The term “Metaverse” describes a shared virtual environment produced by the fusion of physically persistent virtual space and virtually enhanced physical reality. This includes the total of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet. The idea of the metaverse has attracted more and more interest recently as a possible new social and economic platform.
The Metaverse provides the potential to build a new type of immersive, interactive, and interconnected digital society as technology develops and more people spend time online. By offering a virtual space that is accessible from anywhere and provides for real-time communication and collaboration, it can change the way we work, learn, and socialize.
The Metaverse also has the potential to revolutionize the way we do business. Companies could use it as a platform for virtual events, product demonstrations, and even virtual real estate. It could also provide new opportunities for creators and entrepreneurs to monetize their content and services.
However, the development and growth of the Metaverse also raise significant questions and challenges. These include issues related to privacy, security, and the potential for the concentration of power in the hands of a few large companies. As the Metaverse continues to evolve, it will be important to consider and address these and other issues in order to realize its full potential as a new social and economic platform.
The social potential of the metaverse
From the onset, the Metaverse has always had a social ring to it. The fact that it is a virtual space or world that is used by people, therefore, signifies that there is likely to be a great deal of enhanced social interaction in it. The Metaverse will give us social interaction that’s better than what we are provided with today by Web2 social media. Of course, the coming of the metaverse won’t be the end of social media but would actually be a significant transformation of social media from what we have today.
When Mark Zuckerberg virtually attended a session at South by Southwest earlier in March 2022, he notably said “he expects people will use the metaverse in a lot of different ways, from social gatherings to work to e-commerce. While avatars aren’t yet at the same photorealistic level as a Zoom video, the metaverse brings more interactivity.”
Experts have predicted that the true metaverse will probably be ready by 2030, hence, the variety of metaverse platforms we have today are just building blocks that hope to contribute to the building and actualization of a true metaverse. It’s all a journey and it’s also so nice that we are witnessing the building of such wonderful technology.
The Metaverse is set to be a social platform like no other. Modern Web2 social media allows us to send texts and make video calls with friends, business associates, and loved ones. With the coming of the metaverse, this won’t be outdated instead, the metaverse comes with a more interactive and immersive style of online social interaction. With the help of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) tech, you could text your friend to hop into a particular virtual environment in the metaverse where you both can have a virtual date with your avatars, hold hands in a garden and even attend a concert. The metaverse adds more reality and a lively feeling to social media.
People who can’t meet in real life but share the same interests can meet in the metaverse and work together. Virtual events can take a new dimension with the full bloom of the Metaverse. For example, this year Taco Bell partnered with Decentraland to host a wedding for a lucky couple in the metaverse. The Metaverse enhances every form of social interaction modern technology presents us. However, this enhancement has the potential of becoming bad and being a tool for next-level cyberbullying and online hacking, more of these potential limitations will be discussed as we move further.
The economic potential of the metaverse
Just as modern-day social media has proved to be a very powerful tool for economic and commercial activity, the metaverse also holds the huge potential of being a powerful economic platform. Although we are still in the ‘pre-Metaverse’ era, many are already beginning to formulate and use terms such as ‘metanomics’ which refers to the economy in the metaverse.
In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook changed its name to Meta and stated that it wants to be known as a metaverse company. The year 2022 saw many large companies and brands expand their presence into the Metaverse and show their willingness to bet on the metaverse to be the next big thing. In the fashion industry, brands such as Gucci and Nike ventured into the Metaverse looking to provide fashion collectibles and wears for branded wears for users’ avatars in the Metaverse. In addition, a number of virtual fashion shows were held in the Metaverse. Clearly, the fashion industry isn’t sleeping on the potential of the Metaverse.
Tech giants such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft are doing the same. Microsft is looking at the Metaverse from the aspect of gaming and has acquired Activision to help promote its vision for gaming in the metaverse. Let’s not also forget the new business of virtual real estate made possible by the coming of Metaverse tech. Do you have a piece of land already in the Metaverse?
The numbers are also looking good in predictions for the Metaverse. Management consultancy McKinsey and Company predicted the metaverse economy could “generate up to $5 trillion in impact by 2030, equivalent to the size of the third-largest economy today, Japan.”
How will the metaverse change the economy?
- The metaverse will totally transform how we carry out business
- More companies will seek to possess Meta-presence
- The Metaverse will modify the advertising and distribution of products.
- Workspace and business solutions will be redefined in the Metaverse.
Challenges and limitations of the Metaverse as a social and economic platform
While the Metaverse is predicted to bring many positive changes and solutions to our social and economic lives, this might come with certain limitations.
There’s a probability that since the metaverse brings better social interaction than what we have today, there can be magnified security and privacy issues with the full bloom of the metaverse. Meta’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has even acknowledged these concerns for security and privacy in the Metaverse.
- Security and Privacy issues: In the metaverse, in order to give the users the ultimate immersive and realistic experience, large amounts of user data may be gotten from them. Most hardware that users will need to get the best experience might be steadily processing sensitive user behaviour in real-time. This is a treasure chest for cyberhackers and cyberbullies. It is important that measures are put in place at all times to verify users and make sure that every user is who they say they are.
- Social engineering: Social engineering is defined as a manipulation technique that takes advantage of human error to gain private information and assets. Users in the metaverse will make use of avatars, this means that if a hacker takes control of a user’s avatar, they could exploit the user’s info and even scam the friends of the user.
- Interoperability: The big dream of the Metaverse is a multitude of 3D virtual worlds which can all communicate and interact with each other. Interoperability is a necessity in the metaverse. Experts and Metaverse builders must ensure that this is made possible as the lack of interoperability can pose a serious limitation to its use as both a social and economic platform.
- Customer adoption and usage: For business owners and companies, the quest for meta-presence and incorporation of metaverse strategies into their overall business strategy largely depends on whether a large percentage of their customers are interested and see it as a great idea. As a business owner, you want to be where your customers are. It is therefore important that enough work is done to ensure widespread adoption and usage.
What started as a concept in a 1992 novel is becoming a reality, and is still the future. The Metaverse presents a lot of potential to every sector and industry, I hope you have been enlightened on its capabilities to be a great social and economic platform. We are far from having the perfect idea of the Metaverse, this technology evolves day by day as new technologies are being incorporated in order to ensure it is what we envision it to be. As a business owner, now is the best time to begin to look into and work towards involving the Metaverse as part of your business strategies, you are still early. The future is now.
Happy New Year.
Originally published at https://mirror.xyz.
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