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What Exactly is the Metaverse?​

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What Exactly is the Metaverse?

Metaverse is a shared virtual space that employs emerging technologies including extended reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, social media, wearable tech, cryptocurrency, and NFTs.

Many tech enthusiasts are hopeful that metaverse is probable and its benefits significantly outweigh its demerits. Following Facebook’s name change to Meta, Mark Zuckerberg gave a series of statements on the ongoing and planned activities to bring Metaverse to life. As expected, the company got mixed reactions from members of the public. As shown by Mr. Zuckerberg, Facebook Inc. Meta is ambitious in implementing the Metaverse as the company has employed tens of thousands of software experts and invested billions of dollars

Since its inception in 2004, Facebook’s primary objective has been to connect people and Mark hopes Metaverse will reiterate the same. A key aspect of the Metaverse is the ability to allow people to be ‘remotely present’. Let me explain this with an example. Muller lives in Cologne, Germany and he works remotely for Stansoft. He has never had an opportunity to physically interact with other employees. This is where Metaverse comes in: Muller will be able to interact with other employees in a 3D virtual environment whereby most activities that occur in a physical office environment are possible.

While Meta is majorly known for being a social network, the company hopes to create a corporate network through Metaverse which is aimed at enhancing the quality of remote work. Moreover, Metaverse is expected to enhance the gaming experience. In the recent past, virtual and augmented reality have been leading technologies in the quest to create realistic gaming experiences. Meta plans to push this to the pinnacle through advanced 3D visualizations and augmented reality.

Key Aspects of the Metaverse

     Avatars: Each user of the Metaverse will have an avatar that will represent them in the virtual world. An interesting takeaway from Mr. Zuckerberg’s launch of Meta is the ability of the avatar to represent emotions. For instance, the avatar can portray happiness if the user is happy. How cool is that!

     VR Glasses: One will need Virtual Reality (VR) glasses to enter the Metaverse. 

Notably, Metaverse is expected to be a gamechanger for most aspects of our lives as most online services will be present in this environment. Metaverse will include services such as gaming, remote work, online shopping, concerts, and sports.

Expected Benefits

     Increased collaboration: in the Metaverse, workers would be able to quickly and efficiently collaborate on a task. The remote presence in the environment facilitates easier collaboration as remotely located staff can interact as if they were in the same room. Such a level of collaboration can lead to a significant increase in employee productivity for remote employees.

     Enhanced gaming experience: the Metaverse provides a platform for advanced multi-player gaming that reduces the quality of gaming. The use of augmented reality in the Metaverse will make gaming so involved that players will become one with the games.

     Reduced costs: Essentially, most forms of technological advancements lead to reduced costs. The Metaverse is not an exception as it will provide an environment for the easier execution of activities. One of the ways in which it will reduce costs is remote collaboration. As employees work and collaborate remotely, business organizations will save on funds meant for office space and equipment. Another way in which it reduces costs is through easier access to digital entertainment resources.

     Improved problem solving: The Metaverse provides a platform for 3D visualization that will allow users to visualize problems in 3D space and solve them amicably.

     Reduced dependence on hardware: Currently, we are overly dependent on hardware which can be extremely cumbersome. This technology is expected to address this issue since the only hardware that will be mostly required is the VR headset.

     Enhanced access to information: Even though access to information has improved remarkably in the 21st century, there is tremendous room for improvement. Thanks to the Metaverse,  information access deterrents that exist today will be minimized. 

A little concerned

Regardless of the many benefits expected to be reaped from Metaverse, a good percentage of the public seem to disagree with Meta’s agenda. The biggest and the most notable issue raised by opponents and critics of this huge leap in technology is the continued loss of human connection. Ironically, social networks like Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Telegram that were meant to improve social connection may have become the source of the very thing they sought to eradicate.

The argument of whether social media has played a pivotal role in reducing physical interaction remains a polarizing topic that will continue into the vast space of the Metaverse. The remote presence gives people a false sense of physical interaction that may propagate the problems brought about by social media. It is common knowledge that physical interaction is essential for our mental health and alternatives presented by technology are not received well by many individuals and organizations. It is advisable for Meta and other stakeholders of this technology to work on an amicable plan to deal with these issues before they get out of hand.

Another major issue associated with the Metaverse is privacy. In the recent past, Meta has been slapped with multiple lawsuits and faced intense backlash due to privacy concerns. The public feels that the company has been reluctant in addressing its numerous privacy issues. Data sharing in the Metaverse will be at a higher level as compared to the current internet platforms and therefore privacy concerns will continue to be a problem. 

In summary, Metaverse is a huge step in technological advancement that will have a significant impact on our lives. It is important to understand that this is not just Mr. Zuckerberg’s affair as it affects everyone. Therefore, we have to work together to reap its benefits and mitigate any risks that it poses to our lives. While it is still at developmental stages, the huge investment in the project by Meta is meant to accelerate development. Truly, it doesn’t matter whether you like this idea or not because it is coming. So it is advisable to learn about it and avoid surprises that may come with it. 

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