Have you been hearing about the metaverse? What is the metaverse? It’s “virtual reality” taken to another level. Like experiencing the internet as though it’s the world you live in — to see and hear it all around you as if it’s physically real.
Imagine the best video game you’ve ever seen, but so much better you have a hard time believing your character isn’t actually you, doing all the things your character is doing, surrounded by other people’s characters experiencing the same.
It’s not just about playing games, though. Business, social groups, education, and other features of the real world would be there, too. Anything from the real world, or anything someone can imagine, could be present in the metaverse.
I can see limitless benefits … and limitless downsides.
Some think it may replace reality for most people when the technology gets good enough. People might choose to spend all their time in the metaverse instead of the real world. When I see those obsessed with online gaming or other escapism, I think it’s possible.
I see the attraction. You could avoid your boring, unpleasant reality. You could be the superhero. You could experience things and places you could never experience in real life. You could form relationships and even make money. Yes, you’ll still need money to keep your meatbody alive and your internet bill paid or you’ll lose your connection to the metaverse, which would probably feel like death.
Will this just be another thing people become addicted to? Yes.
Anything enjoyable is addictive, and things that can be specifically tailored to be addictive, such as the metaverse, will be especially addictive to those who are vulnerable to addiction. I’m guessing that’s somewhere between 10% and 40% of people when you include everything people already get addicted to. For something like the metaverse, the percentage might be higher.
I prefer the real world — with all its warts and scars — because it is real. Unless we already exist in a simulated reality, which doesn’t really change anything important to this discussion. I can imagine how age or disability might make me reconsider, though.
If you don’t get pulled in, will the metaverse remove a lot of excess people from your daily life? It might feel like the population of the world has plummeted when so many people are staying plugged in all day. Maybe the person who avoids the metaverse will end up king of the (real) world.