The Metaverse Is Coming, and the World Is Not Ready for It

from NYTs

The metaverse is coming. It was once a science-fiction fantasy, most notably in Neal Stephenson’s novel “Snow Crash,” of an all-encompassing virtual universe that would exist alongside the physical one. But technological advances have brought this transformation of human society close enough to reality to demand that we consider its consequences.

In the metaverse, a user might curate a digital avatar, like a character in a video game. Through the eyes of their avatar, they would experience a digital reality as active and engaging as the physical one. Some futurists believe that soon we might attend doctor’s appointments or class there.

But while the metaverse could revolutionize work and play, it is essential to remain wary of the dangers that will emerge if it subsumes daily life.

More here.

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9 Comments

  1. As a student who has grown up with technology around them for years, you would think I would see the metaverse and all it has to offer as a great new advancement.
    However, I don’t.
    Is it really a good idea for the metaverse to continue expanding so fast when we haven’t addressed/ concluded the issues it is causing? for example the faster technology is advancing the more damage it is doing on the environment. To follow from this, with virtual realities becoming more adapted in daily life/ technologies being adapted in daily life it is leaving a gate open for investigation into personal data breaches, for example illegal photography.
    Not only could the metaverse cause serious issues within personal lives but also when it comes to the likes of the military; as we have seen before smartwatches have been the cause of military base locations becoming exposed common knowledge (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/a-map-showing-the-users-of-fitness-devices-lets-the-world-see-where-us-soldiers-are-and-what-they-are-doing/2018/01/28/86915662-0441-11e8-aa61-f3391373867e_story.html). If this has happened once, how with these advancements can we be sure it would not happen again and possibly put millions of lives in danger.

  2. The metaverse is dangerous, but it is not right to ignore its beauty and amazing offering to the world. Wouldn’t it be amazing to travel around the world and still be able to go into a virtual room and meet with family? Or maybe share presentations or work related issues in a way more fun and convincing way? Of course it would, and I believe this is the beauty of the metaverse, but I see the dangers it offers to be heavier than the positives. The metaverse will be used as an escape for a lot of people. Those who don’t feel happy or believe they have a bad life in which they are sad will go to the metaverse to create another version of themselves, one they could choose to be whatever they want and of course, they will never want to leave Meta. This will increase the rate of addictions and of sadness because this satisfaction of being happy inside a video game is not real and doesn’t fulfill or cure the sadness a person has. The world will become more distant with kids inside the metaverse everyday without connecting to friends, parents or the environment.

  3. The Metaverse will not only revolutionize work and play but our whole lives. It is a new world full of opportunities. Clearly, it has its dangers as everything in life, but we can’t let this stop us from seeing all the positive things it can bring. Right now, the metaverse is something that is just starting so far. For this reason, it is still full of bugs and problems that can be seen as negative things. However, it is exciting to know that once all these mistakes can be corrected, the opportunities within this world will be endless and will be available to everyone on the face of the earth. It’s just normal to think that this virtual world will only bring health and mental problems to future generations. However, as humans are constantly evolving, the next generations will be prepared to live inside this world and will see it as a normal thing to interact with and spend most of their time inside the metaverse. Additionally, this new world will benefit the real world because as people will have more opportunities to succeed, wealth and happiness will increase and will lead to better living conditions. I believe present humans must start to know and be encouraged to penetrate this new world so we can evidence the multiple benefits this can bring to our lives and the lives of our beloved ones in the present and the near future.

  4. Being a college student who grew up during the 2000’s where technology evolved rapidly you would think I have somewhat of an idea of what the metaverse is. Truth is I do not. It is all very new to me as it is to everyone. I am still trying to get my head around it. I hear great news about the metaverse but I also hear some bad news. The metaverse offers many new opportunities, and possibilities. You could make a good salary off of it just in the comfort of your own home. Real estate is a real thing in the metaverse. People are starting to buy and sell property that has real value. You could also travel the world, or attend parties/ events from your own house. Those are just some of the great things the metaverse has to offer but you see how much you could already to with it. With those great aspects come some bad aspects. The metaverse is fairly new so the creators are still learning about it as well. There are still some bugs and viruses within it but they are usually fixed in a short time. The one major problem that I see in the metaverse though is that it is changing the world. It is taking employees away from companies and businesses. The employment opportunities in the real world are being taken away. Even professional sport leagues and teams are joining the metaverse. I will not be surprised if soon, games are only available through the metaverse. For the people who can not afford it or for the people who experience technological difficulties this could be problematic for them. People need to be ready for the world that is coming. Not having any knowledge of the future can set you back when it gets here. Technology is only advancing year by year. If you take advantage of it, you could change your life. This is the newer generation so going into a job interview not knowing about technology or the metaverse can cost you the job. Jobs now a days look for people who are not only good in the profession but are good with technology. After reading the article, it encouraged me to learn more about the metaverse and become more interested in it because it is the direction the world is heading in. The metaverse is the future.

  5. Mark Zuckerberg, Meta Platform Inc.’s ceo, is the leading pioneer of the metaverse concept. He came out with a video showcasing the possibilities that could come out of the metaverse. These possibilities range from virtual meetings that simulate in person meetings, to virtual chat rooms where people can interact with each other, via their animated characters. Of course, with new groundbreaking technologies there are always naysayers that think the technology will bring the armageddon. One of these naysayers is Zoe Weinberg, the founder of a technology incubation fund that works to counter digital authoritarianism. Ms. Weinberg brings up valid arguments towards the possible negative outcomes of the metaverse, in her published New York Times article, ”The Metaverse Is Coming, and the World Is Not Ready for It”. In the article Ms. Weinberg believes that the world is not ready for the metaverse. Ms. Weinberg’s biggest worry about the possible implications of the metaverse is, “ Virtual environments will supercharge disinformation campaigns, espionage and surveillance.” I could see how this possible outcome is worrisome, but I do not believe it will cause such a drastic change that multiple nations will try to control the metaverse, due to security risks. The premise of metaverse has existed for years in video games such as minecraft, roblox, team fortress 2, and others. These games have virtual worlds which simulate a world players can get immersed into. These games have not caused any detriment to national security, if anything these games have brought positive cash inflows into the economy. Mark Zuckerberg wants the meta verse to be a virtual real life world where day-to-day activities can be done from the comfort of your home. These acts do not present any immediate risk to national security. The only real problem I could see happening from the metaverse is individuals not getting enough exercise and sunlight, other than that the metaverse is an exciting concept and I am excited for what it will bring to the table.

  6. When I think of the metaverse, I think of the movie and book Ready Player One. The book talks about and the movie shows how desolate the actual world looks when a virtual reality is more prominent. The head character was from Columbus, Ohio, and lived in a lot full of RV apartments stacked on top of each other. I think a prominent virtual environment would hinder human health and activity. People would never have to leave their houses to do anything except maybe go eat. The characters in Ready Player One never had any of the friends in the metaverse in real life. Society and interaction behind humans would always be changed to almost nothing in the real world.

  7. The upcoming implementation of the Metaverse and everything it has to offer is an almost unbelievable proposition on new technology to the daily consumer. This is because the metaverse and its now growing personality has shown consumers that a full-fledged world of technology is possible for people across the globe to have access to. The metaverse is a place where the user can create their own custom “universe” to their every liking. Certain exchanges and possibilities such as the purchasing of Metaverse real estate have already proven to be possible within this new technology.
    Influencers have taken very strongly to this new idea of the Metaverse. For example, famous rapper, Snoop Dogg, has already sold exclusive real estate depicting the buyers as his virtual neighbor. “Somebody did that in December, Decrypt reports, as the famous rapper was selling a “parcel” in the Snoopverse, which is the metaverse that he built in the Sandbox platform, where he plans to host events and has built a virtual replica of his house. Parcels of metaverse real estate near other celebrities are selling at premium prices too. In January alone, sales of metaverse real estate topped $85 million, according to MetaMetric Solutions.” (Chirinos) This quote is evidence that the Metaverse as a whole is now a real and implemented ideology already. This is because of the real exchange of monetary value for something like real estate offered on the Metaverse.
    With this new proof of the opportunity that the Metaverse holds, the daily consumer may come to question the benefits and harm that may come with it. Being that a whole new technological world has now been created and successfully proposed to the public, only more attention and opinion will be based on this new implementation. No one would have even considered the possibilities that the Metaverse has proven to be possible if it weren’t for the ongoing proof released throughout our media today. This means that for the continuation of the success of the Metaverse to be possible, new real-world examples would need to be shown to the daily consumer. To be clear, the use and marketing of real estate within the Metaverse is just one real world example that can be used to expand the interest of this growing technological world.
    Along with real estate, the Metaverse houses other real-world implementations. For example, the well-known sandbox styled gaming platform, Roblox, has implemented the Metaverse into its branding. Additionally, the well-known face chat and messaging platform, Zoom, has also implemented the Metaverse into its name brand. This means that not only is the Metaverse evidently expanding in industries such as real estate, but it is also showing signs of implementation within gaming and networking platforms. Metaverse enthusiasts see the Metaverse as not a disadvantageous proposal to the internet but a support and addition to it. This means that the worldwide usage and everyday experience with the internet, can easily be replicated with the new outreach of the Metaverse.
    In conclusion, I feel as if the metaverse is only an appropriate addition to the overall direction the world has been headed towards in our everyday lives. For example, online and deregulated cryptocurrencies have only exploded in relevance for investors throughout the world. Personally, I feel as if the topic of the Metaverse remains indifferent in many aspects. Soon, our entire lives will simply be found online. It is a matter of the people in power of regulating these new technologies to outwardly benefit or harm the possibilities in which new and expanding platforms such as the Metaverse have to offer.

    Sources Sited

    Fortune- Chrinos, Carmela “Someone just paid $450,000 to be Snoop Dogg’s neighbor in the metaverse. Here’s how you can live by a celebrity too”
    https://fortune.com/2022/02/02/how-to-buy-metaverse-real-estate-snoop-dogg-celebrity-neighbor/

  8. Mark Zuckerburg is one of the most innovative and influential people in recent history. He took social media to the next level with his website, Facebook, and now his newest invention is a type of virtual reality. The metaverse seems like a concept out of a black mirror episode, but the concept is essentially a real life virtual reality video game. This is like taking the second best selling video game of all time, Grand Theft Auto, to the next level. Users put on a virtual reality headset and essentially live a full life on the game. Most people play video games to escape reality for a few hours, or to have fun completing missions with your friends. This is meant to be the ultimate escape, with people spending millions of dollars on land in the virtual world. Someone spent $2.43 million for a 500 square meter plot of virtual land, which truly blows my mind. I assume they are predicting the metaverse concept will catch on and millions will be living and working in the virtual world, and their property is in the “fashion district” so its value will appreciate. This is not an unusual concept, as there are virtual real estate firms helping these users find and purchase property. If I tried to explain the concept of spending millions on land inside a videogame to most people 10 years ago, I would be laughed out of any room I tried to pitch the idea. If this does catch on a large scale, people will start to look like the characters from the animated Disney classic Wall-E, being 500 pounds and not leaving their chairs/beds. Times are changing fast, and when it comes to the metaverse, I’m not sure it’s for the better.

  9. To attack the title of this article, the ‘world is not ready for the metaverse’ because the Metaverse is not ready for the world; the technology isn’t here yet to give us incentive to let the metaverse take over our real life functions. Unlike many futurists’ beliefs as stated in the article, I do not believe that school will be held in the metaverse. At least, not in the next half a century. The technology is still too much in its infancy, and the cost of a VR headset is more than the average middle class family can afford. Something like doctor’s appointments may be plausible to hold, as that can be something individuals can request but to have the majority of the US population on Meta so as to have State-sponsored school on it is something I don’t believe will happen. The only way a digital society will actually usurp the real one is if we eventually come out with technology that allows you to actually feel what is felt in the metaverse, or control your character with just your thoughts. Once we can create a digital reality just as immersive as the one we know now, only then will we move most of our functions to a digital space.

    Until then, sunlight the the good old outdoors will prevail.

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