Saturday, August 13

Business and religion in the Metaverse

Are you not satisfied with your life in this universe? Well, invent yourself, design yourself or let yourself design another, part physical, part virtual, in the Metaverse, a revolutionary project, full of possibilities and dangers, which can partially replace the Internet, and even some religions that offer another life after death. This new reality will be in life -or even perhaps not-, but a very different life, through avatars. Big technology companies, and other smaller ones, are investing a lot of money, because they see it as a big business in the not too distant future.

Immersive video games, virtual or real concerts with very different perspectives, or a mixture of the physical world with the virtual world, the Metaverse project is situated in a new confluence, much more powerful than anything seen so far, of the physical world, the virtual world and the virtual world. increased, thanks to the development of artificial intelligences and new devices, again hardware. As indicated in MetaGen (an explanation of the genesis of the Metaverse), virtual reality, already today, connects our senses and our actions directly to a computer. What you see, hear, feel and what you do, say and express, everything is being digitized. In the age of big data and machine learning, the opportunity was clear to aspire to much more.

Thus a new reality, or unreality, an alternative life is going to be born. “You can think of the Metaverse,” Zuckerberg explains in a recent interview, “as an Internet incarnate, where instead of just viewing content, you are on it.” Remember the girl from the show Years & Years An implant is made to be permanently attached through your body (your hand in this case).

It is a dangerous new cave of Plato in the making, in which we live not reality, but projected shadows of that reality. If the Internet is one of those Platonic caverns, the Metaverse will be in a much higher degree, a degree that will be transmitted to the capacity for manipulation and disinformation, and its echo chambers, or bubbles in which one is enclosed with the who think alike, rejecting others.

Like everything human, it will end up with its own priests, starting with the founder and president of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, who is investing a lot in this. He has announced that only in Europe he will hire 10,000 people for this project, so that the Old Continent is at the forefront of the Metaverse. And incidentally improve its image aggravated by the latest revelations of what is happening inside that company that bases its business on addictive social networks, so much so that it is going to change its name, NOTHING LESS THAN “META”, for reputation and for expand the scope of business. It has invested $ 50 million in funding to nonprofits to help “build the Metaverse responsibly” to what Zuckerberg describes as a “Holy Grail of social interactions,” where interoperability will be essential. . This will not be for a single company. He believes that the Metaverse will be a reality by 2025, although the real one, the full one, will take another decade. A decade that is announced very disruptive. A report from consulting firm McKinsey predicts that we will experience more changes or advances or technological advances in a decade than in the last 100 years. And it does not refer explicitly to the Metaverse, but to the main technologies to come.

Zuckerberg is not alone. More and more people are getting into this new Metaverse business. Like Nvidia, which has created a project, Omniverse, to allow developers to collaborate in creating this new environment.

Incredible things can be done. At first with the current screens (mobile phones, tablets, computers, televisions) or immersive glasses, although the current virtual and augmented reality will give way to others that are lighter and more versatile, more comfortable, or with gloves and clothing that increase our physical sensitivity towards that other virtual world. It will be necessary to multiply the computing and connectivity capacity to be able to move from one part to another and that each one can create their own environment and generate their tailor-made experiences. And if the Metaverse is a business, within it there will also be trade, and the purchase and sale of digital goods – also physical – that will be paid for with official digital money and cryptocurrencies. But this is already partly the case on the Internet. There will be conflicts and even new meta-terrorism. And of course, a basic question will be who and how it will be regulated. There will be geopolitical pulses for this, not only between States but also with companies.

The Metaverse can change the way of being of the human and of humanity. It can transform, without drugs, although these will add up, our sense of perception. It will be living a second, third or fourth parallel life (in fact, since 2003 there is a program called Second life, where you play through avatars, and you can buy clothes and other things). And even aspire in him to what is one of the obsessions in Silicon Valley, immortality. We can devise avatars of ourselves that take on a life of their own in the Metaverse and last for us. New religions in sight, or transformation of the old ones, before the “digital immortality “ or virtual. The US National Science Foundation has awarded a half million dollar grant to the universities of Central Florida and Illinois to explore how researchers could use artificial intelligence, archival, and computer imaging to create compelling digital versions of real people. , a possible first step towards that virtual immortality, which will find an environment natural -it is a saying- in the Metaverse. This can be much more than just a great global video game. Of course, much more than entertainment. Will it be possible to prevent or stop? It is to be feared not.