Everyone seems to have spent the past year or so falling for themselves telling us what the metaverse is. But this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook showed he still “thinks differently” by telling us what isn’t – the “future”.
as such Reported by CNBC“I’m not really sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is,” Cook told Dutch newspaper Bright.
It is a fair comment. Since Facebook Rebranding itself as a meta, the only thing becoming clear is that there isn’t a great deal of consensus on the matter.
Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg talks about it as a more comprehensive, VR-enabled version of Facebook. The success of Fortnite and Roblox points to a future heavily influenced by the mechanics and aesthetics of video games. Proponents of Web 3 platforms – such as Decentraland and The Sandbox – insist that decentralization is at the core of the metaverse experience. And the giants of the world of office and productivity software – Microsoft and Adobe, for example – talk about “Project Metaverse. “
On the other hand, Cook has mostly avoided the “m” word entirely, until now, and is more careful about talking about augmented reality (AR) related technology. Apple has not announced any plans to release VR products, but it is strongly believed to be developing an AR product known as Apple Glasses.
My view of what the metaverse will be – or in fact – be quite simple. It is an umbrella term describing what the Internet will evolve into next.
We already have the static web pages of the World Wide Web, the user-generated social media network, and the ubiquitous online world of the Internet. Each new “generation” of the Internet has brought about profound and widespread changes in the way we interact with and use technology to help us go about our daily lives, fundamentally transforming the way we communicate, socialize, work, play and shop. It all happened within a quarter of a century, and one thing is for sure – it won’t end there.
There will be other developments along the way – perhaps not too far in the future – that will make the digital sphere we live in today look as old as Geocities’ web page from 1998.
And even if the term “metaverse” itself fades away before we get to that point (which, personally, I don’t think would be a bad thing at all), whatever happens will actually be the metaverse.
It may very well be that it doesn’t look much like what we currently think of as the metaverse today – the animated little worlds offered by consoles, the worrisome and weird avatars of Horizons, or the racy, chaotic realm of the Decentralized Web 3. Cook may be right that these They are all too exotic or too suitable for mainstream adoption. After all, it was the grandmothers, not the games, that drove Facebook to such success.
But that doesn’t mean that the core components of those platforms – the ones that define them as a generation beyond today’s most popular platforms – won’t be the building blocks for the “next level” Internet.
Basic Elements of Metaverse
Let’s take a look at those building blocks, then. First, it is generally assumed that the Internet will become more inclusive and experimental.
The closely related technologies collectively categorized as Extended Reality (XR) or Mixed Reality (MR) are the tools most likely to allow us to achieve this greatly enhanced level of immersion. In other words, VR and AR.
It seems unlikely that the continuing trend in which we spend more and more of our time online and on screens will reverse anytime soon. If this is the case, we can very likely look forward to environments that fully interact with our senses and make our time in virtual worlds more exciting and exciting.
Does this mean we are spending more and more time in virtual reality? Maybe – but I agree with Cook when he said that augmented reality, in the short term, at least, has the potential to be even more transformative. The most interesting and exciting aspect of the metaverse, to me, is not the ability to trap us in imaginary virtual worlds but to blend the boundaries between the real and the virtual. Allowing us to take the best of every field – like the people we know and love from the real world and the speed and convenience of the digital world – and combine them together into one mixed experience.
Another essential component of the metaverse is immutability. This means that while we will be able to do anything we want – work, play, socialize, shop – it will all be done on a unified platform, with a common set of rules, presenting ourselves in a consistent way – perhaps via an avatar.
Third, there is the element of decentralization. Blockchains and other aspects of distributed computing, in theory, give us the opportunity to create virtual worlds outside the control of monolithic companies. Concept decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) would potentially allow us to create true democracies online — social networks and similar platforms under the control of their users rather than anyone who owns the servers that run the service and store the data. Distributed storage – as used by the blockchain – means that there is no single place where data is centrally stored that a single person, company or government can control. If it achieves widespread adoption, then Web 3 could lead to an Internet radically different from what we have today, which we own and operate as they are by major global corporations.
In short, buying into the metaverse may not require us to believe or even really understand any of these fundamentals. If brave new internet engineers can bring them together in a way that makes it easier, more interesting and fun for us to do more things online, that might be enough. After all, it was not necessary for the general public to have a deep understanding of how cloud-hosted media streaming works with Netflix and Spotify to completely transform the film and music industries.
True, we might not call it a “metaverse” – just as we don’t hear much these days about the “World Wide Web” except in a historical context. But I believe that future digital environments will be built on immersion, persistence, and, to some extent, decentralization – no matter what name we choose for them!
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