What is Metaverse: Facebook recently announced it’s changing to Meta and as a step forward, Meta has announced the Metaverse. But it seems many people have swept the Metaverse under the rug (or not which is why you’re here).
If Meta claims about the Metaverse is real, then it has the potential to shape our future in more ways than one. And that is why we’ve decided to write a complete article to explain what it means, its potential positives and negatives.
So, what is Metaverse? What are its potential positives and potential negatives to humans?
What is the Metaverse?
In simple terms, Metaverse is a living shared everlasting Virtual Universe. This is a concept that allows you to virtually do anything you which to do. It’s like placing yourself into a virtual reality and acting as if you’re actually there.
In this new virtual world, you can create your own reality and live in it. You can virtually act as if you’re living in New York while you’re actually somewhere in Cape Town, South Africa. You can build your character to be a pilot and flying planes around in the world, while in real life you’re a banker sitting at the back of a counter.
Point is, the Metaverse will allow you to build this version of world you hope or wish to live in and actually live in it virtually. You can be anything you wish to be virtually inside the newly created fantasy world of yours.
And how will Meta achieve this? Through Augmented Reality and Virtual reality. And Meta will be subsidizing the cost to allow many people on the planet to be part of the Metaverse.
Now judging from the explanation above, the Metaverse is a pretty cool tech. But just like every other innovative tech, there are positives and negatives to this. Let’s start with the positives.
Potential Positives of the Metaverse
There are many potential positives of the Metaverse and we’ll start with the very first one that comes to mind “Experience”
With the Metaverse, you can be whatever you want and be wherever you want. You can basically live out your fantasies and live your dreams. You get a whole new level of experience in this space.
For example, in the morning you can decide to play the role of the best chef in the world, while in the afternoon you can decide to go surfing in the tropics of the Bahamas. All these things you can do safely from home while it feels so real. And this brings us to the second positive “Expression”.
For our social media account, we have profile pictures or DP’s. This is basically the first thing people see when they visit our profile. But, in the Metaverse, you will be getting an Avatar instead of just a DP.
An Avater is a fully 3D depiction of yourself. But, you can create and modify it to be the way you want to be. You can increase your height, add more weight and even put on any type of clothe you want. You can be any gender, any race you want or even any creature you want.
According to report, the avatars won’t look just like cartoons but will look more like live images of yourself. And this will make it feel like real life. Simply put, you will not feel stuck in the body you were born into. This is a whole new level of expressing yourself to people.
For example, people born with severe disabilities can easily erase such disabilities. These people can easily create the version of themselves they’ve dreamed of. This brings us to another interesting positive of the Metaverse “Teleportation”.
Inside the Metaverse, you can create your own home space, design workspace etc and invite people over. If you think video calls are cool then the idea of Teleportation in the Metaverse is even more fascinating.
Imaging building your one virtual home or building your own virtual office space and inviting others to join. They’ll be able to join with their near to live avatar and you can all sit and discuss like real people in the virtual world.
And this means teleportation in the metaverse is just one link click away. You can just create the space and send the link to others to join. It’s that simple and fast.
4. Knowledge and Study
Before the era of Google, we gather knowledge and study new things by going to the library to borrow books. Well, Google came and brought everything with just a click of a button via the Google search. The Metaverse might just take over from Google.
In the Metaverse, you can learn about things by touching and looking at them. And this information will be presented to you in a more visual and interactive way possible. You can also decide to travel to any place and any time to learn about things.
Leaning things faster also means you get to do things faster. This brings us to another positive of the Metaverse “Fast and Improved Productivity”.
5. Fast and Improved Productivity
Productivity in the Metaverse won’t just be fast but also improved. The tech will allow you to work from any environment that best suits you. If you love silence, you can decide to be in a quiet place. Or maybe you love music while working? It’s up to you to create that environment.
Point is, you get to create which environment you work effectively. Also, the metaverse claims to offer faster input system.
Instead of writing with pen or typing on keyboards, you can input text via speech, gesture or by just thinking about it. Well, the last one is still work in progress and there is still a long way to go before we reach there.
Meta is currently working on an electromyography or EMG for input devices. This tech can detect and intercept the impulses in your nerves from what is telling you. With this tech, your fingers can virtually write what your brains is telling your fingers to write (you might want to read this point again).
6. Safer Environment
The emission of Carbo Dioxide from companies and vehicles are major problems to our environment. But with the Metaverse, this will change in the right direction. For one thing, you won’t necessarily be using physical cars often which is one less carbon dioxide released.
And for another, you won’t even need cars in the Metaverse because of its virtual teleportation feature. So, will this mean less production companies and less carbon dioxide emission on our environment? Possibly.
The more human who join the metaverse, the more likely they’re to purchase digital products to enhance their experience. So, this might mean fewer cars, planes, trucks etc.
7. New Economy
Meta is designing a new market place in the metaverse called the Horizon market place. This is a platform where anyone with coding skills can be a seller. You can create virtual clothes or even new virtual experience and charge people to try it.
Material limitations won’t be a problem. All you need is your coding skills and your imagination. So, there will be a whole new set of persons who’d make money from the metaverse. You can virtually carry your business to metaverse and meet lots of customers.
Truth be told, the whole Metaverse idea is pretty cool. It gives you the ability to be together with anyone, you can create and experience anything, and you can even make money off it by selling digital products. It’s a complete universe you find yourself in. But, it has its own potential negatives and we’ll start from the first obvious one “Addiction”.
Potential Negatives of the Metaverse
You know how we already complain that humans spend too much time on the internet playing games, watching movies, doing TikTok videos and even streaming videos? Well, the idea of Metaverse will amplify that by a whole lot.
Think about it, who’d like to quickly leave a space he/she designed that seems perfect. I mean, the person is living his/her dreams, has the perfect body, goes to the best places, and does whatever he/she pleases.
It’s very easy to lose touch of reality and began to prefer staying in the virtual world and even prefer it to your personal life. Even adults can be victims of this too and at the end we might need lots and lots of regulations to keep things in check.
Speaking about Addiction as a problem, this leads to a second potential negative of the metaverse “Inferiority Complex and Depression”.
2. Inferiority Complex and Depression
We already see how social media pictures make people dislike parts of their body. Over the couple of years, the numbers of plastic surgeries to correct parts of the body has grown among teens globally. But, what happens when you live in a fantasy world where you design the perfect body and come back to reality to see that you’re still you?
It’s simple, reality check comes in the moment you come out of the metaverse and realize you’re not actually what you designed yourself to be in the virtual world. In real life, you’re still not as tall or as chubby as you wish. Gradually, depression will set in, making you spend more time in the metaverse than facing reality.
Look, I’m not saying this must happen but the potential is there. Imagine someone with severe heath condition in real life. In the metaverse he has eliminated such condition and everything seem perfect but what happens when he comes out of the virtual universe? Reality check.
3. Data and Security
Another potential negative of this world is access and sharing of data. I mean, joining the metaverse will require you sharing huge amount of data with Meta. Which include but not restricted to your behaviors, interest, patterns etc. on a much larger scale.
And judging from history, Meta is not very good at managing data. And giving all these information away is not such a good idea to say the least. Or, what if there is a data breach and someone else has access to those personal information? It’s quite scary if you ask me.
4. Denying Reality
Truth is, you can actually create your own reality in metaverse but who defines what’s real and what’s not? I mean, one user can decide to remove some real things from their metaverse just because they don’t like it not because those things are not real.
Let’s say, you don’t like people from certain tribe, this means in your metaverse you can decide to remove them. Or you don’t like homeless people or hospitals, you can decide to remove these things. Point is, users can easily deny reality and build a different world in the metaverse and that is a problem.
Why is this a problem? Well the moment they come out of that virtual world, they’ll have to deal with these things. They can’t stay in the Virtual world forever (or maybe they plan to?).
Who is going to moderate this virtual reality against hate speech or racism? How will the moderation be carried out? I mean, moderating social media platforms is already stressful and moderating a whole universe built by different people is a whole new level of stressful.
Will Meta be able to watch every single user and catch every single gesture, characters, speech and text that promotes hate, racism, false news and online bullying? Meta will need a huge work force to be able to implement this and even at that, it’ll still be very difficult.
And if moderation is not properly done, the whole virtual world can easily turn into chaos. I mean, not everyone will be there to promote positive vibes only.
At the end, we’re still humans and we’ll have to eat, drink, and sleep in real life. So, even if we create this whole perfect world on metaverse, we’ll still have to come back and live our lives.
What Meta is proposing is pretty cool and it seems like the future of social media where you get to interact more realistically. You can be whatever you want, do whatever you want and go wherever you want.
But, it also amplifies the negative sides of using social media such as; addiction, harassment, depression and even security issues. And the speed of 5G connectivity is the main reason why this whole virtual universe seems even possible.
I mean, can you imagine using 2G or 3G to access such universe. The buffering alone would make it extreme difficult to use. Improvement in one area of tech also means advancement in other areas.
So, while we’re all excited about the new idea of a Metaverse, it’s also okay for us to look critically at the negatives. This way, we’ll be able to better prepare ourselves for what’s coming “The future of social media”.
What do you think about the whole Metaverse thing? We’d like to hear from you. Please drop your opinion in the comment section below and let’s discuss.