The Metaverse is coming. But what can we actually expect there? and how-Metaverse will change our everyday life? Companies and experts explain how they imagine the fusion of the digital and real world.
Mark Zuckerberg revealed his vision of the Metaverse on Facebook and then later on Meta’s XR conference Connect 2021. It is the next evolution of social connection. His company wants to bring the metaverse to life and goes all-in – including a name change: Facebook is now called Meta and is supposed to transform itself into a “social technology” company.
Immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will play a major role in this. But what is the metaverse actually? We have put together some definitions and points of view for you.
The “Xverse” will be an amazing outgrowth of the Internet
Rony Abovitz is the founder and CEO of one of the once most hyped XR companies in Silicon Valley: Magic Leap. He imagines the Metaverse, or as he calls it, “Xverse”, as a “wild, organic and amazing outgrowth of the Internet”.
Abovitz believes that no company will or should control the metaverse, but many will try. According to him, there will be old parts that would resemble today’s web. At the same time, the Metaverse will have new nodes and capabilities that come very close to the Oasis from Ready Player One.
In the Xverse there will also be gradations of sentience and autonomy: “We will have to explore the emergence of synthetic life and a multitude of amazing worlds. Building a world will become something anyone can do, and people will be able to share parts of their outer and inner life all over the planet at an incredible rate. “
Augmented Reality is becoming a normal part of everyday life
Yat Siu is co-founder and executive chairman of the gaming and blockchain company Animoca Brands. In the future, he sees augmented reality as a kind of gateway between the virtual and the real world. Reality will move on a spectrum that extends from physical to virtual reality.
“A significant amount of our time is spent between these two extremes in some form of augmented reality. Augmented Reality will be a normal part of everyday life, ”Siu believes. According to him, however, these facets of reality will not compete with one another, but rather reinforce one another.
“These new technologies will require a fundamental rethink. For example, today we see AR as a connection to a virtual world, perhaps as a way to escape or improve on the physical world. In the future, however, AR will serve as a way back into the real world and enable users to take breaks in the virtual world – perhaps to eat something or do sports – without completely losing the connection, ”says Yat Siu.
Niantic boss John Hanke and product marketing manager Carolina Argguelles Navas from Snap also see augmented reality as a crucial metaverse technology: For them, the metaverse is the real world with digital elements instead of full virtual reality.
“We believe that AR – or computers overlaying the world around us – has an easier way to mass-use, but it will also be better for the world than a fully virtual world,” says Navas.
The Pokémon Go millionaire Hanke describes his metaverse as an “improved reality”, as a “world full of magic, stories and functionality at the interface between the digital and the physical world”. It can stimulate people to interact more with the physical world and to do sports, for example.
The Metaverse is a new era of data processing for ambient computing
Tyler Ishida of Sony Electronics believes in a merging of realities: “Thanks to the resolution and quality of today’s technology, the metaverse can appear as real to participants as real life.” According to him, everything points to a more intense entertainment experience that appeals to all the senses .
He could imagine that the entertainment aspects of the metaverse would be the main driving force. But there are also many other possible applications such as education, research, industry, IT and security.
Timoni West, Head of VR and AR at Unity, sees the Metaverse as more than a new era in data processing. Computers are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
“They can recognize faces, voices, hands, relative and absolute positions and speeds and react to this data in a meaningful way,” explains West. These context-aware computers are the way to ambient computing, in which the computer moves from the foreground to the background. Google also speaks of ambient computing in the context of the metaverse.
The Metaverse: A feast for all the senses?
For the XR researcher Dr. For Helen Papagiannis, it is primarily important to adapt our way of thinking. For her, the visual 3D element is only one aspect: “It is important that we not only think about what it looks like, but also how it feels, how it sounds, how it smells and even how it tastes.”
It will be possible to experience the metaverse with all of our senses and our whole being. Our senses could be used in alternative ways that would be contrary to what we experience in physical reality. This opens a new door of possibility, even the creation of new senses for sensations that are not possible in the real world.
No metaverse without artificial intelligence
For eBay’s AI boss Nitzan Mekel-Bobrov, it is clear that there will be no metaverse without artificial intelligence: “Like carbon for the organic world, AI will be both the matrix that provides the necessary structural support and the material from which the digital representation is established, ”said Mekel-Bobrov.
AI will shape the shape of the metaverse, primarily at the physical-digital interface. This applies, for example, to the translation of human actions into digital inputs such as language, eye movements, hand gestures, locomotion. AI companies and researchers have already made enormous progress here.
The Metaverse as a new Internet
Microsoft’s metaverse definition (still) focuses on the business world: Microsoft boss Satya Nadella describes the metaverse as a new platform for a time when the digital and real world are moving ever closer together.
This platform makes it possible to embed the real world in the virtual environment or vice versa, to integrate digital elements into the real world. The most important thing is that you bring your “humanity” with you and that you can choose how you want to experience the Metaverse and with whom, says Nadella.
Similar to Meta, Microsoft sees the Metaverse as a new vision of the Internet, which is turned into a physically tangible digital place through avatars, with which one can interact in a similar way to the real world. “This is no longer a vision. You can meet other people in a video game and experience a concert, ”explains Microsoft.
A digital twin of the world with “gigantic economic potential”
Nvidia boss Jensen Huang sees the Metaverse – his company calls it “Omniverse” – as “an overlay of the physical world” that will merge many different areas such as social, gaming and industry.
It is the connecting element between many tools and devices with a focus on digital goods and projects. VR, AR and AI should play an essential role in accessing, constructing and managing the digital world.
“I’m pretty sure the Omniverse and Metaverse will form a new economy that is bigger than our economy today,” says Huang.
In the future, people would spend a large part of their time in this virtual working and living environment. “We’re going to do a lot of work there and have a lot of robots doing the work for us there as well. And we share the results with one another, ”predicts Huang.
The metaverse as a spatial, omnipresent Internet
The chip manufacturer Qualcomm equips the Metaverse access devices with its processors – smartphones, tech glasses and more. Hugo Swart is the XR department head at Qualcomm. He sees the metaverse as an “omnipresent spatial Internet with personalized digital experiences that spans the physical and virtual world and in which everything and everyone can communicate and interact seamlessly.”
Access to the Metaverse is possible with any kind of computer: “In the Metaverse, an unlimited number of users and companies can explore, create, make contacts and participate in a multitude of communities, everyday experiences and economic activities in 2D and 3D.”
The metaverse is not a place – it is a point in time
Tech founder and former Twitch manager Shaan Puri offers an interesting definition out of the series: He does not see the Metaverse as a virtual place. Instead, the term describes a certain point in time, similar to how the singularity stands for the moment from which artificial intelligence leaves human intelligence unattainable.
“The metaverse is the moment when our digital life is worth more than our physical life,” writes Puri.
This gradual development will take place over the next ten to 20 years. Attention is increasingly focused on the digital instead of the real world: “We will move from 50 percent attention to screens to more than 90 percent. That is when the metaverse begins. Because at this moment our virtual life will become more important than our real life. “
“Everything is going digital. Your friends, your job, your identity, ”writes Puri.