The metaverse describes an alternate digital reality where people work, play, and socialize. The word metaverse is a portmanteau of the prefix “meta” (meaning beyond) and “universe”. It was first coined by sci-fi author Neal Stephenson in his book Snow Crash, which tells the story of humans interacting with each other using avatars in a 3D world.
Understanding the metaverse
The metaverse describes a general and somewhat poorly defined future iteration of the internet.
This iteration is predicted to comprise of persistent and shared three-dimensional spaces linked together to form a virtual world.
This will enable users to do anything they want, from hanging out with friends to creating art, shopping, and virtual travel.
It will be different from the current incarnation of the internet where the user must make a conscious choice to access it.
Instead, the metaverse will encompass the convergence of the physical realm with the virtual realm to create a shared virtual space.
This space will be created via interaction between the internet, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
The seven core attributes of the metaverse
The metaverse is still in its infancy, but there seems to be consensus on seven core attributes that will comprise it:
Which is to say, it never ends, pauses, or resets. Instead, it continues indefinitely.
The metaverse is a living experience that exists for everyone and in real-time.
Involvement in a specific event, place, or activity is open to everyone with no restriction on concurrent participation.
Much like the current iteration of the internet, individuals and businesses alike will have the ability to create, own, invest in, or sell goods and services that are valued by others.
The metaverse will be an experience that spans private and public networks in the digital and physical world.
It will also feature open and closed platforms.
Data, content, items, and assets can be traded or utilized across different platforms.
For example, a decorated Fortnite gun could serve as a gift to a friend on Facebook.
The metaverse is populated by content and experiences created by a wide range of contributors.
These contributors range from individuals to informally organized groups to large, commercial organizations.
Why is the metaverse important?
There is no single owner of the internet, but many of the most valuable organizations in the world are tech companies who exert great influence online.
As a natural successor to the internet, the metaverse will level the playing field and become the next great labor platform.
Aspiring laborers will be able to access the metaverse irrespective of their geographic location or socioeconomic background, thereby tapping into a high-value economy of virtual labor.
With greater functionality, opportunity, and reach, the metaverse is likely to become a highly lucrative and decentralized content platform.
New creators will also have a chance to build a large following on a virgin platform.
Furthermore, new companies will need to be created to manage similarly new technology.
This includes payment processing, ID verification, security, and ad delivery technology, among others.
- The metaverse is a shared virtual space created by the convergence of augmented reality, virtual reality, and the internet.
- The metaverse concept is relatively new, but there is agreeance that the future iteration of the internet portrays seven core attributes: persistence, synchronicity, accessibility, economic function, scope, interoperability, and contribution.
- The metaverse has the potential to become the next great labor platform, giving individuals diversity of opportunity through access to a high-value virtual economy.
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