Departure in a virtual 3D world

In his 1992 novel “Snow Crash”, Noel Stephenson describes a futuristic society that reminds us of today in certain details: headphones with noise reduction, pizza delivery in 30 minutes maximum and hyperinflation. In order to escape from the real world, the protagonists dive into the Metaverse – a virtual parallel cosmos that exists alongside the physical. What looks like abstract dreams of the future should soon become reality.

Learn more after the announcement

Learn more after the announcement

Last October, the Facebook group, which also owns Instagram and Whatsapp, renamed itself Meta. The new name of the Californian technology giant aims to draw attention to the future digital world “Metaverse”. “From our point of view, the Metaverse is nothing less than the next stage in the evolution of the Internet”, explains Constanze Osei, Head of Company and Innovation Policy at Meta for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

A fusion of the digital and physical world

The Internet is currently still designed in 2D – that is, people read texts and watch videos on a flat screen. With the metaverse, the Internet will soon become three-dimensional. Users can then move around in a virtual world and experience things interactively with others. “In the process, the virtual world will merge more and more with the physical world,” says Osei. This means that in the future, we can browse our Facebook feed, try on clothes, attend events, attend meetings or even own that long-awaited vacation home – all virtually, of course.

Learn more after the announcement

Learn more after the announcement

Thus, the Metaverse is not entirely new, but rather an extension of modern technological innovations. The main technology of the metaverse is called Extended Reality (XR). It consists of virtual reality and augmented reality (AR). The Metaverse is essentially a product of current technologies.

With virtual reality, you are isolated from the environment, usually by glasses. We only see an artificial world. With AR glasses, digital objects are displayed directly in the field of vision via a transparent screen. If you want to enter the Metaverse, you need the necessary technological gadgets, i.e. VR or AR glasses. The Facebook group had already bought in 2014 the company Oculus, a pioneer of glasses to display virtual reality. The brand name on the glasses will now be removed and replaced with Meta.

Plans for a metaverse are still in their infancy

But this is not the only investment that users face. The virtual world should operate according to the principles of the free market economy. In mid-April, the tech giant announced that it would soon begin testing tools for selling digital assets and experiences within its Horizon Worlds virtual reality platform. This decision is an important part of the company’s plan to create a metaverse.

Virtual assets refer, for example, to NFTs, i.e. non-fungible tokens. It is a certificate of authenticity based on blockchain architecture. As “Business Insider” recently discovered, Meta probably wants to receive a total of 47.5% commission from creatives on NFT sales. According to estimates by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the total Metaverse market could reach around 250%. by 2025 Reach $400 billion, the majority of which ($150-300 billion) is expected to come from the virtual asset industry.

Learn more after the announcement

Learn more after the announcement

Compared to traditional meta services, the metaverse today represents only a fraction of the group’s revenue. The app family, made up of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, accounts for around 97.5% of sales, as shown by the group’s current quarterly results. Reality Labs, creators of the Metaverse, generated revenue of just $695 million, compared to a loss of $3 billion.

The development of the three-dimensional digital world is still in its infancy, Meta Manager Osei points out. “It will take at least another 10 to 15 years before the technical requirements are so advanced that the vision we have of the metaverse can become a reality.” Moreover, the group does not manage the project alone, but in cooperation with many companies, developers and organizations.

Metaverse provides opportunities for many industries

The goal of Project Giga is to create “virtual accessibility and allow people to go where they might not be able to go in real life,” says the tech giant’s spokesperson. “People can meet friends, work, play, learn, shop.” , be creative and much more.” Application scenarios could look like this: instead of just watching a team on a screen, users can virtually watch the game. At the same time, you can play sports. For example , humans can stand in a boxing ring to take on a generated opponent.

Not only the entertainment industry could benefit from the Metaverse. There are also great options for other sectors such as healthcare, says Petra Dahm, board member of XR Bavaria, a trade association for virtual reality and augmented reality. For everyday clinical or outpatient work, for example, there could be relief with the digital assistance on the tablet or the assistive glasses.

Learn more after the announcement

Learn more after the announcement

At the same time, the online virtual world offers great opportunities for VR-supported e-learning, for example for nursing staff training, standards training or interdisciplinary team cooperation. “International studies prove the positive effect of learning by doing in virtual reality and the first use of virtual reality training shows that there is great potential here,” says Dahm.

The issue of privacy and data protection is not yet resolved

According to Philipp Rauschnabel, professor of digital marketing and media innovation at the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich, the new dimension offers “a lot of new jobs and new jobs – most of which we don’t even know about today”. . He also sees the Metaverse above all as an innovation accelerator. In addition to the emergence of new economic models, technologies would be improved.

“The vision is a 3D Internet without monitors, which has a lot in common with a society”, explains the meta-researcher. As a result, people can interact with digital content through glasses or contact lenses as well as with products. window next to the stove.

But this kind of augmented reality also comes with major risks in terms of privacy and data protection. “With augmented reality, we use scanners that create a 3D model of the environment in real time and, thanks to artificial intelligence, can also interpret it,” explains the meta-expert. Data is often sent to a cloud for processing. This allows completely new Forms of spying After all, there are 3D data of a number of apartments, for example.

Learn more after the announcement

Learn more after the announcement

Can the vision of a peaceful technological society coexist with the real world? A look into the past is enough to see that criminal publics might be attracted. The idea of ​​an online world is not new, it already exists – at least in 2D. In the early 2000s, “Second Life” launched a virtual universe in which users could participate via avatars. With success came problems. Pornographic content and casinos have spread in the online world. Eventually, even the FBI took a look at virtual casinos around.

What if Facebook closed its services in Europe?

The Facebook group Meta is threatening to withdraw from the EU. What if society had actually made this possible?

Psychological aspects of a metaverse

Moreover, the psychological component should not be underestimated. So you don’t know how it affects society, “if you constantly see things that aren’t there, that is, intentional hallucinations,” says innovation expert Rauschnabel.

Olga Geisel, head of the addictions research section at the Charité Berlin psychiatric clinic, warns against addictions. “In the early stages of Metaverse, it’s arguable that reality extensions can lead to even greater potential for addiction or escapism in real life,” she says. Nevertheless, she also sees the opportunities of the platform, especially in education.

Psychologist Armin Kaser is still rather calm on the issue of the addiction factor among young people: “It would have to be even more exciting than TikTok, YouTube and Fortnite.” This is currently not conceivable.

Learn more after the announcement

Learn more after the announcement


Leave a Comment