What is Metaverse technology?
Although most people today know about Metaverse through the tech-giant Meta (known as Facebook formerly), the idea is not entirely new.
First mentioned in the Sci-Fi novel Snow Crash, it is described as ‘virtual-reality based interactive internet’, where you do not actually browse through the internet, you are actually in it. Metaverse technology is a thing of fantasy, where you are present in the digital world itself. It is connectivity on a whole other level.
In the Metaverse, each person has an avatar; a kind of virtual personality that can look like however you want. Your avatar represents you in the metaverse, you interact with the content and other people through your avatar. Meta, in its keynote on Metaverse, showed how extremely realistic avatars can be in the future.
Metaverse technology will enable us to do just about anything in the virtual world; like connecting with other people as if they are right with us, buying virtual assets, playing games in a whole new way, and more through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Metaverse is the future of social networking.
The good about Metaverse
Metaverse technology will bring a technological revolution. It has many good things to bring to the world of the internet. In the near future, Metaverse is most likely to take over the internet in ways we can only imagine right now. Following are some of the areas where Metaverse will bring many benefits.
Before the internet, there were only books for the gain of knowledge and information. People would either buy the books or go to the nearest library to learn about their wonderings.
Then came the internet, the huge bomb of information. Anyone from anywhere could look up information about anything with just a few strokes of keyboard keys. Today, if you are curious about some odd phenomenon that you just came across or if you are a student and want additional information about, let’s say Intermolecular Forces it is no problem if you have a good Wi-Fi connection and a device with an internet browser on it. There are many resources on the internet for the information that you want.
What if we could take that to another level? What if instead of just looking at information text, we experience the knowledge? Well, here comes the Metaverse technology.
Let’s say you want to learn about a planet. By just putting on your VR headset or your AR glasses, you will be able to either bring that planet into your room or be in the vastness of space, orbiting that planet and simultaneously learning about that planet.
Through metaverse technology, you cannot only travel through space but you can also time-travel. For example: if you want to learn about some ancient era, you can travel to that time using an educational simulation through your VR headset.
In the metaverse, you will be able to express yourself in ways far more engaging and interesting. You can be anything in the metaverse, or at least your avatar can be anything. You can be of any gender, race, or age. You can even be any kind of a creature. You can express yourself to others in any way you want. For example, if you are short in real life, you can be tall in the metaverse!
It is kind of like the movie Spy Kids 3: Game Over, where the character Grandfather uses a wheelchair in real life while in a video game he can walk and run freely. Metaverse technology is really like science fiction.
The metaverse is certainly bringing a lot of fun with many things to contribute to the entertainment industry.
For entertainment purposes on the internet, we look at video content or read amusing articles. We look at funny memes and have fun playing video games. In the metaverse, we are going to interact with content in a much bigger way. Already, VR gaming has become quite popular. With VR headsets and motion controllers, people already play a lot of games. Metaverse can take that to another level.
Let’s say you want to play ping pong with a friend. In the metaverse, both your and your friend’s avatars can play ping pong with each other in any kind of setting. You can be anywhere in the world and play real-life physical games using AR. The magic of metaverse technology is fascinating.
Metaverse technology gives us the power of teleportation. Yes, you read that right. At least virtually, it is possible.
Custom places can be designed in the metaverse. Anyone can have a space of their own. It can be however one likes. If a friend of yours has a place in the metaverse, then you can instantly ‘teleport’ to that location within the metaverse and have fun with your friend. Metaverse technology eliminates the need for office spaces, schools, and some other institutions. All these places can be designed in the metaverse.
So why would anyone want to leave their house and physically travel to their place of work, when they could do just that by putting on a VR headset and have almost the same kind of experience, if not a better one?
Metaverse also eliminates the need for any kind of transport. All this seems like a reach but the metaverse is a place of endless possibilities, so it is only a matter of time before metaverse takes over.
With less traveling and more connectivity, people can get more work done in the metaverse. You can work in any setting you want. However, you want. The technologies involved in the metaverse will allow us to input information faster and more efficiently. More on the technologies later but you can text someone just by thinking of moving your fingers in the metaverse. Metaverse is going to change the way we work. Digitally designed frameworks are going to help a lot.
Instead of physical, real-life products, we could have digital ones in the metaverse. So, no waste and inefficiency!
Metaverse technology is going to have a radical impact on commerce. Metaverse will consist of virtual assets. And those virtual assets are most likely to be bought through cryptocurrencies which are made using blockchain technology. As part of the Horizon Worlds, Meta is developing a store called Horizon marketplace, where anyone can sell their digital products.
The bad about Metaverse
• What's real?
Metaverse is going to have a big effect on our brains. With such a vast space of infinite possibilities, metaverse may take away our perception of reality. Now, this last sentence may seem a little dramatic, but if we are immersed in the metaverse for a long time and build a whole life there, it may become a problem for our brains.
Moreover, in the metaverse, we will have a personalized experience. And metaverse technology is going to support that. Suppose there are some things that you don’t like, so metaverse technology takes it out of your metaverse experience but it is a real thing. So, when you face that thing one way or another in real life, you may not be sure how to react.
• Data privacy
We will need high-security frameworks and systems to protect our identity details and our personal data. Meta has already had several troubles with protecting users’ data, and so it is of great importance that nothing goes wrong like before in the metaverse. And to keep metaverse a safe place, it will require intense moderation. So it should be very open to the people joining the metaverse, that how will their data be used.
• Compliance with the law
As said before, the metaverse is a place of endless possibilities. It will not be like the real world we are used to be living in. And so, it may require different laws. People will interact differently in the metaverse, they will “live” differently, they will work differently, etc. All that will likely require unique rules and regulations so that there isn’t any chaos in the metaverse.
The leading company in building the metaverse is Meta. The company was formerly known as Facebook, and they changed their name to Meta, specifically so that they could represent themselves as a metaverse company.
Meta owns Oculus, which produces VR headsets and the most used social media platforms (Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook) as well. Meta is certainly going to be a big player in the game of metaverse technology.
Microsoft recently announced Mesh, which will bring metaverse to Microsoft Teams. Mesh is a digital environment where you can collaborate with people holographically. You can create a personalized avatar of yourself to interact with other people using AR and VR. The “holoportation” feature will allow you to project yourself as your most lifelike, photorealistic self in mixed reality to interact as if you are there in person.
• Epic Games
Epic Games made Fortnite, one of the most popular video games of all time. Fornite already hosts many gatherings like virtual concerts and more. It is one of the largest online platforms where people interact on a daily basis. In 2021, Epic Games announced funding of $1 Billion to support its long-term vision for the Metaverse.
Decentraland is a virtual world based on the Ethereum blockchain where users can buy land and do a bunch of activities like interact, play, and explore. Virtual events can be held in Decentraland as well.
These are just some of the main companies involved in building the metaverse. There are many more companies that are getting involved in the making of the metaverse. Eventually, each and every company in the world will have to acknowledge metaverse and its hype.
The technologies involved
• Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is one of the key technologies involved in developing the metaverse.
AI will be used to make accurate to life avatars. AI can analyze a person’s behavior, expressions, hairstyle, and other details and thus help in creating an avatar that looks just like the real person.
Moreover, since metaverse technology is us being fully immersed in the digital world, a powerful connection needs to be established between us and the machines. Through machine learning, we can input information faster and more efficiently since AI can also assist in human-computer interactions.
• Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is also an important technology that will be used to access many services and features of the metaverse. Through VR, we will go into the digital world and interact with many people from around the world, play different games, work in interesting environments, and more. Virtual Reality has been around for a while now. Many companies manufacture VR headsets that are used for various purposes, mainly gaming. Metaverse technology is going to make use of VR to open the users to an ever-expanding space of possibilities.
Meta is also planning to launch a VR headset code-named “Project Cambria”. Not only will this headset be comfortable to wear but it will also come with some mind-blowing features. Cambria will detect your facial expressions, and so you will be able to express yourself through your avatar better.
• Augmented Reality
Augmented reality lets you enhance your physical world by adding additional information via technology.
One of the most popular AR implementations of recent history is the mobile video game Pokémon GO. The game allows players to catch Pokémons from anywhere in their surroundings by projecting them into the physical world through the phones’ screens.
AR will be a big part of the metaverse. For example, people could project holograms of their friends into their rooms and talk with them. In a much similar way, office meetings could be held at home and give a much more real feeling.
Electromyography or EMG input devices in an AR environment could be used to input information into the metaverse. EMG input devices, like EMG wristbands, will detect your muscle response and electrical activity, and just by moving your hands or fingers, you will be able to do anything. You can even send someone a text message just by thinking about moving your fingers!
With every innovation and new technology, there come fears and fright. But there are also many opportunities to develop and grow. No doubt that everything must be used cautiously. Nothing is perfect. Metaverse technology is coming, and it may well be the future of the internet and social networking. Metaverse is going to bring a lot of business opportunities and high-value technologies. We just have to use it responsibly.