The term “metaverse” was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional space -a fully realized digital world that exists beyond the analog one in which we live. It is a futuristic notion of connecting people online that encompasses augmented and virtual reality. It is the next big thing after the mobile internet, building simulated worlds that closely model our reality. Metaverse – a term for connected virtual worlds that is being described as the next iteration of the internet, a logical evolution of internet.  ‘Second Life’ *(launched in 2003) was an early version of a metaverse – an immersive, shared virtual space.

 The word “metaverse” is made up of the prefix “meta” (Greek for beyond) and “verse” from “universe”; the term is typically used to describe the concept of a future iteration of the internet, made up of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe. Metaverse is an actual bridge, which for now is a gateway between the real and virtual reality. It is an effectively infinite space in which humans can do everything we do in physical space but in a multisensory stimulation. If you own a non-fungible token (NFT) or even just some crypto, you are part of the metaversal experience. A metaverse, is a place where all IP can live together.

The metaverse is a shared 3D space where users can see other people and share experiences. It can mirror the real world or can be a total fantasy. That’s up to the user. There will be specialist devices to access it where you need extra high precision, but most functions will be supported by devices that will become every day. So, to some users it will be like being inside an actual computer game. To others it will be the way we do our shopping. To industry, it will support micron-accurate simulations of production processes. To a surgeon, it will allow them to actually be inside a human body. All of this is going to demand some massive improvements in technology. And that process of improvement is exactly what is going on now.

There are three key factors that will make interactions in the metaverse feel more like those we have in our daily lives: ephemerality, embodiment and immersion:

·      Ephemerality – The metaverse will constitute a shift towards live, speech-based communication that will often feel as transient as face-to-face conversations, as opposed to e-mails, text messages creating a record that lasts over time and which can be inspected, reviewed, modified or deleted.  

·      Embodiment – In metaverse we will be able to communicate not only through typing on a keyboard or looking at a screen, but through our physicality. Avatars will reflect our real bodily movements. 

·      Immersion: In the metaverse, we will communicate in ways that make us feel as if we are actually in a specific space with other people — shared environments where social interaction feels natural, 

It is a digital space where you can create memories that rival physical experiences in scope, meaning, and value. We need to think of the Metaverse as a sort of successor state to the mobile internet. It is a collective virtual shared space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the Internet

Metaverse will revolutionize nearly every industry and function. From healthcare to payments, consumer products, entertainment and so on. In addition, altogether new industries, marketplaces and resources will be created to enable this future, as will novel types of skills, professions, and certifications

We will access the metaverse though AR (Augmented Reality) or XR (Extended Reality). Apple is reportedly developing AR glasses. Virtual and augmented reality are, at a minimum, metaverse adjacent.

Metaverse is a logical evolution. It’s the next generation of the internet — a more immersive, 3D experience. Its defining quality will be a feeling of presence, like you are right there with another person or in another place.

Some examples of metaverse-type thinking:

Individual Metaverse applications will be developed, like the ability to walk through a virtual shop in an avatar of your body. Your avatar will carry your measurements and perhaps your clothing preferences – privately and only released with your permission. You’ll be able to try on a dress in a shop, look in a virtual mirror, and see yourself wearing the garment, complete with folds and accurate movement, generated by the Metaverse’s physics engine.

If you want to buy the dress, you just say “I’ll take that” to the virtual assistant, who will wrap it up and send it to you, through the real mail. But beyond that, because your avatar carries your complete set of measurements (obtained by scanning yourself with the LiDAR** sensor in your iPhone) the “shop” will send your measurements with your order to a clothing manufacturer. There will be a Clothing Description Language that fully describes the garment so that it can be manufactured just for you to fit perfectly.

Wear glasses that give you virtual directions in your line of sight, or immediate translations of street signs in foreign languages. Or even make it possible for you to have a conversation with someone who is thousands of miles away as a three-dimensional hologram in your living room instead of a head and shoulders on a flat screen. 

I can be in my home in Bangalore talking to a colleague an ocean away in his car in New York, and yet it feels like he’s sat three feet to my left. If he gesticulates too wildly while disagreeing with me, I get a genuine urge to lean away.

High power, hugely efficient processors with specialist accelerators will become universal. This can only benefit the metaverse, and bring many of its wilder sounding features a lot closer

Metaverse means a vision of future internet. It will be the ultimate home of social media, games, films, and TV. It will be a space where humans can safely join others in times of health emergencies, and it will be a portal into shared experiences for everyday life. It will improve sustainability. We will be able to meet people and travel virtually. There will be less need for physical travel.

It will never stop growing. As technology progresses, we – the human race – may even merge with it. This will be a gradual process. In the same way as we look back now and can’t imagine life without the internet, at some point we will wonder how life could have existed without the metaverse. We’ll be able to almost feel like we’re there with each other                                        ————————————

*‘Second Life’ is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its ‘Residents’. Synthetic life. Developed by Linden Lab and is accessible via the Internet. A free client program called the Second Life Viewer enables its users, called Residents, to interact with each other. ‘Residents’ retain the copyrights to their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other ‘Residents’

           **LiDAR: light detection and ranging, is a popular remote sensing method used for measuring the exact distance of an object on the earth’s surface                               

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For further information on digital technologies please visit

digital-matrix.org

References:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/cathyhackl/2021/05/02/defining-the-metaverse-today/?sh=2661d8396448

https://www.matthewball.vc/the-metaverse-primer

https://www.redsharknews.com/the-metaverse-might-be-invisible-now-but-it-is-poised-to-replace-the-internet