What is the metaverse?
The metaverse- everyone has heard about it, everyone is talking about it, but what exactly is it?
The internet as we know it, along with our relationship with technology as a whole, is evolving. We now have the ability to perform many activities in a virtual space. This creates a virtual economy- one that exists and functions in parallel to our real one! Our kids may work with a version of the metaverse as they grow older, and the metaverse shows great scope for growth that could impact many lives. For parents looking to get a general introduction to the metaverse and basic information surrounding it, this article serves as a starting point.
“The virtual world will open thousands of new opportunities for this new generation.” – Anuj Jasani
The concept of the metaverse is not new. Neal Stephenson spoke about it all the way back in 1992 in Snow Crash. This version of the metaverse, however, is at definite odds with the ideal propagated by tech giants today.
In fact we began to see communities begin to come up online, based on the same concept of a virtual community in the early 2000s, most notably Second Life. With the current trends, it seems that it’s only a matter of time before the metaverse is as much a part of our children’s lives as Instagram, TikTok, Apple, Niantic and Facebook (Meta).
The recent popularity of the metaverse
One of the primary causes that caused the metaverse to reach the forefront of the tech industry’s mind is that a few technologies associated with its image have advanced- specifically virtual and augmented reality.
Another major factor in the rise in popularity of the concept of the metaverse is the ongoing presence of the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in drastically altered lives globally for adults and children alike. People now spend long hours in Zoom meetings, children have done years of schooling online, and the video game industry has seen incredible growth as people aim to participate in exciting environments without the risk of leaving their homes.
So will the metaverse replace the internet as we know it?
Probably not, and definitely not any time soon. What the metaverse can be considered is the next step in the evolution of the internet- it should be considered not as competition for the internet but as an extension. The metaverse has been described as “a sort of successor state to the mobile internet” by Matthew Ball. It will be present in many forms, such as online communities, gaming, and business meetings- all forms where people interact virtually via avatars of themselves!
The growth of the internet has caused the creation of many services that led the way to the creation of the metaverse. In the metaverse, users can travel through and explore virtual worlds that show aspects of the physical world through the use of different technologies. You could compare browsing the internet as done today to actually living in the metaverse.
Prepare for the future of the metaverse
To those parents apprehensive about a potential shift to a virtual world that sounds like it’s straight out of a sci-fi movie- remember, there is time for us to understand what the future holds. The metaverse will not be a reality for at least another decade, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done by the tech companies propagating it as a vital part of the future.
We should remember that the metaverse could become a major part of working life in the future. Once work life expands beyond the current mostly-hybrid style, the focus may shift to enhancing virtual experiences and have people work with each other directly in the metaverse.,
The work on educating ourselves and preparing our children for the future of the metaverse is important- with the speed at which technologies are developing, it’s just a matter of time before we embrace the metaverse as a part of our reality.