• Michael Shmilov

Thoughts on Metaverse

In the past months, the world has been talking about the Metaverse - below are my thoughts on the Metaverse and what it means for us in the near future!ֿ

Why is Metaverse trending?

The first catalyst is Mark Zuckerberg introducing Meta, bringing together the Facebook apps and technologies under the new Meta brand. If a company like Facebook bets on the Metaverse, it means this is an important topic - not a new one, but an important one.

To remind us, in 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus, the leader in immersive virtual reality technology.

Facebook then shared its plans to extend Oculus's existing advantage in gaming to new verticals, including communications, media and entertainment, education, and other areas. Mark Zuckerberg then told the world that "Mobile is the platform of today, and now we're also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow". Platforms that become the most social ever change the way we work, play, and communicate.

The second catalyst is Covid. I have been trying to work from home for a few years now. When I first started, it was a complete disaster. I couldn't figure out how to make myself productive without being in an office with other people around me.

Today it has become more apparent. The issue wasn't the home or the office; the kids were at home with us, which made working impossible. Returning to some normality made me realize that there is no reason for people in my line of work to spend over 45 hours a week in the office. Which also means spending 5-10 hours a week on the way to the office and back.

This new reality and normality is a Hybrid reality - moving between remote and onsite, moving between periods with near lockdown restrictions to almost no restrictions. I hope that we will soon be able to get done with Covid, but at the same time, I believe the Hybrid approach will remain in our life for good.

How is Hybrid reality related to Metaverse? Facebook said that the Metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today's online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world.

What does it mean for us in the near future?

In today's reality, we are already experiencing some level of Metaverse. Between instant messaging, conference calls, and twitter's spaces (similarly clubhouse), we connect with people from different locations, even without seeing each other.

Zoom allows us to change backgrounds, which started as a gimmick but turned into a valuable feature - you can take a call from a car, beach, a messy bedroom, or a playground without making it look & feel less professional or causing unnecessary distraction.

I am sure that we will soon be able to replace ourselves on the call with avatars and later combine this with a complete VR experience where your colleagues' avatars will join you at a virtual location. Combined with all kinds of recording and transcription capabilities, it will change how we experience meetings today. For example, a live conference call can be experienced as a group chat and vice versa.

The ability to share immersive experiences with other people even when you can't be together and do things together you couldn't do in the physical world. It's going to change how we spend our time in the future.

Visiting the doctor will become a rare event. Even when sick, you will be able to virtually attend a birthday party or switch your "in-person" concert ticket to a virtual one. Working, studying, dating, and playing games will have new options and ways - different from ever.

Fashion in the Metaverse

The Metaverse will make it easier for people to work and experience life from home. In the metaverse world of tomorrow, everyone can move between locations in a blink - changing virtual clothes or avatars as they go.

This path made people go crazy over NTFs. The idea of owning digital fashion and remaining original and creative in the Virtual world will be challenging. Will it mean that we will buy fewer clothes? Shoes? Makeup? Maybe. I believe so.

Health in the Metaverse

On the one hand, you can get medical advice without getting up from your chair. On the other hand, you are going to spend too much time sitting. Even jogging, you will be able to do it on your treadmill while watching your friend's avatar jogging nearby you.

We can even imagine how this will allow keeping some people alive virtually far after they pass away. Right now, it sounds crazy, maybe even scary - but we teach technology to think like humans and predict similarly to how our brains do. Our thoughts and opinions can be predicted and then brought and used in conversations we are not part of.

Some last thoughts on the Metaverse

While some of these ideas might sound exaggerated, the Metaverse will affect how we see and value social contacts, friends, and ourselves.

The Metaverse, like any new technology paradigm, will bring progress but also bring many new issues to our lives. While it can make people be treated more equally regardless of their background, look, financial status, or origin, it can also make us much more distant, even from those closest to us.

I choose to be hopeful and focus on the advantages of what the Metaverse will bring. Humankind will find a balance between the real and the virtual.