Investment bank Jefferies recently declared the Metaverse to be the biggest disruption of our way of life the world has ever seen – and financial firms see the Metaverse as a huge potential opportunity.
The metaverse is an iteration of the internet that gives us a more immersive experience. Users will be able to access the Internet using the avatar, or the Internet can bring you an augmented reality experience.
You can already see examples of progress in the Metaverse today. If you search for “dinosaurs” in Google, you can watch augmented reality versions of your favorite prehistoric creatures right in your room. You can also watch immersive concerts at Fortnight or dive into the world of avatar-based dating.
In this article, I will share the potential positive and negative effects of metaverse on society. Let’s take a deeper look at how this innovative technology will change our world for the better and some of the concerns and challenges we need to consider.
Changes in the way we play
We already have VR games available in major franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, and Doom. ABBA Voyage is a virtual music experience that will showcase digital versions of one of the biggest pop acts in the world, DJ Marshmello and Trevor Scott have previously performed virtual concerts within the Fortnite platform.
We will continue to see an entertainment shift in the way we watch sports and enjoy music. In the future, we will be able to wear virtual reality glasses that will put us in the center of the action, whether on the football field or on the big stage.
Shopping in Metaverse
The metaverse is already changing the way we shop. IKEA pioneered with its Place app, which uses augmented reality technology to place furniture in our rooms so we can see what things will look like in our home or office.
Companies like L’Oreal and Avon allow you to try on makeup virtually through their app or website, so you can choose the perfect shade.
Apple lets you see their latest gadget in your room using augmented reality, and Bollé not only lets you see what their sunglasses look like on your face, but they also use AR and artificial intelligence to show you what the world would look like through different lenses! Metaverse will continue to build and grow on these types of immersive retail experiences.
Transforming training and education
Going forward, we will see the metaverse provide immersive and engaging educational opportunities in many different settings, including formal institutions and schools, lifelong learning, corporate training, and personal improvement.
Kids can actually take lessons by transporting themselves to different places and times, using virtual and augmented reality technology. We’ve seen this before in Poland, where teachers are using the virtual reality game Half-Life: Alyx to teach science lessons. Companies like Skanska also organize their health and safety training using virtual reality.
Virtual Health Assistants
The metaverse will provide new and innovative ways to take care of our health. Virtual reality consultations are already available, and therapists use virtual reality glasses to provide exposure therapy to patients, so they can experience situations that frighten them in a safe and controlled environment.
Surgeons are also using augmented reality technology to guide some surgical procedures – and they can train for operations with digital twins.
At home, we have countless VR and AR wellness apps at our disposal – you can even do guided yoga using augmented reality!
Metaverse travel technology
Hotels are already using virtual reality as a marketing tool by creating immersive experiences that attract new visitors. As consumers, we can take virtual reality tours all over the world, to places like Zion National Park, Rio de Janeiro, Rome or Dubai. In the metaverse we will be able to go practically anywhere in the world simply by attaching a helmet.
When we actually travel to a destination, we will also have access to guided augmented reality tours that will enhance our travel experiences and help us learn more about our surroundings.
Create new things in the metaverse
The metaverse will also change the way we create new things. Engineers, entrepreneurs, and creatives are already using digital twins — virtual replicas of things — to simulate what things would look like in the real world.
Formula 1 uses digital twins to create and test new race cars on virtual circuits. NVIDIA now offers an all-encompassing world where you can create an entire structure of a building in a virtual world, then put on your VR glasses and walk around that building at different times and in different situations. You can even see what the building will look like at sunset or when it is full of people.
These types of co-authoring tools will become more and more common in the metaverse.
There is also a downside to the Metaverse, and we will need to consider these challenges as we move into a more immersive virtual world.
These challenges include things like:
1. Confidentiality – Metaverse likely collects a lot of personal data about each user, including eye aversion, physical and tactile reactions. How can we protect this data?
2. Child protection When children are immersed in the metaverse, how can we monitor what they do and what they see, in order to protect them?
3. Health issues The hangovers of virtual reality, the grief of post-virtual reality and internet addiction are real – How can we combat the health problems of an immersive world?
4. Unequal access How can we ensure that people have equal access to the technology needed to join the metaverse, including mobile phones, headphones, and connectivity?
5. Legal Affairs – We will have to settle the gray organizational issues of the metaverse. For example, when is a hypothetical act a crime?
6. Desensitization With people entering increasingly realistic virtual worlds, how can we ensure that they are not disturbed by violence, racism and misogyny?
7. Identity Hacking – We will all use virtual avatars to navigate the metaverse, so protecting our identities will be essential. How do you verify that users are who they claim to be in the virtual world?
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