and opportunities of life in those metaverses. Quantum computing will mark a digital revolution that will find an ideal work environment in metaverses. Meanwhile, inspiring digital artists, world dreamers and space designers will find a universe of opportunities.
It will be easier than ever to shape dreams and imagination. The entertainment industry will experience a real disruption, as will commerce or the financial industry. Politics will also develop in these new environments and, consequently, technological wars and cyber threats will be uncomfortable protagonists.
Without a doubt, the metaverse It is the new evolutionary phase of internet browsing. It is the evolution from the passive and “flat” internet to the interactive and sensorially spatial internet.
In metaverses, social and work life will be an essential and daily component, as has happened with social networks in the last decade.
Avatar and citizen
We are still in the early stages of the adoption curve of the metaverse, so the uncertainty is considerable. Especially since its concept and significance do not represent a perceptible value proposition for the vast majority of the world’s population. In fact, the word metaverse It is only part of the colloquial jargon of a minority of people in relative population terms; and even fewer are actually interacting in the various metaverses.
Everything looks fascinating but also controversial. The human being seems to deify himself by creating his own worlds, even if it is in virtual space, inhabited by avatars that represent real people. Therefore, it is essential to assess moral, ethical and philosophical issues.
Virtual citizenship and avatarization of individuals requires supervision and a certain amount of protection, especially for the most vulnerable. Some of the companies that created the metaversesAware of the reputational risks, they assure that they will protect their users’ data, although they recognize the real challenge of ensuring the privacy and ethical control of these new spaces yet to be discovered.
Metaverse and consumption
The economic facet of the metaverses will have a clear role. In recent months there have been transactions that never cease to amaze: an avatar bought a virtual yacht for 650 thousand dollars. The Republic Realm company bought a plot for $ 4.3 million in the Sandbox metaverse. In Decentraland a virtual premises of 560 digital square meters for 2.4 million dollars. In Fortnite or Decentraland concerts of renowned singers take place.
With the metaverse monetary systems are developed parallel to those of the real world through currencies virtual. Digital plots, houses, vehicles and clothes are bought because also there they will want to pretend social status and purchasing power.
Under this approach, metaverses they can be likened to an escape plan from the limited, controlled, regulated and guaranteed earthly space to a new unexplored space that must be built (but that also offers mirages).
One of the main risks of metaverses can be the obsession with leading utopian lives, with a progressive distancing from reality and a possible irreversible immersion for some.
The metaverse is a new manifestation of a digital society that is still in its infancy.
* To read the original note you can click here.
* By Ricardo Palomo Zurdo, Professor of Financial Economics at CEU San Pablo.
* The Conversation is an independent, non-profit source of news, analysis, and commentary from academic experts.