Some may think that the Metaverse is just another gimmick of the tech giants, while others see it as a promising new feature of the digital future. In this article we will take you on a journey of discovery of the Metaverse, through its origins, its potential, and its impact on the world of work.
From the novel “Snow Crash” to Matthew Ball’s vision
It all began in 1992 with the publication of the novel “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson. In this book, set in an America dominated by large corporations, the concept of the Metaverse was first introduced: a virtual world in which people can escape from reality and have experiences outside the confines of everyday life.
Matthew Ball, an international expert on emerging technologies, tried to define the Metaverse according to current parameters. According to him, the Metaverse is a network of real-time 3D virtual worlds that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an unlimited number of users. However, some of the features described by Ball are not yet present in virtual social worlds, such as the ability to connect an unlimited number of users simultaneously and interoperability between worlds.
The Metaverse as experience: between video games and social networks
Although Ball’s vision is not yet fully realized, we can say that the Metaverse already exists at the level of experience, and has for several years. Millions of users around the world socialize in real time on multiplayer online gaming platforms, such as Second Life, Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite. These virtual worlds represent real meeting points for the younger generation, who spend much of their time online.
The growing popularity of these virtual worlds is confirmed by data: 50 percent of Generation Z uses these platforms to socialize, 75 percent of young Americans have an account on Roblox, and during the pandemic the number of active Second Life users reached 900,000.
Technologies for accessing the Metaverse: the importance of virtual and augmented reality
Technologies to access the Metaverse, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), are evolving rapidly. VR allows us to fully immerse ourselves in these worlds, while AR allows us to superimpose virtual elements on the physical environment around us. Both technologies are critical to the massive spread of the Metaverse and are often referred to as “eXtended Realities” (XR) or “immersive technologies.”
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, emphasized the importance of XR technologies in 2015 when he acquired Oculus VR, saying that VR/AR will be the next big technology platform after mobile devices. VR, inparticular, offers incredible user engagement opportunities, turning people into storytelling protagonists and making entertainment more immersive.
The world of work: changing professions and new opportunities
The evolution of technologies and the emergence of the Metaverse will undoubtedly lead to interesting changes in the world of work. Every new technology has always had an impact on professions, and in the case of artificial intelligence, blockchain and extended realities, new challenges and opportunities will arise.
At a time when artificial intelligence threatens to replace some professions, the Metaverse offers the possibility of creating new professions, such as the Crypto Artist, Blockchain Developer, Unity Developer, and 3D Content Creator. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, 51 percent of Generation Z and 48 percent of Millennials imagine doing a job within the Metaverse in the next two years.
The Metaverse, then, is not just a technological vision or experience, but represents a new industry in which new and old professionals merge under one label. In this context, the Metaverse becomes an opportunity to reinvent the world of work, offering new perspectives and challenges for future generations.
The Metaverse is more than just a passing fad or a Big Tech marketing operation. It is a new digital frontier that is opening up new avenues and generating new opportunities in user experience, technologies, and the world of work. Although we have not yet reached the full potential of the Metaverse envisioned by visionaries like Neal Stephenson and Matthew Ball, we are already seeing an evolution of digital experiences and professions related to this new virtual reality.
So, it’s time to step forward and embrace the Metaverse, exploring its potential and challenges. Whether you are skeptical or enthusiastic about this new digital age, one thing is certain: the Metaverse is here to stay and transform the way we interact with the digital world and with each other. Get ready to experience exciting adventures in these virtual worlds and discover new professional opportunities in the amazing universe of the Metaverse.