All about Metaverse: Things you need to know
“The metaverse is the next evolution of social connection. Our company’s vision is to help bring the metaverse to life, so we are changing our name to reflect our commitment to this future.”
(Mark Zuckerberg, 2021).
Welcome to the metaverse, where you can sit at home on the sofa while wearing a suit and lecturing in the virtual world, meet teammates in zero gravity, or spend a virtual evening on the beach with friends. At Facebook’s (now Meta) XR conference, Connect 2021, Mark Zuckerberg first revealed his vision of the Metaverse. He describes it as the next evolution of social connection. His company is supposed to bring the metaverse to life – which is why Facebook was immediately renamed “Meta.” But the metaverse is already more than a vision of the tech billionaire. Several companies are working on virtual reality goggles and environments, and much of it is even already online.
What’s behind the virtual world?
While we have had a strong separation between the virtual and real worlds, the Metaverse, as the successor to the Internet, aims to combine the two. The virtual world becomes a part of our real world and vice versa. Instead of having to log in again everywhere, everything merges seamlessly. In the ideal image of the metaverse, we simply jump from one Internet service to another, bring people in from the real world or, conversely, show up at them from the digital world. Incidentally, the term “metaverse” finds its origin in the science fiction novel “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson, published in 1992. Here, the metaverse is described as a virtual world into which the protagonists repeatedly flee from the real world, which is characterized by capitalist exploitation. In the novel, the metaverse connects the real physical world with virtual and augmented reality in the form of a shared online world.
Opportunities and future prospects
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is far from the only Silicon Valley CEO who sees great opportunities in the Metaverse. Several companies are working to ensure that we can not only view the Internet in the future, but also experience it. According to Ball (author of the essay “The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and Fortnite”), the Metaverse has long been the goal of many tech companies and game providers. This is where many key technology trends such as the Internet of things, the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, and automation and robotics come together. With many companies working on this in parallel, there may be several different metaverses. This will require new devices, chips, software, and VR and AR glasses. Although it is possible to enter the virtual world via PC or smartphone, it is more likely that new devices with better computing power and graphics quality will come onto the market for this purpose. Zuckerberg also sees potential for new jobs in this: In order to expand its virtual and augmented reality divisions
Facebook plans to create 10,000 highly skilled jobs across the European Union within the next five years. How big the metaverse will actually become and whether it will replace the Internet entirely at some point remains to be seen, however.
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