The Metaverse, the biggest buzzword of 2021, and likely the buzzword for years to come! It’s the new tech that is about to shape and change our relationship with the internet in a whole new way! For some, it’s a gateway to escape their mundane lives, for other a concern for a dark dystopian-like future.
According to the good ol Wiki, the metaverse is a hypothesized iteration of the internet, supporting persistent online 3-D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual and augmented reality headsets. Metaverse, in some limited form, are already present on platforms like VRChat or video games like Second Life. However, the new concept of the metaverse is trying to really bring that “second life” idea to life. Think Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg’s film where people enter into a metaverse called OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spends their days. That’s the metaverse that companies like Facebook are trying to recreate!
For a gamer like me, this is a dream come true! Who doesn’t want to enter into a world where you can be whatever you want and go wherever you want at any given time. Really be in the moment as you venture into a fantasy-like world and fight ungodly monsters! Not only that, but for the disabled, it’s a way to go to the places they could only dream of. Not only that, but the metaverse opens up more ways of making money thanks to blockchain technology like cryptocurrency, so if you’re house-bound, you could in theory make money online without ever leaving your house. New jobs opportunity in a world where robots are already taking our real jobs!
It almost sounds sci-fi in nature. Yet, there’s also the great concern that we live in an age where people already are choosing to spend their lives online. And yes everyone, if you were to check the number of hours you’ve spent on your phone, you’d be surprised that you have likely spent more time there on social media than living in the moment.
So what will happen if we added the metaverse into the mixture? I can tell you that it’s not good! I am all but certain that people will voluntarily forfeit their real lives for the virtual ones. In a world where the state of depression seems to only go up, that is possible. And in an age where everyone is encouraged to do whatever makes them happy if someone is miserable in the real world but finds joy online, will it be morally wrong to remove them from the metaverse? In the metaverse, anything is possible, while in the real world it’s not. If you’ve lost a loved one, for example, you can digitally recreate them and talk to them if they manage to record their personality before passing. Sounds wild right? It already kinda happened. The moral dilemma that the metaverse poses is something that we have to tread carefully and study the repercussions.
Then there are the data concerns. We are about to let technology read our brainwaves in ways that are beyond invasive. As I mentioned, if we reach a point where we could perfectly recreate a person’s brainwave, something that scientists are already theorizing about uploading one’s mind online, essentially that a person could live on forever. However, it also means that if someone with influence passes away, you could recreate them to continue using them for profit or socio-political and ideological battles, making them say and do things that with your goal or ideology. Remember that Tupac holographic concert? Yeah, that is only the first step!
How do you know the person you’re talking to is even real? You know, you could easily be in a meta-space with someone, who is either a hacker or has long since passed away. It’s a scary thing to think about it, yet the positive possibilities are intriguing.
Yeah, the metaspace is going to be an interesting innovation to humanity and how it will unfold will be determined by the restriction we put in place.