Metaverse: Utopia or distopia? | Daily sabah

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke about what the Metaverse will bring to our lives during a video conference that lasted an hour. With the metaverse, we no longer need to be in one place to play games, attend a business meeting, or socialize with our friends. With Web 2.0, our understanding of space has already started to change. Zuckerberg also hints that the Metaverse will change our entire perception of space and time, arguing that screens cannot convey the full spectrum of human expression and connection. In fact, Facebook started working on this project a long time ago. Facebook bought Oculus, a company that makes virtual reality glasses, for $ 2 million in 2014, and has since developed Horizon. In a statement he made in July, he said he predicted that over the next five years, Facebook will primarily shift from a social media company to some kind of fictional universe company. Zuckerberg describes the next step in virtual communication as the virtual universe. Using a virtual headset, we will move on to this step, where the distinction between virtual and reality will gradually disappear.

From sci-fi to real-world novels, the metaverse has been a buzzword lately. In fact, it is not a new concept. We first read it in 1992 in the novel “Snow Crush” by Neal Stephenson. This concept, which appeared in the book almost 30 years ago, consists of the combination of “universe” with “meta”, meaning beyond. In other words, virtual worlds with augmented physical reality. A new collection of virtual universes beyond our real world. So how did this concept reappear 30 years later? In fact, science fiction movies, TV series, and books have been preparing us for these virtual worlds for years. At the same time, at certain times, developments linked to this virtual reality were on the agenda, but were quickly forgotten. However, tech companies have taken this issue very seriously for years. They rushed to start studies in this field in order to be a pioneer in this field in the future. Facebook continues to work to maintain its lead in an area that almost feels like a corner game. It has devoted a significant portion of its budget to this area.

The world is going digital fast

If you like games, you know that talking about virtual universes is nothing new. One of these universes is the Internet-based virtual world Second Life, which went live in 2003, and this game was inspired by the science fiction novel “Snow Crash”. In this virtual world that promises users a second life, users can create their own avatar and meet new people, go shopping and participate in social activities at the same time. This three-dimensional virtual world has its own social system, its own cultural structure and its own economy. When Second Life emerged, researchers said it reflected the future of communication. In fact, he created a virtual world in Fortnite, which is a shooting game. However, the game ceased to be a game a long time ago. Last year, around 12 million people watched a rap gig online on its website. Not only the gaming world, but also the art world has started to digitize following these developments. On March 11, 2021, a very important step for digital art was taken. “Everdays-The First 500 Days”, a fully digital work by artist Mike Winkelmann, known as “Beeple,” has been auctioned for $ 69.3 million at Christie’s, the auction house world famous. It was sold through NFT (non-fungible token), which allows the exchange of unique digital assets and the provision of proof of ownership using the blockchain. Digitization, which started in many areas of life, has already started to change the art world. In fact, virtual worlds have already started to take place in our lives, but the Metaverse promises much more than that.

Where will the virtual world be in our future?

With each technological development experienced, there are significant changes in our daily life. Web 2.0 was seen as a major revolution. With the introduction of social media into our lives, users are now actively involved in the Internet. As we adapt these developments to our lives, technology has continued to introduce new products into our lives. We are now talking about a great revolution, the metaverse. In 2018 the movie “Ready Player One”, directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the novel of the same name by Ernes Cline, was released. In fact, the film tells about a virtual universe that has long been depicted in science fiction films, series and books. In the film, the world is faced with many problems, such as climate change, poverty, scarcity and nuclear wars for limited resources, but a virtual universe called “OASIS” is created where people can avoid these problems. , be who they want, live where they want. And the vast majority of people spend their time in this world.

In the virtual world introduced by Zuckerberg, it is exactly like that. We’re presented with a world where we can socialize, travel, and do a lot of things we can’t even imagine right now, as well as our business meetings. A virtual world that we can connect to with VR glasses. Some think this will be our future. It is considered the future of social media. So, will it have as much impact on society as it will on social media?

The real problems of the digital world

Since users are not charged any fees in social media apps, their use quickly spread. These have become applications which can affect many events in the world today. Social networks have taken up a large part of our daily life. The next step is to participate in the world we have created there. However, to enter this universe, we will have to purchase the necessary equipment. It will be very difficult to spread as quickly as social media applications to all segments of society. This is a situation that can lead to inequalities in society. It’s exciting in theory, but the answer to whether it will make us live in Heaven as promised, in practice, is quite dubious.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Georgetown University October 17, 2019 in Washington, United States (AP Photo)

Security of our data

While there have been discussions about Facebook’s security in recent years, we all know our data is used by social media apps. It is also evident that trust in Facebook has waned in recent years. With the avatars we’re creating for the Metaverse universe, we’ll be providing more data to the tech giants. Our entry into each metaverse universe will be monitored and analyzed. It will come back to us as an advertisement later. But the most worrying issue here will be that the data is in the hands of one company.

Digital inequality

The metaverse will also create a new economic sector. We’ll have to use our money to dress up our avatars, add more features, and buy better innovations to come. The quality of the material you have can determine your place in the virtual world. And all of this will bring inequality from the real world to the virtual world. It will also create social inequalities in the metaverse universe. If action is not taken quickly, we will face many problems such as global warming, hunger and famine in the future. And those most affected will be in the technologically lagging developing countries. While the metaverse will create an escape utopia for some segments of society, the rest will face a dystopia.

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