Metaverse

Abhishek k
5 min readJan 9, 2022

Introduction

It is safe to assume that 2021 was an unstable year. Great negative impact due to COVID-19 into the health systems, social lives, and people’s psychology overall. However, such circumstances brought the opportunity of technological advancements, either through new circumstantial implementations or products and services. Such a case is a new trend that grows rapidly from a technological perspective, but also scientifically through proper research and academic publications, the Metaverse.

Although many people started being aware of its existence through Mark Zuckerberg by re-branding Facebook into Meta, the term Metaverse originated from a science fiction novel called “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson in 1992. Taking into account the terminology of the word, it has two syllables: Meta, meaning beyond, and verse, referring to the universe. All together promote a universe beyond anything we have known so far and beyond imagination itself [1].

In this article, we are going to describe and explain the technology and functionality of metaverse, list some of the platforms adopting it, and discuss its impact on society.

The Concept of Metaverse

There are different approaches regarding the concept of Metaverse as a definition. According to [2], some of the terms used are lifelogging, collective space in virtuality, embodied Internet or spatial Internet, a mirror world, and an omniverse. The corresponding research defines it with a most simplified version, as a virtual environment blending physical and digital components, utilizing the combination of Internet, Web technologies, and Extended Reality. Indications of the current applications are the creation of a digital twin of the physical world, with its economic system being based on blockchain technology, and offering the capabilities of content creation through new worlds, identities, and social interactions.

Courtesy:https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/29/technology/meta-facebook-zuckerberg.html

Academic research on the corresponding topic investigated the core technology used in the creation and further development of Metaverse [3].

  • Artificial Intelligence algorithms are considered the basis for the creation of this digital environment. The Metaverse users can experience a digital copy of auditory and visual sensations through computer vision, artificial intelligence voice, and natural language processing while participating in social interactions and economic transactions.
  • Spatio-temporal consistency enables the digital copy and interconnection of the physical world and the metaverse with methods on target positioning, time synchronization, and registration and spatial registration, creating the experience of a parallel space-time continuum with the physical world.
  • The security aspect is considered an important factor in motivating the user’s experience with Metaverse. According to the research, the amount of data collected by the Metaverse surpasses every registered technology so far. Unfortunately, since it’s an early scientific field, its current security mechanisms are similar to other technological approaches through access authentication, network awareness, behavior monitoring, and traffic identification.

Metaverse Platforms

The journaling team of Binance researched the most promising Metaverse platforms created by impactful companies [4]. An overview is followed.

• Google made statements on Metaverse recognizing it as the means of evolving computing through augmented reality. Although Google made the first step by creating a Google Labs team for holographic video conferencing by utilizing Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, its current goals are creating a platform on connecting the user with augmented avatars.

• As it was mentioned in the introduction, Meta is the platform most widely known at the moment related to the Metaverse. The company’s current applications focus on Virtual Reality Messaging, Project Cambria — a new Virtual Reality headset linked to the Oculus Quest digital world and Horizon Marketplace, where transactions between creators, buyers, and sellers can be completed. For the achievement of such transactions, Meta is heavily based on Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, and NFTs.

  • Microsoft will introduce its project to the world in 2022, with Mesh for Teams. It highly encourages and promotes remote working due to COVID-19, with software being supported by standard devices and Virtual Reality headsets. The corresponding project utilizes an augmented avatar as digital identity, enabling the exploration of the digital world.

The Social Impact

After careful research on the effects of a metaverse in society, it is realized there is a mixed opinion on the matter [5][6][7][8].

It is highly realized that gaming will be evolved more socially. Games will be played through social avatars with friends, facing each other rather than the gaming environment of the screen. Also, there are indications of existing VR games to be updated into more Metaverse-friendly features, as the technology evolves. A similar approach is followed for remote working and new business opportunities by following the same features with gaming, play-to-earn activities, and digital product creation. Metaverse technologies are also promoted for pain management, surgical training, physical rehabilitation, and treatment of medical conditions by creating a sense of relaxation for the patients.

However, some feel that the Metaverse will bring a negative impact on the daily life and perception of people. Some opinions are discussing implications on the brain function by restricting required information, even causing addiction. Other statements believe that this technological trend will bring social distance among people, emotional numbness, and decreased sense of humanity.

Conclusion

Although there are several opportunities, Metaverse is still considered a field of uncharted waters. It’s a technological field that requires further research from different scientific perspectives. However, it still is a fascinating concept offering unlimited opportunities and experiences. With proper introduction and preparation of a user, the Metaverse could be used to enhance the life quality of people, while keeping the possible negative impact to a minimum degree.

References

[1] H. Duan, J. Li, S. Fan, Z. Lin, X. Wu, and W. Cai, “Metaverse for Social Good: A University Campus Prototype,” in MM 2021 — Proceedings of the 29th ACM International Conference on Multimedia, 2021, pp. 153–161, doi: 10.1145/3474085.3479238.

[2] L.-H. Lee et al., “All One Needs to Know about Metaverse: A Complete Survey on Technological Singularity, Virtual Ecosystem, and Research Agenda,” Oct. 2021, Accessed: Dec. 23, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://arxiv.org/abs/2110.05352v3.

[3] H. N. Wang et al., “A Survey on Metaverse: the State-of-the-art, Technologies, Applications, and Challenges,” arxiv.org, Accessed: Dec. 23, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://arxiv.org/abs/2111.09673.

[4] “6 Global Companies Building up the Metaverse | Binance Academy.” https://academy.binance.com/en/articles/global-companies-building-up-the-metaverse (accessed Dec. 23, 2021).

[5] Matt O’Brien and Kelvin Chan, “What is the metaverse and how will it work?,” AP NEWS, 2021, Accessed: Dec. 23, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://automatedpodcast.org/will-the-metaverse-benefit-the-future-of-society/.

[6] “The impact of metaverse.” https://www.tbsnews.net/tech/impact-metaverse-327832 (accessed Dec. 23, 2021).

[7] “The Metaverse and Its Implications for Our Digital Future | UVA Today.” https://news.virginia.edu/content/metaverse-and-its-implications-our-digital-future (accessed Dec. 23, 2021).

[8] “The metaverse is coming — society should be wary | TheHill.” https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/580437-the-metaverse-is-coming-society-should-be-wary (accessed Dec. 23, 2021).

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