- Numerous technologies that will enable the metaverse, such as virtual and augmented reality and blockchain, have matured slowly but are rapidly approaching critical capacities for success.
- The blockchain technology that supports cryptocurrencies like bitcoin enables the purchase and frictionless movement of virtual commodities and identities across various metaverse platforms.
- According to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, the metaverse may be the closest approximation to a practical teleportation technology.
AI, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), 5G, and blockchain (and related digital currencies) have all advanced independently and on their timelines. Each has found some application. However, AI has undoubtedly advanced the most. Each technology is growing as it overcomes obstacles ranging from blockchain’s high energy consumption to virtual reality’s proclivity for sickness. They will almost certainly converge in terms of preparedness over the next several years, aided by the now-ubiquitous cloud computing for elasticity and scale.
In such convergence, the sum of the parts will be significantly more considerable than the sum of the parts. The metaverse — a networked network of always-on 3D virtual worlds — will serve as the spark for this convergence. The metaverse concept has far-reaching implications. On one level, it might be a 3D social media channel with AI-assisted messaging that is precisely targeted to each user. That is the vision of Meta (formerly Facebook). Additionally, it can be a one-stop-shop for information, entertainment, and work.
At least initially, there will be various metaverses, with some devoted to specific interests such as gaming or sports. The fundamental difference between present technology and the metaverse is the immersive potential offered by the metaverse, which is why Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, and others are investing substantially in it. It may also evolve into the Internet’s successor.
Rather than watching the news, you may experience what it’s like to be in the report. Rather than reading about an event in history – such as Washington crossing Delaware – you may practically observe it from the shore or a boat. Rather than watching a basketball game on television, you may immerse yourself in 360-degree surround sound. Individuals could virtually attend a conference, manage the keynote addresses, and network with others. Our digital presence will progressively supplement our physical one in the metaverse. According to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, the metaverse may be the closest approach to a functional teleportation technology.
According to Monica White, the metaverse is intended to replicate or enhance real-world functions in a virtual setting. Daily activities such as attending school or working can all be performed in the metaverse. For instance, the metaverse may provide a completely new 3D platform for retail. Consider a virtual reality shopping experience in which you virtually wander the aisles of a megastore filled by several platform partner companies, where promotional messages are targeted just for you.
The only things displayed are those in stock and ready to be displayed ship. In this store, on-sale items are chosen based on your preferences and anticipated needs, and value-based pricing is dynamically updated in real-time based on the product’s age (if it is perishable), supply and demand, or a combination of the two.
To begin, there was Second Life
While the metaverse appears to be novel and futuristic, we have visited there previously. Along with early visionaries Neal Stephenson and William Gibson, an open metaverse was constructed in 2003. Second Life and millions of users flocked to the site to immerse themselves in an alternate digital planet populated by avatars. According to NBC, Second Life is an online virtual environment in which avatars engage in the same activities that real people do in real Life: shopping. Sell items. Gamble. Take in music. Purchase real estate. Flirt. Take part in games. View films. Harvard University even offered virtual reality classes in Second Life. Second Life was so successful that it was featured on the cover of BusinessWeek in 2006.
Second Life’s popularity, on the other hand, quickly dwindled. According to a 2007 Computerworld article, the experience was harmed by a bad user interface, robust technical needs, a steep learning curve, inability to scale, and multiple distractions. And then came Facebook, which provided a more compelling experience.
In 2007, there was no virtual reality, augmented reality, 5G, blockchain, or digital currency. Cloud computing was in its infancy, and the mobile Internet was just getting started introducing the first iPhone. Additionally, AI had a limited impact at the time, as the profound learning revolution was still a few years away. Perhaps this is why Meta has become obsessed with the metaverse concept, as it attempts to merge the most appealing (and consumer-tested) features of Facebook and Second Life on an entirely new platform driven by cutting-edge technology.
Upcoming technologies are close to completion
Several technologies that will enable the metaverse, such as virtual and augmented reality and blockchain, have been slow to mature but are rapidly approaching essential capabilities for success. Each has missed the game-changing application that will accelerate development and mainstream adoption. The metaverse maybe that application.
To attain the processing power and communication speed required for smooth and realistic experiences in virtual reality, most headsets must remain attached to a PC or game console. So far, only Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 has circumvented this cable constraint. However, according to one of Meta’s vice presidents, even that headset is still relatively large. In the following years, richer visual resolution and untethered experiences should become available with more excellent CPUs and quicker wireless connectivity on the horizon.
AR has primarily been adopted on a technological basis. AR prospects indeed decreased in part due to the high-profile sales failure of Google Glass in 2012. And, while Pokemon Go gave the technology a significant boost in 2016, no analogous event has occurred subsequently. However, a powerful new company appears to be preparing to enter the market: Apple will likely produce its first augmented reality/virtual reality headset in late 2022, possibly due to the metaverse concept and competitor moves. Apple has a history of entering markets well after the first movers have established viability and then dominating. It is reasonable to conclude that this is the company’s metaverse strategy.
Blockchain technology underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and would enable the purchase and frictionless transfer of virtual commodities and identities across many metaverse platforms. New blockchain applications, such as NFTs, are accelerating acceptance, implying the emergence of a new economy. The race is now on to expand this technology to all types of assets, noting that blockchain-based payments outperform our old financial infrastructure. Similarly, according to estimates, venture capital funds would spend over $27 billion in cryptocurrency and blockchain companies in 2021, more than they did in the previous decade combined.
Prospects for the metaverse
While some businesses have already jumped on the metaverse bandwagon, the metaverse is expected to evolve in fits and turns, with general adoption years away. This is because the required technologies have a long way to go in functionality, the convenience of use, and cost optimization. According to one semiconductor company, a genuinely immersive metaverse will require a 1,000-fold boost in computation efficiency over today’s most advanced CPUs. While that represents a significant increase, the corporation stated separately during a recent “Architecture Day” that it aims to reach that target by 2025.
Whether it takes three years or ten, the metaverse is gaining enormous pace, with virtually endless funding. Boeing has committed to designing its next-generation aircraft within the metaverse, using digital twins and Microsoft HoloLens headgear, even at this early stage of development. Kirby Winfield, co-founder and general partner of venture capital company Ascend, views the metaverse as the latest stage of [an] continuing shift toward a more digital lifestyle. When complete, the transition will realize many people’s deep sci-fi fantasies.