The Metaverse Explained
Metaverse is trending every day after Facebook got rebranded to Meta. But what exactly is Metaverse? Technologies involved in its creation? How do Cryptocurrencies are involved in this? Is it really of any use? In this article, you will get to know about the futuristic technology Metaverse and answers to all the above questions.
Imagine the technology in which people meet with their family members and friends but not really, rather in a virtual 3D world. One that is created artificially. People can enter this world while sitting in your room, using a special headset or glasses. Similarly, they are working or studying or shopping, doing almost all the things that you do in the real world, but not in the real world, instead of in this virtual, artificially created world, using this special headset or glasses right from your room. Metaverse promises something akin to this for the future. It is touted to be a technology that will replace the internet in the future and will become the future of humanity.
The word Metaverse is made up of two words, Meta + Verse. The word Meta is derived from Greek, it is a prefix that basically means ‘Beyond’, and the Verse comes from the word ‘Universe.‘ We live in this Universe and it will be the Metaverse that will be beyond this universe. This word is basically used to refer to an artificial world. You might recall another word related to this, Multiverse. The one talked about in the latest Spiderman film. Multiverse is the concept where there are multiple existing universes, It is something that is even scientifically discussed. Some people believe that there isn’t only one universe, rather there are multiple universes, thus the Multiverse.
Metaverse means an artificially created universe. The Internet can also be said to be a distinct universe but when you go on the Internet, it is mostly limited to 2 Dimensions only. Whether you’re using your phone or your computer, these are 2-dimensional screens. But when Metaverse is talked about, Metaverse would be a world where you can be completely in it. In 3 Dimensions. Like when you watch a film, you wouldn’t be watching the film merely as a viewer, you would experience being in the film. For example, you’re watching the Dandi March happening, you wouldn’t just see the photo of it, or the video of the Dandi March, rather it would be as if you’re sitting in a boat nearby and actually watching the Dandi March as it is happening.
The word Metaverse was first used in the year 1992 in the science fiction book Snow Crash written by Neal Stephenson. In this novel, he talked about a dystopian world, a world where real-life has been destroyed the outdoors wasn’t livable for humans anymore, so everyone lives confined to their buildings and rooms, and spends their life in virtual reality. That virtual reality, the artificial world, was referred to as Metaverse by him.
After this, a game was released in 2003 called Second Life. You could play this game on the computer and create a second life in this game on the computer. Meeting people virtually, buying items, buying properties in the game, exchanging goods and services, and creating realistic-looking avatars. The word Avatar was used here for the characters in the virtual reality that you could create. They would be your Avatars. Recently though, many companies tried to create their virtual worlds and Metaverses, but this word was made popular again by Facebook. When Facebook decided to change the name of their company to Meta. Saying that they want to adopt the Metaverse. That they want to expand from being a social media company to a Metaverse company.
Technology Used for Metaverse
For developing this Metaverse various technologies are used. The first is Virtual Reality. This technology already exists today, and to use this, you have to wear these heavy headsets.
The second technology is Augmented Reality (AR). It would mean that some artificial elements are mixed with our real world. It would not be complete Virtual Reality. An excellent example of it is the Pokémon Go smartphone game. In this game, the smartphone is used to look at the real world around you, but when you look at it through the smartphone, you can see the artificial Pokémons in there. It seems like they are mixed in the real world around you. Another good example of it is Google Glass which was released around 2013-14. Glasses with which you could add virtual elements in the real world.
Apart from this, having 5G technology in the Metaverse is also talked about. If we have to create a huge virtual world, then it needs to constantly upload and download a huge amount of data, for this we need extremely high internet speeds that 5G will provide.
Additionally, Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are also mentioned, when talking about the Metaverse. When money is spent to buy anything in the Metaverse, they can’t be real money because everything is digital so there would be a need for digital currency. This is where Cryptocurrencies come into play and because there’s a large number of transactions constantly, they’d need to be kept secure. There would be a threat of hackers or the threat of data breaches too, to keep these secure, Blockchains might be used, which will keep the data secure.
Apart from it, if someone wants to buy land in the Metaverse, or some other property, or any asset in the Metaverse, how should that be accomplished? It is said that it will be accomplished through NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). You can think of NFTs as tokens, that exist on the blockchain, and can prove the ownership of any digital asset. NFT will be the proof that you own a particular digital land in the Metaverse. NFTs can be used to verify the tickets to a concert also. It is something that some singers have already done it. The Virtual reality concerts have a digital stage and the singer performs there and you see them as animated figures. Last year in September, singer Arianna did this by virtually performing in Fortnite.
Negative aspects of Metaverse
Although all these technologies exist individually on a basic level combining them and creating a true Metaverse will take a lot of time. Many people believe that the Metaverse is inevitable. The next thing after the internet would be Metaverse. But a critical question arises here. Will this Metaverse be successful? Is there a demand for it? Does anyone want it? And it is a very interesting question. Because if you look at the technologies like Google Glass, there were a lot of efforts put into making it popular around 2014, But eventually, the Google Glass was a flop. There are many reasons for the lack of response. One of the reasons was that they had a battery life of 3 hours only. There was the issue of privacy because they had a camera.
There was an even more important reason behind the failure of Google Glass. They didn’t have any features that the people truly needed. Anything that can be done on Google Glass also can be easily done on a smartphone in a better manner. There was basically no use for Google Glass.
Something similar can be said about the Metaverse too. It is very cool to try it for the first time, seeing how someone can sit in a 3D virtual environment and communicate with others, having 3D meetings but realistically, why would people go through so much trouble? Everyone needs to put on the glasses, and call everyone else on the 3D setup, it’s easier to simply take out the phone and get on a normal video call which will much easier to do so. The technology that is the most popular among people is the easiest to use and provides a clear benefit to the user. If that’s not the case, then it would be very difficult for technology to become mainstream.
The second point of criticism is perhaps more significant. Do we really want to distance ourselves from real life so much that we forget how to live real lives? That we spend all our lives in this fake artificial world. If this virtual world becomes so addictive and immersive, somewhere or the other, people will stop worrying about the real world. It is truly dystopian and will be very depressing.
Some Useful Technology from Metaverse
Some technologies from Metaverse would be popular in the future. But they will be popular in their sectors. For example, the technology of Augmented Reality (AR) is a very productive use case in engineering, architecture, or even in the field of medicine. Using 3D models would make the work more efficient and overall better. It has great potential in many business areas and industries, these types of technologies.