METAVERSE: WHAT’S ALL ABOUT?

by | 23 Mar 2022 | metaverse

Everyone who googled “metaverse” already heard about Snow Crash, the novel from the 90s by Neal Stephenson. What is interesting, anyway is that “Snow crash” refers to a state that first computers showed when the software crashed, very similar to the experience of watching a broken TV.

In the book, Snow Crash the name of a linguistic metavirus: a linguistic virus is a menace to the communication, that also has biological consequences, hence posing a threat to the human kind. A linguistic virus, a danger for our communication. Does it ring any bell?

Maybe it’s not by chance that a virus in our real world accelerated the process that took us from one to one in person meetings to digital ones, normalizing persistent and multipurpose online engagement and communication. It is this combination of technological, social and economic factors that is determining the present interest in the metaverse.

But, in short, what is the metaverse? It’s the internet that you can live in a 3d experience with your avatar. Think about the world wide web: we visit websites and web pages, now we visit rooms and places. We interacted with profiles, now we meet each other’s avatar.

How do you enter the metaverse?

This is an intriguing problem: not just because we still have to decide if we enter the metaverse or one of the metaverses, but because this poses challenges that can potentially create an evolutionary leap in technologies, infrastructures, accessibility, inclusivity and much more: for example, we enter with an avatar. What about the looks of it? What about the ways it can communicate? Or: will the devices be affordable to everyone? How about network connections?

There is a circularity in technology, where not only new ideas accelerate the discovery of new technologies, but also new technologies open the way to new ways of thinking: that’s what is happening with metaverse.

 

And what is the power of this specific idea?

An idea that made one of the most famous and powerful social network companies change its name, that moved billions of investments, that is possibly becoming the next technological, social and economical revolution?

The term is not new at all in its influence on technology: it has inspired the creation of videogames and online virtual worlds, that directly referred to the Metaverse in Snow Crash. Videogames always were the experimentation ground for these technologies, and most recently, another big player spoke about its planned acquisition of a famous videogame design studio by saying it “will provide the building blocks for the metaverse”.

So we can say that projects, visions and technologies are not born with the infamous announcement, but were already there: this is a business horizon to be explored. There are estimates that Metaverse will be a part of every industry in the next few years, with market opportunities for over $ 1 trillion in annual revenue.

What has been happening lately is that “metaverse” has become an aggregating concept around which we have a new focus for virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and data tracking, data processing, design, storytelling, infrastructural development, management of identity, up to a new way of understanding the creation of communities and the structure of economic exchanges. Think about cryptocurrency, NFT and blockchain based exchanges: the metaverse is like a magnetic force around which a whole series of conceptual and technological innovations are starting to integrate with each other.

What has been happening lately is that “metaverse” has become an aggregating concept around which we have a new focus for virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and data tracking, data processing, design, storytelling, infrastructural development, management of identity, up to a new way of understanding the creation of communities and the structure of economic exchanges. Think about cryptocurrency, NFT and blockchain based exchanges: the metaverse is like a magnetic force around which a whole series of conceptual and technological innovations are starting to integrate with each other.

We have used all kinds of tools to make sure our messages arrived: animals, radio waves, paper, voice, video, you are here, reading this text from a place and time zone that can differ a lot from mine, thanks to a so rapid evolutionary chain. And the metaverse is the latest step of this chain: not just synchronous interaction, but a collection of elements that are no longer limited to verbal exchange, that create the experience of an immersive communication.

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