In my 45+ years of living on this planet, I feel as though it’s never been as divided as it is today. I’ve stressed that we are not a political site, nor do we engage in political commentary. I prefer to leave that to others with more time and higher stress capacity to debate and discuss. But over the past year and a half, I have noticed a definitive splintering in our society, and I can’t help but wonder if technology like the metaverse would only make it worse.
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Before I continue, it is important to note that this is an editorial/opinion article. I’ve found that dozens of “journalists” and media outlets forget to categorize articles like this properly, and I want to make sure you know that this is purely my editorial take on the metaverse. I don’t present this as fact, but merely as speculation based on how I see the current state of the world.
What The Heck Is A Metaverse?
So what is the metaverse? That’s an excellent question, and it’s one I think hasn’t been clearly defined yet. Some describe the metaverse as a 3D virtual reality experience. In contrast, others believe it can be a world where people share virtual space, moving between them no matter where you physically are.
But there are still others who see it as something more. Mark Zuckerberg is working on a metaverse concept in which Zuckerberg would use Facebook’s Oculus VR headset to connect to others in a virtual social media universe. But he’s also at work with other industries in which he envisions the metaverse as the successor to the mobile internet.
The metaverse is a vision that spans many companies — the whole industry. You can think about it as the successor to the mobile internet…you can think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it. And you feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage, like dancing, for example…
I think a lot of people when they think about the metaverse, they think about just virtual reality — which I think is going to be an important part of that… But the metaverse isn’t just virtual reality. It’s going to be accessible across all of our different computing platforms; VR and AR, but also PC, and also mobile devices, and game consoles…Mark Zuckerberg via The Verge
Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook aren’t the only ones looking to build this new digital world where people will interact in a 3D virtual space. Microsoft is also working on metaverse plans to see the physical and virtual melding into one thing.
How Will It Impact Us?
These grandiose plans sound intriguing, and all but current events have me wondering if a metaverse may actually do more harm than good. Social media platforms like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others were all supposed to be incredible public squares where people could gather and talk. But from my vantage point, I feel like all of that has devolved into tribalism.
It’s difficult to have a conversation on social media these days without fear of offending one side or the other. Even the platforms themselves teeter to one side or the other. On the one hand, you have Twitter and the other Parler. The tribes have moved into their own echo chambers, each choosing to discontinue civil discussion over obvious disagreements.
How would the metaverse factor into an already divided world? Would society devolve further into even more granular pockets of separation? Would the metaverse become an enabler for people to separate themselves further and create their own virtual societies? Would it eventually become where we actually live our lives, essentially disconnecting from the physical space?
I’m just thinking out loud here and raising questions I think are valid. I’m not prepared to assume that Mark Zuckerberg or any other billionaire has thought these things through and resolve myself to their conclusions. We’ve seen how social media has impacted our lives, some of it in good ways but much of it in bad ways. I find it ironic that it’s a social media billionaire conceptualizing a version of the metaverse.
Currently, the metaverse is just a concept and idea, but I believe that it is coming. In some form, it will eventually become the norm. I can only hope that we can eventually mend the divide between us; otherwise, I fear this concept might make the divide wider.
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Last Updated on December 5, 2021.