Mark Zuckerberg paints our future in virtual worlds, into which we move our real world. For the time being, however, these are more abstract ideas that encounter technical, ethical and philosophical obstacles.
Metaverse became the most inflected term in 2021, at least in the technological world. And paradoxically, even though no one can define it. At the technological level, it will be a mix of augmented and virtual reality, but the next layers will be the economic aspects of the new metaverse, the degree of interconnection of the virtual world with the real, or purely ethical issues as permitted forms of your new avatar.
Technically, the metaverse does not bring anything new. We have a long time for virtual reality devices here, giant virtual worlds simulating the real one as well (Second Life) and platforms for user interaction in the virtual environment as well: VRChat is exactly what Meta (formerly Facebook) shows as its first example of building a metaverse – Horizon Workrooms.
VRchat is an application for current VR platforms. There is fun, work and association. Here you can chat with others for long hours, play golf with them or listen to music.
These are virtual meeting rooms where you can invite colleagues or business partners to a meeting and communicate with their avatars. There are also virtual whiteboards, shared screens or the ability to run presentations in virtual space.
Facebook ran a metaverse before it was cool.
Farmville fits nicely into the vague definition.
But for now, we still lack a reason why someone would do it. Communicating through avatars offers no advantage over regular video conferencing with shared screens and whiteboards. And just as no one has yet come up with a truly tangible benefit of meetings in the virtual world, no one has actually benefited from the whole metaverse concept. It is therefore not surprising that this text will contain more unanswered questions than clear definitions and answers.
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