Metaverse is not real but it was really useful

In a society seemingly addicted to “the new, the new,” it is easy to overlook talking about the “metaverse” as a classic technological hype. It’s not that or at least, it’s about to happen and is becoming more of it.

There’s a reason tech tycoons are betting their future on this technology to expand the Internet into a permanent virtual reality, one that has the potential to consume everything in its path and regenerate it. recreate society. Mark Zuckerberg may be a threat, but he’s willing to ignore criticism and embrace the future. When he changed Facebook’s name to Meta, he took a $200 billion loss in the company’s market value and a $30 billion drop in his own net worth.

He’s hardly alone in his willingness to take risks. Rony Abovitz, a confidant of Zuckerberg, has received more than $2.5 billion in funding from a diverse list of venture capital and private equity investors, including Alibaba and Google, for the project. his previous Magic Leap virtual reality. Former Disney CEO Robert Iger is also joining, holding a seat on the board of Los Angeles-based Genies, which has raised $100 million in venture funding to shape the giant. to represent celebrities on Metaverse as well as to sell virtual goods. Disney itself also has a senior VP dedicated to its metaverse strategy, a former CTO at the entertainment giant with a “history of enabling transformation… Especially when it comes to bridges between the physical worlds.” and digital”.

Abovitz compares the current discovery of what he calls “inner space” – a blend of “neuroscience, imagination, consciousness, physics and adventure” – with pioneers in the field. space program of Mercury. Matthew Ball, CEO of venture capital firm Epyllion, told Bloomberg he predicts the super-inverse economy producing between $10 and $30 trillion over 15 years.

The idea of ​​a “metaverse” began in 2003 with Second Life, a game and marketplace that former Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale envisioned as a limitless, limitless “green field” where Avatars interact with other avatars, create buildings and communities together, and build a virtual economy. In fact, it seemed (and still seems) to be animated and man-made, a “place” where people buy and sell virtual goods and virtual real estate with little consumer protection. That said, as of the time of this writing, more than 900,000 people are still “playing” Second Life, which was acquired by an investment group led by Randy Waterfield and Brad Oberwager.

For an animated and artificial feel, including Zuckerberg’s introduction of the “Metaverse,” of these worlds, which are things that can change rapidly with technological progress, have a dizzying speed accelerated. further due to the online impact of the pandemic, allowing major advances in the liveliness, or “lifelike appearance” of these virtual environments to be made. Two special technologies, sensory field computing and artificial intelligence, can help users feel like what they’re going through is real. Sensory field computing refers to how computers translate the five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell) into digital reality. Virtual reality pioneer Charlie Fink, who teaches at Chapman’s Dodge Film School, explains that the intended effect is to create an “internet where you’re inside looking out” rather than watching from a screen. Figure.

The invention of virtual reality glasses like the Oculus, later acquired by Facebook (now Meta), was a big step forward for the visual and audio elements, although still not enough. However, according to Abovitz, founder of Mako Surgery, Magic Leap, and now Sun and Thunder, we are moving toward what he calls Neurological True Reality, where all five senses can be expressed as one. in such a vivid way that one’s neurons cannot distinguish what is physical reality. and digital reality. He believes the technology holds the potential to help people with severe trauma, such as those with PTSD, recover by “rewinding” their brains to adapt to a different, non-traumatic reality. . Sufferers can replace their tumultuous old world with a whole new perspective and context for a more normal life.

But whatever the individual impact of this technology, the real game here is economic. The growth path of social media, in which the average American spends more than eight hours a day posting, signing up, and conducting e-commerce, has proven highly profitable — and even even more amid a pandemic shutdown — for tech tycoon-controlled platforms. As the tools for creating more surreal, lifelike content evolve, people will find themselves spending more and more time in the metaverse. That, combined with the building blocks of secure digital commerce including cryptocurrencies, blockchains, and irreplaceable tokens, will lead to people using the metaverse as their primary platform for interaction. together.

In the past, most people had to go to work to make a living. More people can now work from home, and even after the pandemic, according to Stanford’s Nicholas Bloom, about 20% of the workforce won’t be in the office every day — four times the pre-pandemic rate. . In the tech world, the University of Chicago suggests, that could include 50% of the workforce. This next tech boom may still be headquartered in Silicon Valley, but it won’t be as geographically concentrated as the last; Meta herself has rented out 33 floors in Austin. This boom is likely to be widely distributed.

Looking to the future, it’s not too far-fetched to think that people will adapt themselves to being constantly online. Not all implications are negative. Chabad, the Jewish Orthodox powerhouse, purchased what The Times of Israel called “the first Jewish outpost in the metaverse.” According to Abovitz, the potential for experiential learning can relive the past in ways hitherto inconceivable.

But at the same time, as they live online, people also become more observable, making it possible for the companies that control the metaverse to more accurately sense and predict people’s behavior and give them the opportunity to purchase digital and physical goods and services that satisfy their exact needs. This economy will not only be fueled by personalized advertising like social media is today, but also by buying and selling physical goods. Unlike in a primitive virtual world like Second Life, every purchase in the metaverse will be tracked for ownership, transactions, currency, and assets in ways that will provide some measure of security. This has the hallmarks of a real economy.

And, because it’s not built on ads, the metaverse won’t end up as “a paralyzing psychoactive drug” like phones and social media, but something “well managed” and with anyone to both produce and consume digital goods.

Real estate, or maybe better, real estate, seems to be a particularly hot area. If you’re spending 18 hours a day in virtual reality, you’ll probably love a 32-room mansion in Southampton. You can’t buy that in the physical world. But you can buy a virtual one, outfit it with “authentic” Napoleonic virtual antiques, and sleep in it with your immersive headset. You can even “own” the mansion, although its creator can also create 2 million copies of it to sell to others who will “own” copies of it.

Banking giant HSBC made headlines when it agreed to partner with The Sandbox, a San Francisco-based startup, to promote virtual real estate. JPMorgan Chase has developed its own digital real estate product in Decentraland.

You may also want to have a family, but having children in the “real world” is an expensive proposition. The pain of childbirth and lengthy parenting slogans can also be a deterrent. Imagine being able to pick and raise virtual babies. Back in the “Neo Pets” days, virtual babies would be nurtured, educated, and mostly fed and cared for. The cost of doing all of this will likely be a fraction of its real-world equivalent. But imagine a world where babies don’t suckle in the middle of the night, have no stretch marks, no pain. And those children will be yours. They will have your digital DNA in them. You will have “clear headers” for them.

That’s the flip side, and the metaverse could theoretically limit the diversity and openness of the early Internet. But as Abovitz points out, the big strides don’t come from startups in the garage but from big tech companies who, like Facebook, can afford to invest billions of dollars and become become the “technologist” of our time. The risk, as we’ve seen in recent years, is that we might end up giving our lives to a few companies that rent out their serfs, not citizens, the daily digital bread. their day because “we love their free software and games”.

The history of the last decade – increasing technological concentration, censorship and growing inequality – may only repeat itself in the new universe. After all, we’ve known the negative social effects of internet technology for a quarter of a century, yet continue to strengthen and expand its centralizing power. Fink argues that the pace of technology development is so fast that “there is no form of representative government to keep up with what is happening.” Instead, we may see a further strengthening of our already existing “surveillance society” — and even a move toward eternal life (or, perhaps, life in the future). eternal second life) by loading consciousness into the metaverse.

Yanis Varoufakis, a former Greek finance minister, suggests that the metaverse could be the killer app for an emerging “technological feudalism” where a handful of companies are essentially creating “rights” absolute control of your senses in the multiverse created by some device.” These companies may exercise “excessive power over troubled souls,” a perversion as first discovered in Huxley’s Brave new worldand more recently movies like The place of paradise and 2047.

This sounds a bit scary. But as the real world becomes more and more problematic and people seek to escape the inflation, crime, disease, and other norms of contemporary living, the appeal of another world, a a place of escape, which can be irresistible to consumers and highly profitable for suppliers. Metaverse is not real but it was really useful

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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