What is the metaverse? This is a question that has been asked for many years, and there is still no clear answer. Some people say it's an online world where you can create your own avatar and interact with others. Others say it's a digital universe that will one day replace the internet. No one really knows for sure what the metaverse will look like, but we can make some educated guesses. In this blog post, we will explore the origins of the term "metaverse" and take a look at what it could potentially look like in the future. We'll also discuss some of the potential downsides to entering into such a digital world.
The term "metaverse" was first coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash. In the book, the metaverse is a virtual world that exists on top of the internet. It's a place where people can meet and interact with each other in a three-dimensional space. Stephenson's vision of the metaverse has influenced many people's ideas about what it could be.
Today, there are many different versions of the metaverse. Some are more like traditional video games, while others are more like social networking platforms. However, all versions of the metaverse have one thing in common: they allow users to create avatars, or digital representations of themselves. These avatars can then be used to interact with other users in the metaverse.
The most well-known version of the metaverse today is Second Life. In Second Life, users can create their own avatars and explore a virtual world that has been created by other users. There are also many different "islands" that users can visit, each with its own theme or purpose. For example, there are islands for businesses, educational institutions, and even for recreation and entertainment.
In late 2021 Facebook changed its name to Meta to emphasize its commitment to leading the development of the metaverse (and possibly to distract from the role it played in some of society's biggest issues). After spending $2 billion to buy Oculus in 2014, Meta has released several VR headsets and lost $20 billion since 2020 on a bet that the metaverse will eventually take off. Mark Zuckerberg has said that he wants Meta to be the "platform for all other platforms" and that it will eventually have billions of users. Hardware, however, is not a metaverse. It just allows people to access it. Meta has spent a lot of that money developing Horizon Worlds, an online video game that allows users to create worlds and games and visit others' creations.
There are many potential benefits to entering the metaverse. For example, it could provide a way for people to connect with each other from all over the world. The next pandemic might be a lot less lonely for many. Additionally, it could allow people to create their own businesses and earn an income from them. In fact, the online VR enabled game Rec Room allows people to earn money by selling "inventions". The company paid out $1 million in 2021 to creators.
While the metaverse may sound like a great place to hang out, there are also some potential downsides to consider. One worry is that the line between what is real and what is not could start to blur. If people spend too much time in the metaverse, they may have trouble distinguishing between reality and fantasy. Another concern is that the metaverse could become a breeding ground for illegal activity, such as cybercrime or even terrorism. Finally, there is always the possibility that the metaverse could be used to control or manipulate people's thoughts and emotions, or even more likely to sell people's thoughts and emotions. Think I am being hyperbolic? Meta is already working on mind-reading devices and Elon Musk's Neuralink is working on lining up human trials for its brain implanted chip which will allow direct interaction with computers with thoughts alone.
The future of the metaverse may be uncertain, but one thing is for sure: it's going to be interesting. Whether you love it or hate it, the metaverse is likely to have a big impact on our lives in the years to come. What do you think about the metaverse? Let us know in the comments!