A 24/7 citizen of the World Wide Web, Shobhit Behal is interested in learning more about how the internet is shaping the way we live, think, and act in this day and age. He is enthusiastic about exploring fraud identification, spam elimination, and internet scams. During his free time, Shobhit loves petting dogs and playing football.
When Facebook announced the change of its company name to Meta, the internet world broke into conversations and debates about what this could mean for the future of the uber-successful organization.
On the other hand, the tech community was glued to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plans of creating a digital environment — a metaverse — where individuals and businesses would be able to connect, just like in real life, albeit in their virtual avatars.
So, essentially, in the metaverse, you could attend a presentation with your colleagues (in their respective digital avatars, just like you), and then meet up with your friends at a virtual concert after work. You could also transact using crypto coins and hang NFTs in your virtual drawing room! In other words, you would be “living” in a pseudo world that exists online.
Bringing The Metaverse To Fruition
As talked about at post-COVID-19 technology conferences in Dubai, the metaverse will be the end of 2D as we know it. We have already seen glimpses of this idea in RPGs such as Fortnite and Dark Souls, as well as on social media platforms that connect people in the digital world. But the metaverse goes way beyond it and seeks to offer close-to-real-life interactions and experiences with a combination of interconnected devices.
Drawing from developments in the fields of artificial intelligence, IoT, and augmented reality, the metaverse will offer a portal to an immersive, 3D environment that is more like a manifestation of the World Wide Web. So, rather than spending a few minutes on several apps and looking up things on the internet, the average user could instead, log on to the metaverse to engage with information, people, and businesses, in a more meaningful and realistic manner.
Here, it is important to highlight that Facebook isn’t the only one working on building a metaverse. Epic Games, Microsoft, among others, have also invested heavily into this field. The potential for growth in this space is overwhelmingly huge for players working in 5G, VR, blockchain, spatial computing, and content, to name a few. As far as users are concerned, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the metaverse will completely revolutionize how we connect, do business, and live our lives.
The Dark Side
While being a game changer, tech analysts, policymakers, and leading researchers believe that the metaverse can also do a lot of damage, if the virtual environment is left unregulated.
Facebook and Twitter have, time and again, been accused of not doing enough to tackle hate speech and misinformation on their platforms. In such a scenario, the metaverse is being marketed as a blessing in disguise, which has the power to put an end to these challenges in the digital world. Experts, however, have their inhibitions about this.
Over the years, immersive gaming environments have been tackling sexual harassment and abusive players. The same scenario could play out in the metaverse if proper controls for user safety are not put in place. Moreover, as it makes hyper connectedness the norm, maintaining personal privacy, controlling the spread of misinformation, and keeping fraudulent actors and scammers at bay may become even more difficult.
In addition to activities and interactions in the metaverse impacting our socio-political lives in the real world, researchers at technology events have pointed out that it could become the next hub of violent extremists and terrorists looking for recruits.
To explain it briefly, the metaverse could exacerbate existing problems and ethical concerns that have snowballed because of the emergence of the World Wide Web. While we may still be years away from stepping into a metaverse, the need of the hour is to look for approaches through which we can make this new digital reality safer for everyone.
Interested in learning more? For a more wide-ranging view of such groundbreaking developments, do register for the Internet 2.0 Conference.