Year 2021. The plans of Facebook, one of the most powerful technology companies, go through creating a metaverso. It is one of the most ambitious projects of Mark Zuckerberg’s company, but also one of the most disturbing. What exactly is the metaverse that Facebook wants to build? How will it affect the way we interact? We tell you everything in the following lines.
What is the metaverse?
The word metaverso is an unofficial translation of the term in English metaverse. This is derived from the contraction of two words: meta and universe. The origin of this concept comes from the hand of Neal Stephenson, who introduced it in his novel published in 1992 under the title Snow Crash. His idea at that time was none other than the creation of fictional virtual spaces where humans interacted with each other as avatars.
The metaverse that Facebook proposes does not differ too much from the proposal that the writer Neal Stephenson reflected in his book. The North American company intends to create a virtual space in which users are able to interact with other users, companies or services, always in a virtual way. It would also be a place for activities, such as playing games or watching movies, and where there would be no physical limitations of the real world.
In a interview on The Verge portal, Own Mark Zuckerberg He described his vision of the metaverse this way: “It encompasses many companies, the entire industry. You can think of it as the successor to the mobile internet. And it’s certainly not something a single company is going to build, but I think a large part of our next chapter will hopefully contribute to building that, in partnership with many other companies, creators, and developers. But you can think of the metaverse as a built-in internet, where instead of just viewing content, you are on it. And you feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you could not necessarily have in a 2D application or web page, like dancing, for example, or different types of exercises. “
In short, we are facing a universe parallel to the physical one in which different virtual worlds will remain interconnected. It is true that we have mainly talked about Facebook when trying to describe what the metaverso. But there are other companies that are interested in this technology and have long-term plans to develop similar solutions.
The metaverse already has some background in the technological field
It is clear that Facebook’s proposal will seek to unify some of the latest technologies to build an alternative world to the physical one. However, the idea of having a metaverse is not new. If you were one of those who messed with their computer in the early 2000s, you probably remember Second Life. In 2003, the Linden Lab studio launched a virtual community in which the user could create an avatar and start a second life.
During its best years, Second Life managed to create a complete parallel world. Users could attend conferences, exhibitions or even go karting. Even bands like U2 used the platform to promote their work. Companies like Coca Cola, Dell or Microsoft advertised their activities in Second Life. But things got even more serious. Some sovereign states established embassies in the metaverse created by Linden Lab. For example, Sweden opened its delegation in 2007, with the aim of promoting the culture and image of the country. Cathedrals were also built in Second Life and some churches were established.
Second Life is still active today. However, access to its parallel world is done in a traditional way, as if it were any other video game. Facebook plans seek an experience with more immersion on the part of the user. This would be achieved by applying virtual reality techniques that have already been developed and that will arrive in the future.
The shadows of the Mark Zuckerberg project
For technology lovers the proposal to create a metaverso by Facebook will be exciting. Obviously, advances in the field of science and the application of new technological developments in our day to day are really striking. But the construction of a parallel universe with aspirations to become a real world has, from the outset, some cons.
Certain well-known services such as Instagram, WhatsApp or TikTok stand out for being very addictive. And this is no accident. It is well known that companies use specific techniques in their applications to increase the time the user spends behind the screen. And it is a serious problem that can be amplified when corporations decide apply the same methods to the metaverse. As it is a complete experience, in which the user is isolated from the real world, it is possible that the addiction to this type of service will skyrocket.
On the other hand, we must not overlook the dependence we already have on some technology companies. Whether we store our files in the cloud, hold video conferences, or use social media for our business, we depend on them. The metaverse is presented as a parallel reality. Therefore, it is likely that some end up seeing it as a true alternative to real life. If the company decides to close some accounts based on its criteria, it will force those users to say goodbye to its virtual universe in a matter of seconds.
There’s still a long way to go to get to the metaverse
For now, this is just an idea in the mind of Mark Zuckerberg (and many other tech moguls). The way to go is still long until the metaverse is a reality. The Facebook CEO himself acknowledged that there are still many loose fringes. For example, in the same interview that we mentioned earlier, referring to the technologies that should be applied in the metaverse, he commented: “Going back to your point about work and how this is going to work, I don’t think it’s all in virtual reality either. I think it will also be AR. Having AR glasses is a bit more socially accepted ”. We cannot firmly say that the project of creating a metaverse is going to be a success. However, we can ask you what you think of this idea. Leave feedback now! We read you.