What is the Future of Metaverse in All Sectors?
Numerous rumors point in this direction, the social media conglomerate called Facebook was renamed Meta. The idea of Zuckerberg and his company was to lead the metaverse, a new link in the telecommunications era where the physical and the digital intermingle thanks to virtual reality and augmented reality tools.
A year after that world premiere, how has the metaverse landed in our lives, and how will our future change?
Practical Application in All Economic Sectors
One of the great possibilities that the metaverse promises is excellent connectivity in every way. Work meetings by videoconference, for example, something that has already entered wholly into our lives, “soon will be done with intermingled avatars and holograms,” predicts Jose Ramon Ubieto, psychoanalyst, professor of the Studies of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the UOC and co-author, together with Liliana Arroyo, of the book Welcome Metaverse? Presence, body, and avatars in the digital age.
We will attend concerts without leaving home or in which the musicians will be replaced by holographic versions of themselves.
Online courses, talks, and conferences will be much more immersive, and we will be able to interact with elements of the space designed for such use (digital whiteboards, graphics, etc.).
Decentraland (one of the virtual platforms oriented to the metaverse) already organized the first virtual wedding last February, so it can be expected that they will be more frequent, as well as “the duels through grief bots, with chats that include the deceased,” predicts Ubieto. Thanks to virtual reality and augmented reality accessories, Telehealth will be much more effective. It will also apply to psychological therapies and, of course, to a field such as education.
Shopping seems to be one of the sectors in which the metaverse is called to integrate into our reality. According to Pierre Bourdin, professor at the UOC’s Informatics, Multimedia, and Telecommunications Studies, this will be one of the big deals for providers in the metaverse.
“Each provider is a kind of door to the metaverse. Therefore, everyone will want users, who are potential customers, to enter through their door, as happens with shopping malls: the idea is that you go to the supermarket and walk past the windows of other stores, he explains.
In other words, the supplier can sell or rent virtual spaces to other companies if their shopping center is the most attractive.
A more connected society and more devoted to play.
But apart from the most practical uses, the metaverse also revolutionizes relationships between people. It is an evolution of what is done in social networks.
Today, we already see how new forms of presence emerge every day (metaverse, artificial intelligence, robots, chips, hologram) that extend and increase the perception of our reality, that promise us comfortable, easy, safe lives without surprises, and that They allow us to safely leave our bodies and transcend the limits of space-time to immerse ourselves in our immersive 3D digital bubble”, indicates Jose Ramon Ubieto. Sex and dates in the virtual world, games, and physical training will experience a digital revolution.
Paradoxically, the arrival of this hybrid world between the physical and the digital will demonstrate the importance of the face-to-face, as Ubieto anticipates.
The digital world adds the virtual as a complement to human corporality and other new forms of presence, such as robotics or holography. However, it will not replace it because nobody wants to live in a metaverse where the taste of kisses or beer can be simulated. Still, we do not have our bodies to taste them, “explains the expert.
Our perception of reality will increase with these technologies, “which will favor socialization, a company in case of unwanted loneliness, learning, entertainment…”. However, users will also look to face-to-face to compensate for encounters in the digital world. “As this virtual reality increases, the value of presence, with the mystery that always involves meeting others, will gain in whole,” says Umberto.
“There are already studies that show that the digital favors routine and the face-to-face boosts creativity, something that should be taken into account in work meetings by videoconference, for example,” he adds.
Of course, there is a B side, and this is how Pierre Bourdin explains it: The usual thing is that we do not stop living to watch television or play video games, but some people, either because they are going through adverse situations, or because they find a favorable terrain, they can develop addictions that cut them off from their real life and in extreme cases can harm their mental and physical integrity, such as extreme fatigue or depression.
In that sense, “sometimes, posturing exacerbates narcissism, since digital reality in all its expressions is a true laboratory of the self, but a certain fake version of oneself allows us to access unthinkable possibilities,” says Umberto.
People with problems of shyness or social skills could benefit from this new way of relating, but «the problem arises when the virtual replaces (and does not complement) the presence. No one questions your mental health if you dress up at a carnival; the problem is that you do not know it is a costume.
The games, face-to-face or virtual, where children transform into other characters do not turn them into them, but rather help them deal (symbolically) with sensitive issues such as death, sexuality, loss or frustration, “adds the expert.
A Future that May Still Take
A year ago, Mark Zuckerberg introduced this new reality to the world. However, there is still a long way to go until it is integrated into everyone’s lives. The digital gaps (geographical, gender, and socioeconomic) or the still unaffordable price of virtual reality headsets or glasses seem to keep the arrival of this hybrid world away.