The Metaverse is Coming to Your Universe
written by: James Kallman, Moores Rowland CEO
The following text is originally in the March 2022 issue of Forbes Indonesia.
The Metaverse is the current buzz in the world of information technology and, much like social media, it may be a boon to humanity or a burden depending on how it is used and received. From the Greek word meta, meaning beyond, the Metaverse combines virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and physical reality that will significantly change the way companies and their employees do business. As the Metaverse expands, it is blending digital and physical spaces and shifting people and businesses to being fully immersed in it on a worldwide scale.
Some social scientists and pundits see the Metaverse as an inevitable extension of our evolution as a species. The theory being that after we and our technologies evolve far enough, we will explore and take refuge in virtual worlds. Perhaps our civilization is following an evolutionary pattern and we are just at the start of creating the human Metaverse.
Advancements in AR and VR are now creating more ways for people to connect and for companies to grow their business, to the point where the Metaverse is now a place where people meet to wheel and deal or promote products and services in a unique environment so much better than what we use now online. Those companies that are not growing with the technology, will be left behind and miss out on crucial prospects.
Like any monumental social and industrial change, there are pros and cons. At the very least, the pros at this point include being able to experience, with an avatar, an endless virtual, mysterious world, limited only by your imagination. Want to visit Indonesia? Check it out first on the Metaverse. The Metaverse will bring people together and improve productivity when working and learning from home in ways that we are just beginning to utilize.
The cons include the separation the Metaverse causes between people and reality, and between people and people, distracting us from the real world, which definitely needs our attention. And that is food for thought.
When so much is required from us to improve the physical world, how much time should we spend literally playing games on the Metaverse? How inclusive will the Metaverse be when the technology to enter it costs a month’s salary for many of those in developing countries? Even just reading about the Metaverse takes some understanding and imagination that the lesser educated might not feel necessary when receiving their daily bread is a struggle.
How many of us can truly say that social media is all it cracked up to be when it first came online and began to change the way people communicate? Yes, it’s fun to share photos with our friends of what we had for dinner, but then others are using the same medium to plot disruption and chaos from their narrow perspective that only sees things their way, and social media gives them the means to coalesce that they never had before. The enemies of freedom use social media to grow stronger every day.
But let’s look at the positive. Using social media, and increasingly the Metaverse, the creator economy is expanding and promoting forms of employment just now being imagined, and with more to come that hasn’t even been considered. On the Metaverse, assets will be created; performers will reach out to millions when before they were unknown; learners will explore and enhance; while some will build, design or organize new experiences and, hopefully, communities will benefit by attracting support and engaging others for the common good.
The Metaverse may support solutions to social inequities by providing opportunities for remote work regardless of a person’s location, even in economically depressed areas, as the technology behind virtual and augmented reality improves and becomes more accessible.
There is much more to the Metaverse than I can explain in one short article, including how blockchains, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and cryptocurrencies are creating foundations for virtual economies. I will save all that for another issue of Forbes. In the meantime, learn all you can about the Metaverse.
Because ready or not, here it comes.