On October 29th, 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his plans for the future of his massive social media network, called the metaverse. Utilizing detailed and advanced virtual reality technology to create an endless 3D environment, the metaverse is an ambitious concept frequently described in many sci-fi books such as Ready Player One and Warcross. With Zuckerberg’s bold vision coming out of nowhere, the metaverse aims to completely virtualize our lives in an alternate reality that will change the future of technology forever.
How does it work?
The concept of stimulating an alternate reality with technology is nothing new; virtual reality (VR) has been a growing topic of interest for the world in its limitless potential as a source of entertainment, education, healthcare, and more. In the form of a specialized VR headset, a person can be immersed in a 360° 3D environment that can be manipulated at their will. Coupled with advanced gyroscope sensors, an effective illusion is made for the user, creating the sense of residing in a completely new world. With Zuckerberg’s vision, this alternate reality could be expanded to each and every user to create a vast world spanning international networks.
An alternate reality where the only limitation is the imagination of the users means several future possibilities. One common example of its uses include revolutionizing Zoom and other video-call technologies. By just putting on a headset, you can be immediately immersed in a virtual world where all your clienteles’ avatars are waiting, creating an illusion that you are actually there in person with them as you have your virtual meeting. Another fascinating prospect of the metaverse is its application in entertainment, with by creating a 1st person perspective, video games become much more immersive, along with other sources of entertainment such as sports or movies. Hands on virtual education and socializing will also permanently revolutionize how society will approach such topics, changing our world forever.
With such a radical proposal for one of the main prospects for the future of technology, several concerns and issues inevitably arise. One main issue is the concern of monopolizing the use of something that has ethical and moral implications for profit. If no effective policies are used to regulate customer and user abuse, large uncertainty resides in if companies will responsibly provide such technologies at reasonable costs. Additionally, a long-lasting concern of any use of technology is their safety of privacy, everyday people are at risk of having their cybersecurity compromised, leading to major privacy concerns for metaverse and what it would entail for their data in cyberspace.