When futurism began in Italy in the 20th century it became a social and an artistic movement. With its amalgamation with science fiction, it gave birth to a hypothetical iteration which was brought to life on the internet as a virtual world. The access to this world came through virtual reality and augmented reality. Consider this as video game in 3D for social connections. This is more of teleporting your thoughts in a virtual world where you can see things coming to an intangible life.
A sci-fi novel, Snow Crash became the origin of this technological utopia. In metaverse, meta stands for ‘transcending’. The term literally indicates transcending the universe. The increase in the interest is also influenced by Web3, which basically means an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web which incorporates concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technologies, and token-based economics. Recently, both Metaverse and Web3 both the coherently attached with the PR enhancement of various brands.
Many online video games have already included elements of metaverse technology. Second life, a virtual world platform can be tabbed as the first metaverse game, since it incorporated an avatar in 2003. Popular video games that have been referred to as being a part of the metaverse include Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite, World of Warcraft, and Habbo Hotel. Apart from utilizing computers and smart phone, Metaverse also utilizes VR, AR and mixed reality. The utter dependence on VR is a limitation of metaverse for its wide-scale adoption. Interoperability in development is a key worry since it raises issues with privacy and accountability.
A virtual VR reality named Facebook Horizon was introduced by the social network corporation Facebook in 2019. Facebook changed its name to “Meta Platforms” in 2021, and its chairman Mark Zuckerberg committed the organization to creating a metaverse. Many of the virtual reality technologies that Meta Platforms have promoted have not yet been fully developed.
Frances Haugen, a whistle-blower , criticized the decision and pointed out that Meta Platforms’ continuous emphasis on growth-oriented projects generally comes at the expense of maintaining user safety on their platforms. Due to sexual harassment that took place on the platform in relation to Horizon Worlds, Meta Platforms has also come under fire for user safety.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated in May 2021 that the corporation was constructing a “corporate metaverse.” Epic Games has also claimed that it had raised $1 billion for its metaverse aspirations. Roblox, a game site, and computer behemoth Nvidia are also active in this area. Avatars may now appear in a user’s actual environment thanks to a free augmented reality program published by Spatial last year. While this is happening, Snapchat has been making progress in this area for years by releasing personalized avatars and content-overlaid effects.
Now that we know what metaverse is, the technology will also come with its cons. Privacy being the major part. In modern times, when humans are already slaves to social media and video games, it will be difficult to guard all the doors. In spite of the age limit of 13 years or older, investigations by BBC News and The Washington Post in February 2022 revealed that children were participating in adult behaviors in programs like VRChat and Horizon Worlds.
The End .. of a beginning.
Metaverse is currently imprisoned in a virtual reality box, and when this Pandora opens, no one can predict what all will be revealed. There are several challenges that must be overcome before technology may be used without virtual reality goggles, and a date is not yet defined. But, it sure is a very impressive technology if used wisely and carefully.
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