(8 minutes of reading time) Despite defining a super current trend, the expression Metaverse is not that new. It started to be used in science fiction a few decades ago and in cinema as well as in The Matrix and Player Number 1 movies. Metaverse is a kind of new layer of reality that integrates the real and virtual worlds. In practice, it is an immersive virtual environment built through various technologies, such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and holograms. Metaverse can be understood as a virtual world, where people interact with each other and with the whole. The idea of Metaverse is to take us inside the internet that we browse today. To better understand the concept of Metaverse, let's compare it with our internet today, where social networks are the main mediators of the virtual environment and we access digital life through cell phones and computers. With Metaverse, the experience will be much more immersive. More than browsing the internet, it will be possible to experience it in 3D. In practice, by putting on virtual reality glasses, equipped with headphones and sensors, it will be possible to enter an online virtual world that also incorporates augmented reality, 3D holographic avatars, videos, and other media. In other words, as these are fictional spaces, the sky is the limit, and everything is possible to be invented. In the metaverse, it will be possible to shop online with the experience of walking through the aisles of a store. Or get together with co-workers in a meeting using 3D rooms and avatars. From there we can begin to understand. In this universe, which is not yet fully real, people could interact with each other, work, study and have a social life through their 3D avatars (customized virtual dolls). In other words, the objective is for people not to be just observers of the virtual, but to be part of it. It is important to say that this scenario is not yet fully possible. Many of the technologies necessary for the Metaverse to become real still need to be developed. HOW THE METAVERSE AND THE FIRST ATTEMPTS EMERGED Despite being super trendy today, the term Metaverse has been around for a few decades. It was the writer Neal Stephenson who first talked about this in his science fiction book “Snow Crash”, published in 1992. The book tells the story of a pizza delivery man in "real life", Hiro Protagonist, and who in the virtual world (in the story is called the metaverse) is a samurai. Ernest Cline also addressed the theme in the book “Ready Player One” (Player Number 1), which in 2018 won the movie screens under the direction of Steven Spielberg. In the book, the characters live in an imaginary world and, to escape reality, they usually spend hours and hours in the OASIS, a virtual simulator that gives them the possibility to be whatever they want. For some years now we have seen projects trying to create something like the Metaverse, such as the game Second Life, from 2003 by the company Liden Lab. In this game, we have a 3D virtual environment that simulates real life. In it the user can create avatar and socialize. At that time, despite the game having attracted thousands of users, it was unable to fully unite the real and virtual worlds because it was unable to create a digital economy where people could earn money or even own a virtual property, something that nowadays it's possible. Today, we see games like Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft that also materialize from the metaverse concept. In these games, people create their own characters, participate in missions, interact with each other and go to events, such as the concert by singer Ariana Grande at Fortnite, which brought together thousands of people. Now, the concept of the metaverse, nowadays, goes far beyond online games. The idea is that all aspects of a person's real life, such as leisure, work, relationships, study, and others, are immersive permeated by digital, and vice versa. TECHNOLOGIES INVOLVED IN THE METAVERSE To make the metaverse work, we need the following technologies: 1. VIRTUAL REALITY Virtual Reality is a 3D environment built using software. To access this simulation of reality, users need computers, virtual reality glasses, headphones, and other equipment. 2. AUGMENTED REALITY Unlike virtual reality, which takes the user inside the virtual world, augmented reality inserts virtual data into the real world. There are several games for smartphones that use the technology, such as Pokémon Go. There are also AR glasses that show information about the environment on their lenses. 3. BLOCKCHAIN, NFTS AND CRYPTOCURRENCY Blockchain is the technology that made it possible to create bitcoin, the first and most famous cryptocurrency in the world. With this system it is possible to track the sending and receiving of some types of information over the internet. It is highly secure, which is why it is the technology that makes cryptocurrency transactions possible. NFTs (non-fungible token) will also be used in the metaverse. NFT is computer code that serves as authentication of a file, ensuring that it is unique. It would be used to authenticate the transactions of all items within the metaverse, like a virtual property, making sure it is unique. With these technologies, it would be possible to carry out financial transactions in the metaverse, trading virtual properties, cryptocurrencies and even clothing for avatars, digital artwork, games, and other items. The idea is that “real” companies can exist in the metaverse to sell their products in virtual versions. This way we would be able to integrate the “real” and the “virtual” world. Although we need these technologies to access this “virtual” world, metaverse does not refer to any specific type of technology, but to a broad change in the way we interact with the digital world. In the metaverse, we will have the impression of total immersion in the virtual world in a junction of augmented reality with virtual reality. That is, the flat screens of cell phones, computers and tablets will be replaced by a 3D experience, where it would be possible to interact with objects and information. WHAT WILL THE METAVERSE BE LIKE? Very difficult to answer this question since it still doesn't exist in a 100% way. What we do know is that users would have their own avatars and could work, keep in touch with friends, build and decorate a house, buy clothes and accessories, go to concerts, travel, among other things, in a virtual way, of course. It would still be possible to meet friends to see a movie at the cinema or see an art exhibition that only exists in the metaverse. And, when accessing a website, instead of simply opening the page on your computer or cell phone, you could enter it. The idea is that the metaverse will also have its own economy and currencies, with which users will be able to buy, sell and trade digital real estate, sundries, avatar accessories and more. If the metaverse really manages to materialize in this way, we will have changes in several areas of our lives, such as: a) Work We will have working meetings inside the metaverse (this is one of the main bets of technology companies like Facebook and Microsoft). It would be possible to simulate face-to-face meetings, maintain eye contact with avatars and interact more intensely with colleagues. b) Education It would be possible to promote classes within the virtual world, with a more real experience for students. For example, in the medical course, it would be possible to study the human body with three-dimensional holograms, or even surgeries and distant disease treatments could be done in the metaverse, as stated by Microsoft CEO in Brazil, Tânia Cosentino, in a recent interview. c) Entertainment It is in this area that the main initiatives developed so far are located. But the idea is that the metaverse goes far beyond games, offering complete entertainment experiences. Including shows, movies, television, sports, video games, travel, artwork, etc. d) Economy Experts believe that a complete economy could exist within the virtual world, with transactions in land, real estate, services, transportation, digital art and more. This entire economy would be anchored in blockchain, cryptocurrencies and NFTs. WHEN WILL THE METAVERSE BE A REALITY? It is not yet possible to forecast exactly, but in October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and president of Facebook, when announcing that the company would be renamed Meta, stated that the metaverse could be part of our daily lives in the next 5 or 10 years. But the only consensus among experts is that this is not a short-term dream. Although we are heading towards it. CRITICISM TO THE METAVERSE There are several criticisms of the metaverse, but the main ones are: centralization of technology, data privacy, virtual crimes, how to respect copyright and addiction to this “new” virtual world. Despite all these problems, the metaverse is sure to revolutionize our lives and we must be prepared for that. Do you like our content? So, follow us on social media to stay on top of innovation and read our blog. Reference: https://bit.ly/3JEp8WS https://bit.ly/3JtG1nf https://bit.ly/3LXQzfR
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